Almond linzer cookies with cherry preserves
Thom and I don't get into the whole Valentine's Day thing. Not by my choosing, but because he thinks it's silly to have a holiday where you're expected to do something nice for your significant other. Shouldn't that be every day? Why can't I bring home flowers or chocolates, just because? he'll argue. And so I support him because Yeah, ok, Valentine's Day is straight up superficial and I don't like roses anyway. But that's not going to stop me from squeezing (literally) into a sexy black dress, putting on red lipstick, and taking my handsome man out on the town. Because that aspect of Valentine's Day I can totally get behind. An extra day to channel my inner Beyoncé? Count me in.
Sexy black dress aside, the real reason I don't fight him on Valentine's Day is because he's the guy who planned a faux vacation to Canada, just so that I'd have a reason to finally get my passport. And then, as we were coming up on customs at the Montreal airport - as I'm jogging twenty paces ahead of him and shouting Seriously dude! Hurry up before the line gets outta control! - he stops and starts rooting through his bag. I give him my best ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? face and he yells Stop! We've got to go the other way. To which I call him a moron and ask if he can read BECAUSE IT SAYS VISITORS TO CANADA THIS WAY. The way I'm going. And then he pulls out his phone and says We're not actually staying in Montreal; we've got a connecting flight. We're going to Paris for two weeks. And then I gasp and start bawling my eyes out, while he captures my reaction on camera.
But that's not all. He's the man who waits for me at the bus stop with an umbrella, because it's pouring rain and he doesn't want me to get wet during the ten second walk to our building's entrance. The man who hides my favorite candies in the pockets of my pants and cardigans, just so that one day I’ll find them and be reminded of how much he loves me. He's the man who tolerates our perpetually messy kitchen because I'm a complete slob (for real) (Slobby McSlobberson) who can't be bothered to clean it when I know it's just going to get messy in the morning.
And so he's the man who washes the dishes and cleans the countertops every night before he goes to bed, just so that I can wake up to an immaculate kitchen. The man who refuses to let me carry the groceries, and holds the door even when his arms are full. In fact, I can probably count on one hand (ok, two) the number of times I've had to open a door while in his presence. He's the man who offers to go get me fries at midnight because I can't sleep and Goddamn it, I'm craving something greasy. And salty. Always something salty. The man who would literally give his life - his place on Earth - if it meant I'd never feel another ounce of pain as long as I live. He's the man who chose to share his life with me and, despite his blatant refusal to celebrate Valentine's Day, sometimes I can't help but feel like the luckiest lady on the planet.
Maybe I am. And maybe you are, too.
Notes: I use mostly powdered sugar in this recipe because it helps to keep the cookies softer than they would be if made with granulated sugar. Feel free to use your favorite nut meal and/or jam - I chose almond and cherry because the two together are pretty delicious. But I've got pecan meal and apricot preserves on the mind for the summer. If you don't have almond extract, substitute additional vanilla extract. And for the love of Buddha, make sure you freeze the dough before you put it in the oven - this ensures the cookies keep their shape. If you don't do it they'll be puffy and mishapen. And you don't want that.
ALMOND LINZER COOKIES WITH CHERRY PRESERVES
1/2 cup vegan butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons cane sugar
1/4 cup powdered cane sugar, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup almond meal
1 1/4 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup morello cherry preserves
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the butter, sugars, and extracts. Whip on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed, until light and fluffy. Add the salt, baking soda, and almond meal; mix just until combined. Add the flour and mix until incorporated. Divide the dough in two and pat into discs. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to two days.
Line two large baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper; set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Remove one ball of dough from the fridge and roll it out until it’s about 1/4-1/8″ thick. Slide the dough, on the parchment paper, onto a cutting board or other flat surface that will fit in your freezer. Cut dough with a round 2″ cutter, then use a 1.5″ heart cookie cutter to cut the centers of half of the cookies (you will need a total of 12 cookies with centers removed), but don’t remove the center pieces just yet. Remove dough scraps from around the cookies and place tray in the freezer for 10 minutes. Transfer the frozen cookies to one of the prepared baking sheets, removing the center pieces from the cut cookies (you can bake those too, if you want). Repeat process with scraps and remaining disc of dough. Freeze cookies for another 10 minutes prior to baking. Bake at 350˚F for 7-8 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an air tighter container until ready to spread with jam; will keep for up to five days.
When you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches, use a fine mesh sieve to sprinkle the cookies with the cutout centers with powdered sugar. Spread the uncut cookies with about 1 teaspoon of cherry preserves and sandwich with powdered cutouts. Serve immideately.
Yield: 1 dozen 2″ linzer cookies