For me, raspberry Linzer cookies will always mean Christmas. The first time I had one, several years ago, was on Christmas day. That year I stayed in New York for the holiday, instead of going down south to visit family. My cousin was living with me and since we both remained in the city, we made some quintessentially Christmas plans.
We woke up at the crack of dawn to make the first skate at The Rockefeller Center ice skating rink. I prefer sleep deprivation to waiting in impossibly long lines. So it was worth the hassle of leaving the house around 5am. After our triumphant skate, we went to a nearby Dean & Deluca. It was Christmas day and I wanted to indulge in something special. The raspberry Linzer cookie fit the bill, with its glistening jam, shining like a stained glass window and that perfect dusting of powdered sugar, undisturbed like a new snow. It was legitimately cold, as Christmas should be, and with my raspberry Linzer cookie and a hot chocolate, I relished sitting on a very high, bentwood stool in the window of that Dean & Deluca. The scene before us, looking out onto Rockefeller Center was appropriately Christmas-y. Then, we walked to Times Square and “saw” a movie. Quotes are needed around “saw” because after our busy morning, we both fell asleep during the opening credits and slept through the whole movie.
This Christmas was the first time I made Linzer cookies, using this recipe from Epicurious, and I had a blast. It isn’t an easy cookie to make, I’d say. Though none of the steps are terribly difficult, there are many steps. Hazelnuts are toasted, finely ground and mixed in the cookie dough. There’s the cookie cutting and the window cutting, sugar dusting, jam spreading and assemblage. And each step greatly impacts the look of your finished cookie.
I made these for our Christmas potluck. As an expat not living in a country where Christmas is celebrated, it’s a challenging holiday to reproduce. Thanksgiving is much easier. All you need it a group of people and a big dinner, preferably a turkey and a few other Thanksgiving staples. Christmas is about the season, walking around looking at decorations, perusing holiday bazaars. I just can’t recreate it and I’m okay with that.
I’m still having a drought of low-gluten or gluten-free flours in Riyadh. So I made my raspberry Linzer cookies with all-purpose flour, anticipating that our guests would primarily eat them. To my surprise, no one ate these beautiful Linzer cookies! Not one! I think it was just a matter of too many dessert choices. Or maybe this cookie was intimidating? The powdered sugar? Maybe people are afraid to make a mess with the powdered sugar. Who knows, but this recipe definitely makes a delicious, classic Linzer cookie. My husband laughed at me when I screamed from the kitchen, “Ooooh, It tastes like a Linzer cookie!!”