There are a lot of variables, starting with the nuts. People make them with hazelnuts, almonds or pecans. For some reason, I always associated them with hazelnuts, so that's what I went with. If you can't find them or you prefer other nuts, I'm sure they would work equally well.
As I perused recipes, I was amazed by the variety of ingredients people add. Some of the recipes didn't contain nuts at all! Others contained cocoa, baking powder, nutmeg or cloves. I decided to keep it simple. The big flavor comes from the nuts and the jam, so why clutter it up?
Like a lot of Christmas cookies, this is a dough that needs to be refrigerated before you use it. You can make it ahead of time if you like, then bake the cookies a day or two later.
These cookies do come out of the oven looking a little bit pale, but that's okay. As you can see from the pictures, you really don't see much of them anyway.
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup ground hazelnuts (about 7/8 cup whole hazelnuts)
6 ounces seedless raspberry jam
3/4 cup or so powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 400. Roast whole hazelnuts for about 5-6 minutes until fragrant.
Reduce oven heat to 350. Grind the hazelnuts until fine.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in the egg yolks. Add the lemon and vanilla and beat. Combine the flour, salt and cinnamon. Stir with a fork and beat into the dough. Add the nuts and beat. The dough will be quite stiff.
Refrigerate the dough until it's easy to handle, or overnight.
Roll out the dough and cut with a cookie cutter. Use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the centers of half of the cookies. Make sure you have the same amount of solid cookies as you do cut-out cookies. (Wise bakers might make a couple extra cut-out cookies in case one or two break.) Bake 8-10 minutes, until very lightly golden on the edges.
Cool on a rack. Place all the cut-out cookies on a rack over a piece of the used parchment paper. Sift powdered sugar over them.
Place a generous dab or two of raspberry jam on the solid cookies but not all the way to the edge. Top with cut-out cookies.
Store in the refrigerator with a sheet of waxed paper separating layers.
|You won't need this many hazelnuts, but I went ahead and roasted more for other dishes.|
|Cut a couple extra for top cookies. They're fragile!|