I'm a jam-a-holic. I eat it with a spoon, straight from the jar. It's more or less my go-to snack, which is why I have at least six flavors on hand at any one time. Current favorites include Stonewall Kitchen's Holiday Jam, which is a pear based jam flavored with a little orange liqueur and Christmas spices, and Bluechair's Blackberry Greengage Jam, which tastes like summer, preserved.
Though picking a favorite cookie is, I imagine, what it will be like to choose between my children, Linzer cookies might just claim the title. Their victory comes mostly from the layer of jam, but it wouldn't be possible without the nutty, buttery hazelnut cookies which hold the jam in place.
Adding a sheen of confectioners' sugar makes Linzer cookies festive and pretty, and I love the stained glass window effect of the cut-out sandwiches. In fact I have a special Linzer cookie cutter set, which makes it extra easy to make enough batches of these cookies for myself, and then a few for my guests.
Feel free to play around with this recipe. If you'd like, you can swap almonds or walnuts for the hazelnuts in the dough. You can vary from the traditional raspberry preserves to apricot or fig (or Blackberry Greengage). I've been known to make a nontraditional but fabulously delicious Nutella "Linzer" cookie, because it's a natural topping for the hazelnut dough.
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About the author: Carrie Vasios is the Community Manager of Serious Eats and writes the Wake and Bake, Cookie Monster, and Serious Entertaining columns. She likes perusing her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar.