Northwoods Linzer Cranberry Creams

What You'll Need

Northwoods Linzer Cranberry Creams
  • For the cookies:
  • 1/2 cup hickory nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • For the filling:
  • 12 ounce bag (about 3 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter softened and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
  • For the topping:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup sweetened, dried cranberries finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Spread nuts on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Cool and finely grind them in a food processor.

3. In a mixing bowl, at high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, nuts, and cinnamon. Stir this mixture into the butter and sugar until well blended.

5. Divide the dough into three portions and shape into discs. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours.

6. While the dough is chilling, prepare the cranberry curd: Place the cranberries and water in a medium-sized sauce pot over medium-high heat and stir. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until all the cranberries have popped, about 5 minutes. Pour them into a fine-meshed strainer set over a medium-sized mixing bowl or the top of a double boiler, and press the cranberry puree through. Allow the puree to cool to room temperature. Discard the cranberry skins.

7. To the bowl with the cranberry puree, add the sugar, eggs, egg yolks, lemon juice, and salt. Stir thoroughly until fully mixed.

8. Set the bowl of the cranberry mixture over a pot of simmering water on medium heat. Stir the curd continuously, making sure to scrape the bottom and corners of the pan. Cook until the curd is thick and coats the back of a spoon (170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer). This should take 12-15 minutes.

9. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter. Stir until the butter has completely combined with cranberry mixture, then pour the curd through the strainer into a clean bowl. Let cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

11. Roll out each portion of dough between 2 sheets of wax paper to about 1/8-inch thickness. Using a small fluted or scalloped cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Remove what excess dough you can with the tip of a palette or table knife. Place wax paper with cutout cookies on a baking sheet and freeze for 10 minutes. Finish removing cookies from the paper and place 1-inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake cookies until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let them cool briefly on the sheet, then remove to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough.

12. In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, rum, and maple syrup. Drizzle the icing onto half of the cookies, and sprinkle with chopped dried cranberries. Let dry. Take the unfrosted cookies and spread the underside of each cookie with a teaspoon of cranberry curd. Top with a frosted cookie. Makes 36.

(Note: Any excess cranberry curd makes a delicious spread for toast, bagels, or muffins!)