Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Linzer Cookies with Fruit Jams...and sending sweet Valentines of love

Oh, the week of love and all things heart shaped, pink, flowery and sparkly is upon us.  Happy Valentine's Day to all of you who leave me sweet notes  here at 'thyme'.  I do read every single one and appreciate your time and thoughts.

For awhile now I've been wanting to make these sweet Linzer cookies.  My daughter loves shortbread cookies as well as all varieties of fruit jam so this would be the perfect combination to send her as a little Valentine's treat.

With Valentine's Day coming up, I thought I would mail a little Valentine's Linzer Cookie care package to her at her dorm.  

Valentine's Day has become a huge holiday push it seems here in the U.S.  The stores seem to be stocking as many items to purchase as other holidays of the year.  

"Le sigh"...commercialization at its most healthiest I suppose.

We keep it simple, however.  I do like the idea of a special day set aside to tell those you love how much you adore them along with giving a little treat.  Somehow, I just can't "do" flowers, though.  The idea of so many millions of flowers clipped and snipped for this one day seems, I don't know...harsh.

I usually slip something sweet into my husband's briefcase that he will find at work during the day.  For my son, I usually lay something simple at his place at the breakfast table.  This year, it's a box of chocolates...  He and I certainly share the same DNA ;)

Little jars of fruit jams are one of life's sweet treats that delight my daughter.  Ever since she was tiny, she would notice the wee little jam jars at breakfast tables in hotels or B&Bs.

We would have to pilfer them from the breakfast table (unopened mommy!) and tuck them deep down into the darkness of my purse. Back home, she would then arrange a table setting of her dolls and take out the little jars of jam for the ultimate croissant or scone indulgence alongside wee pots of tea and tiny spoons that "clinked" against the porcelain tea cups.

Without truly realizing it, we became accustomed to Madeleine choosing little jars of jam as her vacation souvenir to bring home.  I would also find a unique jar and tuck it in her Christmas stocking, realizing now that is a bit...unusual for a stocking stuffer.  She loves it.

So these Linzer cookies were a natural choice.  A simple shortbread cookie enveloping a variety of sweet fruit jams.

My Christmas cactus is in full bloom again.  It should be renamed the Valentine's Day cactus because it looks so cheery and full of "love"..ly little flowers.

Spring is right around the corner for all of us.  We've had days of moody skies and on and off again rain showers down here in the south.

I love it.  Every moody blustery grey day is just what I need to face the impending hot sultry southern summers here.

We're becoming big pansies down here, though.  With the first chill in the air, we're shivering and reaching for our down comforters at night.  

I had my winter coat and huge scarf wrapped around my neck to go out today.  I turned on the radio and it said that it was 55˚F outside.  Hardly heavy winter coat plus scarf up to my nose kind of weather!  

Pansies we're becoming, I say.  We need some of that Nemo snow up there!

Chester (the dog) and Polly (the cat) are also noticing and reacting to "the cold" down here in Houston.  We have one little pet bed sitting right next to the kitchen table.  

As one curled up comfortably (Polly) and snoozed away (most of the day), Chester would stand over her looking longingly at her cozy little nest.

So, the most lavish Valentine's Day treat actually went to the pets in the family.  A new fluffy little bed made its way home.  Now, two little creatures...a Polly and a Chester have tucked their cold little selves into their own warm little beds and can lazily survey the activity in the kitchen all day long.

Should we dream of where the ultimate Valentine's Day adventure could be??  Why not.

Florence, Italy.  Period.  End of story.  For me, that is...where would it be for you?

I think Florence is one of the most romantic of cities.  Something about the way the city is laid out, the size is so walkable, the meat market is so plentiful with romantic roasts ready to be put into the oven, and the river, gracefully winding its way through with its many lovely bridges...is all so beautiful.

Whereas Madeleine likes to bring back little pots of jam that remind her of a destination, I like to seek out stationery as my own special keepsake.  

Florence has a beautiful collection of stationery shops.  I chose one of my special papers from Florence to write a little Valentine's note to her wishing her a happy day on the 14th.

Sitting down, with a hot cup of coffee or tea, beautiful stationery full of lovely memories of a beautiful city, writing little notes of love...is as special of way to spend the day that I can imagine.  

That is, if traveling to Florence is not on the agenda!

Linzer Cookies with Fruit Jam

Mini Linzer Cookies
Copyright 1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, All Rights Reserved

Prep Time:15 minInactive Prep Time: -- Cook Time:25 min
36 cookies
This is a variation of Eli Zabar's delicious shortbread cookies.

3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I like to add extra vanilla)
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup good raspberry (or preferred fruit jam) preserves
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350˚ degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut 2 3/4-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter. With 1/2 of the rounds, cut a hole from the middle of each round with a heart or spade shaped cutter. Place all the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes.

Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature. Spread raspberry preserves on the flat side of each solid cookie. Dust the top of the cut-out cookies with confectioners' sugar and press the flat sides together, with the raspberry preserves in the middle and the confectioners' sugar on the top.


  1. Ah,...this is so wonderful! What beautiful photos and lovely little cookies! Your daughter will love the package! I'm going to make truffles and chocolate covered strawberries for my lovely little loved ones around here. :)

    1. ooooh, truffles. I've never tried them but it looks like a wonderful endeavor!

  2. Sarah, this is too funny. The other week up here, it was nearly -50 F with the windchill, and after tromping about outside for a few hours, I thought to myself "well, I guess it feels kind of cold. I guess so." It's all so relative, though. I would probably be the same as you, but why not reach for a down comforter? They just feel so good to cuddle inside of.

    I think my ultimate Valentine's adventure would be inside of the Willy Wonka factory. I want to kick the giant gummy bears!

    1. Emma! I love you! Willy Wonka's Factory. How awesome would that be. You win the "ultimate Valentine's destination" question. Wait...forget Florence, can I change my answer ;0

  3. Cookies and jam is perhaps the loveliest combination. Your daughter certainly has good taste! These are beautiful!

    1. Thank you Tartlet. I think scones and jam might come in second!

  4. Your photographs and recipes are beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing them with us all. You made my day.

  5. Don't take this the wrong way, Sarah, but sometimes I'm at a loss to comment on your posts. They are so consistently stunning, I can hardly come up with a new thing to say. Your mastery of color and layout, not to mention your collection of vintage kitchenware is just, well, amazing :)

  6. Oh, Sue. You just made my day. It really is wonderful to hear compliments you know! Who doesn't like that! Have I told you lately that you are my new best friend!!??

  7. These are absolutely fantastic. Perfect accompaniment to a cup of www.LoveTea.co

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Perfect for such a romantic day :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  10. This post made me sigh. It's so beautiful. I share your love for chocolate but, although I do have a sweet tooth, have never been too fond of jam. I mean I like it, but in very small quantities (unlike my dad who could down a jar in one sitting). As for a romantic getaway, it's really difficult to choose just one place. But Prague and Venice are way up there on my list.

    1. Loree, I've never been to Prague but I've heard that is is a beautiful and romantic city. You yourself live in a pretty incredible location that many here would love to see.

  11. Beautiful stories as always! I love Linzer cookies. Buttery and sweet. Mmm. What flowers are those? They're spectacular!

    La Petite Gigi

    1. I believe these flowers are simple carnations. They were such an unusual color...I thought they were pretty too.

  12. I love Florence but Rome is my first and enduring love so it wins for me. The river in Florence though is rather special, especially with the sun going down on the other side - a perfect spot for a romantic stroll. My sister loves collecting stationery and we visited many such shops in Paris together last year - very special. I love your tea cup set.

    1. With an insider's view of Italy with your Italian born husband, it must hold such a special place for you!

  13. Sarah, I am enjoying your post very much, the photos are beautiful, so romantic and so alive-) The third photo from the top is my favorite. Thank you-)

    1. I just visited your Valentine's Day creation! Really, why don't we see chocolate creme brulees much more often! How decadent.

  14. A little sweet for the sweethearts in your life is a wonderful way to celebrate. I like the three mini hearts on the cookies.

  15. Beautiful! I hope that you have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

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  17. While I admit to not being much of a jam and jelly person - I seriously love shortbread! Your photos are lusciously beautiful! happy Valentine's Day!

  18. We too like to keep it simple and celebrate it in our own little way :) These cookies looks so pretty and so neatly shaped!

  19. Ah, your family's little celebrations sound sweet. I love how you include all the members of your family - son, daughter, dog, cat. Love shouldn't merely refer to the romantic sort.

    First time on your site, and I wanted to say that your photographs are lovely!

  20. Only you could transform the ordinary valentine's day cookie to fine art. Beautiful!!!

  21. Oh, how I've missed you.
    It's late, and my eyes are going foggy... I'm craving my fluffy pillows.
    But what a sweet sweet way to end my perfect Sunday.

    Thank you for the loveliness that you share.
    I promise not to be such a stranger.


  22. I was hoping to make these cookies for my sister's engagement party. By chance, does anyone know how far in advance one could make them?


    1. Hi Raffi. I think you could make them the weekend before. Then, perhaps the day before the party, you could spoon the jam on them and assemble the top heart on the bottom cookie. Put the cookies in containers and keep in the refrigerator until the morning of the party. Good luck! Hope this helps.

  23. such gorgeous, stunning photos. am blown away!

  24. I adore this!
    I love your Decoration.
    I love the choices you picked and I would be happy to make any one of them.
    Thank You.


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