All posts by Debi Lander

Linzer Cookies ready for Christmas.

Linzer Cookies Earn Rave Reviews

The Linzer torte is one of the oldest tortes in the world, found in an Austrian abbey in the early 1700s. (A torte is defined as a cake made with many eggs and often grated nuts.) Immigrants brought the famous cake  to the US from Linz, Austria, around the 1850s. From there, Linzer cookies arose, smaller sandwich style versions with a lighter dough. But the Linzer torte is still a popular holiday treat in neighboring Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Switzerland.

Linzer Torte on a cake stand.
From Wikimedia Commons
Linzer Torte @ Wikimedia Commons

My recipe may not date back to the nineteenth century, but I still have a recipe card that shows I wrote it in 1974. Tried and true it is!

The name on the recipe card reads Ischl (pronounced “eesh uhl”) Tartlets which I discovered are the same as linzer cookies, however the name comes from the Austrian spa town of Bad Ischl. 

A recipe card from 1972 for Ischl Tartlets.
My Recipe Card from 1974

These luscious treats, made from a cream cheese dough and filled with raspberry jam, may be my favorite cookies. But I only make them once a year because they take a lot of work. Still,  the taste is worth the effort. 

Follow the recipe in two stages. Prepare the nutty-flavored dough and let it chill for about 4 hours, or better yet, overnight. Later, roll out the dough and cut out the shapes with cookie cutters. Keep count of how many bottom and top cookies you have, or you’ll lack matching pairs. I use the Wilton Linzer Cookie Set with interchangeable cut-outs available from Amazon.

Top and Bottom of Linzer Cookies before adding jam and sandwiching together.
Baked cookies before assembly.

Linzer cookies don’t take long to bake, but let them sit on the cookie sheet for 2 extra minutes before transferring to the cooling rack. If you want to make especially beautiful cookies, sprinkle powdered sugar on the top cookies before you place each on the jam-filled bottom layer. I did not do this this year, so I must remind myself of that hint next year. 

Be careful if you stack the cookies for storage – you don’t want them to lose the pretty jam-filled cut-out designs.  

Decorative Linzer Cookies ready for Christmas.
Linzer Cookies ready for Christmas

LINZER COOKIE RECIPE

Recipe from the Debi Lander Collection

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ¾ Cups sifted all-purpose flour  
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 3 oz. package cream cheese
  • 1 Cup Sugar        
  • 1 egg
  • ½ Cup almonds, ground
  • ! Tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 12 oz. jar raspberry preserves
  • !0x Confectioner’s Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
Linzer Cookies on a red platter. Copyright Debi Lander
Luscious Jam Filled Linzer Cookies

DIRECTIONS

  • 1.Sift flour and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside
  • 2. Beat butter, cream cheese, sugar, and egg in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  • 3. Add flour mixture and blend. Stir in ground almonds and lemon rind. 
  • 4. Shape into two balls, cover, and chill for 4 hours or overnight. 
  • 5. Roll out half of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into circles and circles with cut-out designs or holes. Place on ungreased cookie sheets or parchment paper.
  • 6. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes more. Transfer and cool thoroughly on a rack. 
  • 7. Heat preserves. Spread solid cookies to the edge. Top cut-out cookies with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and place on top of the jam layer. 
  • 8. Store between wax paper in an airtight tin. 

Why Are Partridgeberry Pies in Newfoundland?

The pie-making class.
Students with their pies.

It was early July when I flew into Gander, Newfoundland, a small but famous airport that became home to 38 jumbo jets on 9/11. It’s an unassuming place with a lot of history.  

The next morning, when sitting at breakfast, I noticed the menu featured many dishes with partridgeberries. I could order partridgeberry muffins, bread, pancakes, waffles, pies, or tarts. One could slather toast with partridgeberry jams and jellies. 

What are Partridgeberries?

Partridgeberries are small red berries that grow abundantly in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I’d say they are a not-too-sweet cross between cranberries and blueberries. Scientifically a member of the Madder Family (Rubiaceae), partridgeberries are deeply rooted in the culture and cuisine of Newfoundland.

Partridgeberries
Wild growing Partridgeberres

Having never heard of them, I was curious and began researching. I discovered that partridgeberries are also called mountain cranberries, cowberries, or lingonberries- at least, I knew the latter. They are indigenous to Newfoundland, as well as Scandinavia, and grow wild on small evergreen shrubs. Partridgeberries thrive in the cool and acidic soils of the region.

The fruit has a distinctive tart flavor that sets them apart from other berries. Their tartness makes them an excellent addition to sweet treats and savory meals, an accompaniment to dishes like moose and rabbit.

Continue reading Why Are Partridgeberry Pies in Newfoundland?

What Do You See in a Salt Mine?

You may not think of a salt mine as an exciting place to visit, but I’ll swear otherwise. Here’ ‘s a roundup of four salt mines I feel are worth your time and way more than a grain of that mineral.

Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland

The Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow, Poland, earned one of the 12 prestigious spots on the very first UNESCO World Heritage list. Its operations date back to the 13th century, making it one of the most historic and famous salt mines in the world. Operations continued until 2007, more than 750 years. During World War II, the Germans used the mine as an underground facility for war-related manufacturing. Today, it’s primarily a tourist attraction.

Continue reading What Do You See in a Salt Mine?