Holiday Baking: Spitzbuebe

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Original recipe here. For years I was making the recipe for Drei Augen from Gourmet, which I posted at Baking Delights (now Blisstree) when I was still blogging for b5media (reposting below). This is also similar to Linzer cookies, although Linzers traditionally include some nut flour (usually almond) in the dough.

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DREI AUGEN / SPITZBUEBE (Jam-Filled Shortbread Sandwich Cookies)

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar plus additional for dusting cookies
2 large egg yolks
2 1/3 cups bleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar, beating until combined well. Add yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour over butter mixture and fold in thoroughly.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and press into a 10-inch square, about 1/2 inch thick. Chill dough until firm, about 2 hours. Dough may be made 4 days ahead and chilled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.

Divide dough into 4 pieces. Keeping remaining dough chilled, lightly flour 1 piece of dough and on a lightly floured surface gently pound with a rolling pin to soften. Roll out dough into an 8-inch square, about 3/16 inch thick. With 1 1 3/4- to 2-inch round cutter cut out cookies, chilling scraps, and arrange about 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. make more cookies in same manner with remaining 3 pieces of dough and with scraps, pressed together. With a 3/8-inch plain pastry tip cut out 3 small holes in half of cookies (these will be tops), leaving remaining half of cookies whole (these will be bottoms).

Put cookies in oven and immediately reduce temperature to 325 degrees F. Bake cookies, switching positions of sheets in oven halfway through baking, 20 minutes, or until pale golden and firm, and cool on sheets on racks. Lightly dust cookie tops with additional sugar and arrange cookie bottoms upside down on a work surface.

In a small saucepan heat jam over low heat until thickened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread about 1/4 teaspoon jam onto each cookie bottom and arrange a cookie top over it to form a sandwich. Transfer remaining jam to a small resealable plastic bag and snip a small hole in one corner. Squeeze a drop of jam into each opening in cookie tops and let stand until dry. Keep cookies frozen between layers of wax paper or parchment paper in an airtight container up to 2 weeks. Makes about 36 cookies.

from Gourmet Magazine, December 1994

Some additional tips:

1. You don’t want the dough to be REALLY firm, as it would be more difficult to roll. I find that it’s best to have it chilled but still a bit moldable, i.e., when you hold a large dough piece in your hand, it should not feel completely hard, there should be some “give”.

2. After dividing the dough into several pieces (rolling one piece at a time and keeping the rest in the fridge) I roll mine on a large cutting board, with plastic wrap on top. The plastic wrap keeps the dough from sticking to the rolling pin and helps to smooth the dough completely.

3. Either follow a sequence of chill-roll-cut-transfer-bake, or roll-cut-chill-transfer-bake. The reason for this is that you don’t want the dough to be too soft/at room temperature because when you lift it from the cutting board and transfer onto the baking sheet, you don’t want it getting misshapen, and that will happen if the dough is warmer than it should be.

4. I watch the baking carefully, larger cookies will of course take longer. The best ones are just beginning to turn color on the edges. From that point they brown rather quickly and easily.

5. When giving these as gifts I assemble them the day that I’m delivering them, so the pretty snow-effect on top of the cookies stays fresh.

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