Bon Appétit (December 2015)
We did not take this photo of these beautiful Spiced Brown Butter Linzer Cookies.
This photo was taken by #BittenCookieChallenge participant Linda, who reported that the cookies are "time consuming but not difficult and the dough doesn't roll out easily. But this was a festive cookie to make, bakes evenly and overall tasted good (soft interior, slight crunchy exterior and right amount of spice)."
We bow down to Linda, because, well, here's the photo we took, which documents just how far we got in making these cookies:
Yep, that's our dough, all crumbly and impossible to roll out. We are actually somewhat embarrassed to be posting this photo, given that it was our third consecutive cookie fail in one day. But by this point in the baking endeavor, we knew it was time to call it quits (or consider divorce).
Obviously we failed, but plenty of better-skilled Bitten Bakers did not. Here's what they had to say:
Lisa: This is a very rich and tasty cookie. It is not difficult, but is a time consuming recipe as the dough needs to be chilled twice. Having four cookie sheets would be helpful.
Ramona: "[Our dough] stayed hard as a rock, and shattered when we tried to roll it flat. So we gave up and baked it in shattered pieces, then served the cookies with whipped cream and strawberry lemon marmalade. They were a hit, everyone loved the flavor, from the 3yo to the 91yo! If even make them again, I just wouldn't even bother trying to roll them. They're delicious as shortbread cookies!
Amburger: Beautiful, with a unique flavor, but ultimately not worth how fussy and tedious they are to make.
TokyoDayTrips: These cookies are pretty awesome. Linzer cookies are one of my favorites and this version is rich and delicious. The dough is warm and satisfying, a nice contrast to the jelly and powered sugar. It's a satisfying cookie without being cloyingly sweet.
Asa: Overall was a lot of work and the dough was hard to work with. Brought them to family dinner though and they were a hit! They taste great, which I suppose they should for three sticks of butter. I'd give the recipe a B or B-
And here are some beautiful photos of these cookies that Bitten Word readers have posted on Instagram:
See more Bitten Word readers' posts here!
Obviously, most readers were a lot more successful here than we were. But after two other failed holiday cookie recipes, we had no shame in throwing in the Christmas towel on this one.
So what's the moral of this year's Holiday Cookie Challenge?
That the baking gods don't like Clay and Zach? A likely yes.
Or that we don't deserve cookies? We hope not!
That we have awesome readers who are way better at baking than we are? Definitely.
That it's possible to choose three random cookie recipes from three different magazines and all three can turn out to be difficult? The answer seems to be yes.
So let's end this Cookie Challenge on a high note: with cookies we love.
Here are two delicious cookie recipes we've enjoyed in the past:
Now we want to hear from you: Whats's your favorite holiday cookie? Leave a link to the recipe in the comments!
Makes about 24 cookies
Note: Make any kind of shape you’d like. The cookies can be rounds instead of rectangles, and you can use any smaller cutter for the cutouts.
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
3¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
Powdered sugar (for dusting)
½ cup red currant jelly
A 3x1½-inch cookie cutter or other similarly sized shape and 1-inch and 1½-inch cookie cutters
Cook butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns, 5–8 minutes. Scrape into a large bowl; let cool.
Whisk salt, baking powder, cardamom, cloves, pepper, and 3¾ cups flour in a medium bowl to combine.
Add granulated sugar and lemon zest to butter; scrape in vanilla seeds and discard pod. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in egg, then yolks. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 batches, incorporating after each addition.
Turn out dough onto a surface and knead until no dry spots remain. Divide in half and form into ¾"-thick disks. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours.
Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350°. Let 1 disk of dough sit at room temperature until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Roll out on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, shifting often on sheet and dusting with more flour as needed to keep from sticking, until about ⅛" thick. Cut into desired shapes with cutters; transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing ½" apart. Gather scraps, reroll, and cut out more shapes. Repeat with remaining disk of dough. (Make sure to cut out an even number.)
Using smaller cutter, punch out cutouts in half of the cookies as desired. Chill 15 minutes, then bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown around edges, 10–12 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheets.
Dust cutout cookies with powdered sugar. Stir jelly to smooth, turn remaining cookies over, and spread each with ¾ tsp. jelly. Top with powdered cookies. Let sit until jam is set, 15–20 minutes.
Do Ahead: Dough can be made 1 month ahead; freeze. Cookies can be made 1 day ahead; cover and chill.