Linzer Heart Variations and a Spelling Bee

Lindser Heart variations: From left, Fig and Nutmeg Goat Cheese, Raspberry Lemon Rosemary, Original Raspberry, Peppermint Cream Cheese with Chocolate Glaze

Lindser Heart variations: From left, Fig and Nutmeg Goat Cheese, Raspberry Lemon Rosemary, Original Raspberry, Peppermint Cream Cheese with Chocolate Glaze

Linzer Heart Variations and a Spelling Bee

This post starts with a spelling lesson on how to spell Linzer Hearts. It’s “Linzer Hearts”. With a z. No d, no s in Linzer. But you’ll find in my postings and recipes, I’ve used all sorts of spellings. Because I failed the Spelling Bee in the 4th grade on the word “sack.” I want to blame my 4th grade teacher (names have been omitted to protect the innocent) for not providing clear instructions. It’s not that I didn’t know how to spell “sack”, it’s that I didn’t say the word, spell the word, then say the word again. If the 4th grade teacher would have just stated “say then spell then say the word,” I’m sure I could have been the SB Champion of the USofA. As long as Linzer wasn’t one of the challenge words. And just out of spite for that teacher, I will continue to spell Lindser willy-nilly depending on my mood and/or how much wine I’ve had (Lindzzzzerrrrr, L-I-N-D-Z-S-E-R, Lindzzzzerrrrrr).

Linzer Hearts are cookies inspired by LinserTorte, an Austrian delight that someone was smart enough to turn into cookies. They involve a shortbread cookie, jam in the middle, and powdered sugar on top. Some variations include vanilla, nuts, different fillings, or a more cookie-like base. They’re an incredibly melt-in-your-mouth cookie. I have friends who request them for birthdays and they’ve won me three “Cookie Smackdown” awards at work. 

The past weekend, I got inspired to branch out and try out several versions of the cookies, varying the type of flour, filling, and topping. Below are links to the successful versions (yes, there was one unsuccessful version involving cherries and whiskey that I’m still trying to work out). Here is the recipe for the original version, some more spelling mistakes, and photos of the two-day project.

The many, many, many ingredients in my Linser Heart experiment

The many, many, many ingredients in my Linser Heart experiment

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Linzer Hearts: The Original Gangsters 

These Linser Hearts are the traditional version with raspberry filling and a powdered sugar top. They are the originals of the versions I made (links below) and have the original flower mix (see  Baking Flours 411 for substitution possibilities). 

Ingredients:

1c         butter
3/4c     sugar
1/2tsp  vanilla
2c         All-Purpose flour
1tsp      salt
1c          chopped pecans or walnuts (optional, but deeeeelicious)
Powdered Sugar
Raspberry Preserves
(I like to use Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserveswhich can easily be found at Safeway)

Make the Cookies

Cream butter and sugar in mixer on high. Add in vanilla and mix until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together flour and salt. Slowly add flour to butter mixer 1/2 cup at a time until incorporated. Then mix in your nuts until blended. Chill for 1 hour.

Roll out chilled cookie dough on floured surface to 1/8 – 1/4 inch thickness. To make layered cookies, use one large and one small heart-shaped cookie cutter (I like Williams Sonoma’s De Buyer Cookie Cutter sets). Cut one heart with a hole, one without. 

Cookie cutter shapes for Lindzer Hearts

Cookie cutter shapes for Linzer Hearts

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until edges turn a tiny bit golden brown on a silicon baking mat. Let cookies cool while you drink wine and, if you’re anal retentive, go find all my Linszer spelling mistakes. 

Baking is most consistent on a silicon baking mat

Baking is most consistent on a silicon baking mat

Assembly

To assemble, cover the solid heart with the raspberry preserves. Dust the cut-out heart with powdered sugar either using a sifter or a fine-meshed sieve. Press together like a sandwhich. Except much yummier and prettier!

Solid cookie gets raspberry, cut-out cookie gets powdered sugar, and you get lots of compliments!

Solid cookie gets raspberry, cut-out cookie gets powdered sugar, and you get lots of compliments!

Ta-da! You’re done! And if you’re feeling sassy, try out some …

Other Linzer Heart variations
Raspberry Rosemary uses good old white flour
Dark Chocolate Peppermint you can substitute wheat in this one to offset some sweetness!
Fig and Toasted Walnuts with Goat Cheese Frosting I used wheat with these toasty, nutty, goat-cheesy cookies

I spent about two days and countless hours eating, baking and mixing different icings while making about 5 dozen of these blessed little gems!

I spent about two days and countless hours eating, baking and mixing different icings while making about 5 dozen of these blessed little gems!

 

Loving Linser Hearts

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Perfect Mashed Potatoes / Potahtos

Russet Garlic Mashed Potatoes prepped and ready to be re-heated

Russet Garlic Mashed Potatoes prepped and ready to be re-heated

Potato Variations! Check out my 411 on Mashed Potatoes before you start for making the perfect mashed potatoes without the nightmare of lumpy cold potatoes! Here are my base “healthy-ish” mashed potatoes with a few flavor variations. Note that the cheesy one is really not-so-healthy.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
This recipe is fantastic for your standard anytime mashed potato. They can be beaten with a mixer for a more refined potato or left chunky for a good ol’ hearty one. 

Ingredients:
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces – use Yukon Gold for chunkier potatoes and Russets for pureed potatoes
1 tbs butter
1 tbs minced garlic
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Add potatoes to a pot of salted, cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and let sit for approximately 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain water and set potatoes aside in a separate bowl. Place the pot back on the simmering stove. Add butter and garlic, lightly sauteing until garlic becomes fragrant. Add potatoes to the pot and use a potato masher (for chunkier Yukon Golds) or a hand mixer (for pureed Russets) to begin breaking down. Add yogurt, olive oil and salt & pepper to taste and mash until you have the flavors and texture you love!

Cheesy Chunky Mashed Potatoes
This recipe is dedicated to my lovely friend, Katie, who inspired this recipe the day before Thanksgiving. Her recipe is based on making mashed potatoes and then adding more cheese. Then adding more cheese. Then adding more cheese and eating them while Erica isn’t looking and then eating more. So I made more the next morning. True story.

Ingredients:
2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tbs butter
1/2 cup grated shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated white cheddar
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Add potatoes to a pot of salted, cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and let sit for approximately 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain water and set potatoes aside in a separate bowl. Place the pot back on the simmering stove. Add butter and garlic, lightly sauteing until garlic becomes fragrant. Add potatoes to the pot and use a potato masher to begin breaking down. Add yogurt, olive oil and salt & pepper to taste and mash until you have the flavors and texture you love!

Rosemary Pureed Potatoes
This version yields delicate, silky mashed potatoes that is best served with delicate meats. I find this best with lamb, coq a vin, or short ribs that have a delicate, wine-based sauce. The meat can be arranged on top of the mashed potatoes for a super pretty presentation.

Ingredients:
2 lbs Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup milk
1 sprig rosemary
1 tbs butter
1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
1 tbs olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Add potatoes to a pot of salted, cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and let sit for approximately 15 minutes or until fork-tender. During this time and in a separate pot, simmer milk and rosemary sprig for 5 minutes. Remove sprig and turn off heat. Drain potatoes and place in a Kitchen Aid mixer with beater attachment. Add butter, Greek Yogurt, olive oil and beat on medium. Slowly add rosemary milk until you reach the desired texture. Add S&P to taste.

Hope you enjoy the potato/potahtoe variations. I encourage you to try out your own variations and post your results!