Cashew Linzer Cookie Wreaths with Apricot Jam

Linzer wreaths

Some of the best pastries and sweets come from eastern Europe and I'm not just saying that because my family is Hungarian. Though I am biased. The Linzertorte is one of the most famous treats in Austria and Hungary. It's basically a lattice-topped tart made of pastry crust that is filled with jam, either apricot, raspberry, or plum. Linzer cookies are the miniature version. These little round sandwiched cookies have such a festive look. Cut them out with a fluted cookie cutter and they take on the look of Christmas wreaths. Dusting them with powdered sugar is practically required to give them a true winter wonderland look.

Traditional Linzer cookies include ground nuts in the dough. This recipe does not make an exception. Instead of the traditional ground hazelnuts or almonds, I use ground cashews, which creates a cookie that is super soft and buttery in texture. The combination of cashews and apricot jam brings to mind one of my favorite sandwiches from Bouchon Bakery called the CB&J (cashew butter and apricot jam). Like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but even better, the CB&J hits all the comfort spots. I recreate that blissful flavor match in these delicate cookies for a slight twist on tradition.

Cashew Linzer Cookie Wreaths with Apricot Jam

Note: Cashew flour can be found in specialty health food markets or online. Almond flour can also be substituted.

3/4 cup finely ground cashews or cashew flour
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
apricot jam

In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: ground cashews, flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract; mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix until combined. Form dough into two disks and wrap in plastic. Chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with oven-safe parchment paper or Silpats.

Roll out one disk of dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4 inch thick. Keep second disk in refrigerator until ready to roll. Chill rolled dough for 20 minutes. Cut out cookies using a 1-1/4-inch fluted round cookie cutter and transfer to lined baking sheet, arranging no more than 1 inch apart. Cut out centers of half the cookies using a 3/4-inch round cookie cutter. Reshape scraps of dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and keep in refrigerator until ready to roll again.

Bake cookies until golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely. Spread cookie bottoms with about 1 teaspoon of jam and cover with top, squeezing together and removing any excess that comes out. Yield: 24 sandwiched cookies.