This weekend, M and I wanted something sweet and easy to make. We usually satisfy this type of craving by making a small cake, or a choux pastry creation. But this time, we both decided on cookies. As usual, I first turned to Kate Zuckerman’s book, The Sweet Life. I don’t know why I am obsessed with this book…I just am! Perhaps it is because most of the recipes turn out spectacular, with the recipients of these sweet treats always asking me for the recipe.
After a quick flip through the book, we settled on the Hazlenut, Cardamom and Cinnamon cookies, a take on the classic Linzer cookie. After a few minutes of searching, I verified that we had all of the requisite ingredients on hand, including some basic cookie cutter molds.
Making the dough was easy. First, I ground 5 oz. of hazlenuts along with some flour in my food processor. I then whisked in the other dry ingredients and set all of that aside. Next came the ubiquitous creaming of the butter and sugar. Then came the combining of the wet and dry components…again, a fairly simple recipe, just like grandma used to make. After the dough was prepared, I wrapped it in plastic wrap and stuck it in the fridge.
After about 3 hours passed, and two episodes of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, it was time to roll out and cookie dough and shape the cookies. After rolling out the dough, which seemed rather soft, it became apparent that the dough hadn’t solidified enough to perform the shaping operation. The quick solution? Pop it in the freezer. An hour later, the dough was in an ideal state for rolling and shaping. However, I did note that the dough softened quickly, perhaps because of the ambient temperature of our kitchen. We opted to skip the hole-punching step and decided to just make a double decker sandwich cookie.
Baking the cookies was a breeze. The cookies baked for around 7 minutes longer than the recommended bake time, due to the fact that I rolled them to a thickness between 1/8 and 1/4 inch, but the results were impressive. Now keep in mind that I intentionally didn’t spend any time trying to make these pretty. We just wanted to eat them!
To finish their appearance, which was very, very rough, we lightly dusted them with powdered sugar. For the filling, we opted to use strawberry preserves versus the recommended raspberry. Why? We were in a strawberry sort of mood.
The taste of the cookie is subtle – there is a detectable note of toasted hazlenut, a subtle hint of cinnamon and a really light touch of cardamom. (Note: my friend Rick will probably chime in and tell me that I am allergic to nuts, to which I will say that I have an issue with almonds in particular, and he will then tell me that there are cross reactions, etc…an endless cycle of proclamation and response…) I paired the cookie with a Reidel Sommelier’s series tawny port glass of Warre’s Optima 10 year old. They went well together, with the not-so-sweet cookie being balanced out by the liquid walnut and dried fruit notes of the Tawny Port.
I did a quick search on this particular cookie and came up with a blog featuring this artful creation. Awesome blogsite, I might add…I will definitely have to read up on all the entries there. Too bad I am not her neighbor…I would gladly be a taste tester for her picturesque creations!