It's nearly Christmas, kids are thrilled, adults are happy ah! sure :), yeah! are you ? most say yaaaaahh.., the long yaaaah and give a big smile, whatever it is I love Christmas, I love the festive season, makes me very happy when I see the little kids chatting away delightedly in the gifts they are going to get and lots of pampering from their thick and thin family, rich or poor everybody try their best to please the kith and kin around them.
I don't celebrate Christmas as I am Hindu, But, I do celebrate it in my own way, Have I ever told you my little story about why I celebrate Christmas, I have told many of them here, when they keep asking me are you ready for Christmas ? and I would go with a stupid smile on my face and start saying with "well, I don't have Christmas but I do celebrate in my own way as my kids love it" , of I go with my story and after hearing they would be bemused!, The story yes.., when I was in India, my children were very little and every Christmas my MIL used to bring them a small Christmas tree, it was not exactly "The Christmas tree" it was a branch but she wanted the kids to believe it was and she used to pot it and keep it in our Lounge.
Next with totally excited kids towing behind her take them in a rickshaw to shop, she used to buy little trinkets, fairies, colourful balls and all the little things to decorate the tree, and definitely a Santa and she used get them chocolates and spoil them with all the sweets and savouries. when I asked her about this she used to say how she used to think of Santa and presents when she was a kid and she would say let them enjoy.
Even today I keep wondering about the things she used to do on a whim to please them and her Grand children adored her and miss her very much, every Christmas I remember her. when my kids put up the tree and decorate they think of their Grand mother just like me. Those days I hadn't seen any of the families around us would celebrate Christmas this way. It was a bit out of the way.
May be coming over here and celebrating Christmas has become religious and part of our life now, like the same way we did back then, I used to buy them presents and buy presents for my friends and my kids do the same, particularly my youngest girl she has all packed and kept it ready a week back, I don't buy them presents any more as they are grown up now and choose to buy things whenever they like anything. But, they do enjoy visiting family and enjoy eating all the treats I bake. I enjoy baking cookies, Biscuits and cakes during this festivity season.
These cookies are the tastiest cookies I have ever baked, (so I say to most of them I think :)), I myself couldn't resist eating them they are utterly butterly delicious. These are one of the quintessential cookies for Christmas I suppose.
Linz is a biggest city in Austria, Linz is the reputed home of the famous Linzer torte, This tart is made up of a pastry rich with butter, almonds and cinnamon, and the tart is originally filled with Black currant preserves and topped with Lattice crust. It is one of the oldest know tarts, this was given a makeover by making the pastry to little cookie shapes and jammed with Jams/preserves/conserve/jellies you can make use of any of these to make these cookies and dusting with Icing sugar.
I did not know which recipe to follow exactly so I took it from here and here and made it into Eggless and it turned out superb.
EGGLESS LINZER COOKIES
Makes around 20 cookies
2 and 1/2 cup ( measured 275 grms) All Purpose Flour
1 Cup ( measured 225 grms) Butter
1 Cup (measured 150 grms) Almond meal
1/2 cup Granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Cinnamon powder
1 tsp Pure Vanilla extract
1 tsp Baking powder
1 and 1/2 tbsp water
1 tbsp Arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
Raspberry/Black currant/Apricot any choice of your filling
In a large bowl take Flour, Almond meal, cinnamon powder and salt, mix them all well together.
In an other bowl beat together softened butter, vanilla essence with sugar until well incorporated to this add the above said dry ingredients until they resemble bread crumbs.
In a little bowl take Baking powder, 1 and 1/2 tbsp of water, lemon juice and Arrowroot powder mix them all together you will see them bubbling up now add this to the buttery flour, combine them to a dough ball, it might be a bit sticky just flour your hands lightly and make into a ball.
Now half the dough ball into two and cover them separately with cling film and put it into the fridge and let it harden up for at least an one to two hours. ( you can even leave it in the refrigerator overnight and bake it next day).
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/ Gas Mark 5
Line baking sheets with parchment paper and keep it ready.
Take the dough out one part of it, roll into a circle or Rectangle in between two cling films do it quickly before it becomes too soft because of your hand heat or you can lightly flour the surface and roll out to an 1/4 inch thickness.
Now using your cookie one big and one small round, square, hearts or whatever shape you like cut out the circles, equally divide them into two parts and cut out 1/2 of them in the center with smaller cutters and place with 1" apart put them back in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes, this helps in the dough hardening up and when baking them in a preheated oven cooks them quickly and does not leak or spread and bake them in the preheated over for around 8 to 9 minutes. Half way through turn the cookies and bake them.
Once they are baked remove them on to a cooling rack, adapt the same procedure to the rest of the dough, re roll the left over dough and make similar cookies
I used some of the left over dough and made little cookies.
Dust Icing Sugar on the eyed cookies (that is the cookies which are cut in the center) and lay them out.
Once the first batch comes out fill in the cookies with Jam/jelly conserve or anything of your choice and spread it on to the base of the cookie then using the cut out cookie top it out on to the base and sandwich them together lightly.
If you store it in an airtight container the cookies will become soft and if you store it in an airtight container and leave it in the fridge, they are good to stay for several days.
Remember to preheat the oven 10 minutes before you would plan to take the dough out and get them ready to bake. Preheating ensures that the cookies are cooked evenly, quickly and will not melt away.
You can make your own Almond meal spread the Almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes remove, cool it and dehusk the almonds next blend them to a powder form using /14 cup of sugar, adding sugar in the process helps in the almonds becoming a paste.
Do not forget to refrigerate every time you take them out to roll or cut them into cookies put them back, and don't bake until it is firmed up.
I have used Arrowroot powder if you can't find you can use Corn flour/corn starch instead or Potato flour or Chickpea flour / Soya flour / Quinoa flour hope this helps.
My cookie cutter was a bit out of shape I was so concentrating on cutting them out I wasn't looking how they turned out, my daughter noticed it they were not exactly circle but a bit oval in shape ah!, noted point
You can also use Hazelnuts instead of Almonds to make these cookies. That is my next in the agenda baking these cookies with Hazelnuts