Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Normally a couple’s day, my husband and I have opted to make Valentine’s Day a family event. Beginning a day or two before the official holiday, each member of our family begins to make each other homemade valentines. They do not need to be elaborate or fancy (but they certainly can be). They simply need to remind the recipient that they are loved. We’ve had some crazy, psychedelic cards for sure. There are artistic cards, and someone inevitably makes sports themed cards. Once each of us has completed our cards, we exchange with one another.
We’ve had this tradition for as long as I can remember. My boys, all teenagers now, still look forward to this. I can’t tell you how much I love that!
On Valentine’s morning, I make sure to decorate the dining room with hearts and homemade place mats before anyone wakes up. I’ll pick up heart-themed plates from the dollar store too. I buy their favorite chocolates. I keep it simple, but nice. I also make a heart themed dessert for an after dinner treat. I’ve made brownies and cookies, and once I made this crazy heart cake. My kids have fondly called this creation the Hedgehog Heart Cake.
This year I’ve made one of my favorite treats: Linzer Tart Cookies. This classic cookie is just so good. I’ve opted to fill mine with a layer of melted chocolate and raspberry preserves – a combination that is decadent and delicious. I know that these will be a big hit with hubby and the kids.
Gluten Free Raspberry Chocolate Linzer Tart Cookies
yields 20 sandwich cookies
12 tablespoons salted butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg
1 & 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend (I used Bob’s 1 to 1) + more for rolling
1/2 cup tapioca starch (flour)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dark chocolate chips (60%)
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/4 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. Add in the sifted powdered sugar, and mix together until incorporated.
Add in the almond extract and egg, mixing until smooth.
Sift together the gluten free flour, tapioca starch, and cinnamon. The flour blend that I use contains xanthan gum. If your blend does not, you will need to add 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum to your recipe. Add the flours to the butter and mix together until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. For the last 15 seconds turn up the mixer to high. This will force the dough to come together and form a smooth ball of dough.
Remove the dough and divide into two equal portions. Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball. Flatten slightly and wrap in plastic wrap. Repeat with the second half of dough. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Dust a hard surface and a rolling pin with a bit of gluten free flour. Working with one ball of dough at a time, roll out the dough to 1/8″ thickness. Using a cookie cutter of your choice (I used a heart shaped cutter that measured 2.5″ long and 2″ wide), cut out cookies. Reroll the dough scraps and cut out additional cookies. Each dough half should produce 20 cookies (this may vary depending on the size of your cookie cutter). Place the cookies onto the baking sheet leaving 1/2″ – 1″ between each (these cookies do not spread).
Bake for 10 minutes. Allow the cookies to sit on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the second dough half. However, with these cookies you will make a center hole in each. This hole will allow the preserves to peek through. These cookies will serve as the tops to your sandwich cookies. To create the center hole use a small cookie cutter with a diameter of 1/2″. If you do not have a small cookie cutter, you may use the top to a bottle to make your holes (the top to an olive oil bottle would work nicely). Place the cookies onto the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Allow the cookie tops to sit on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Melt the chocolate chips according to the package instructions. I like to melt my chocolate in a double boiler as the heat from the bottom pot of water keeps the chocolate warm and allows for easy spreading.
Using the solid cookies as the bottom portion of the sandwich cookie, spread 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate onto the flat side of the cookie. Spread the chocolate just shy of the edges. Set aside, face up, on the cooling rack. Allow the chocolate to set for 10 minutes.
Carefully spoon 1 teaspoon of raspberry preserves onto each cookie bottom. Spread lightly as you do not want to mix the chocolate and the preserves. Take a cookie top (the ones with the cut out center) and gently place it on top of the filled cookie. Do not press too hard. This may crack the cookie. Repeat until all of your sandwich cookies have been made.
Place 1/4 cup of powdered sugar into a handheld sifter. Tap the side of the sifter with a butter knife and sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a nice coating of sugar. Do not worry about getting powdered sugar on the cut out portion of the cookies. The preserves will absorb the sugar allowing the color of the preserves to peek through.
That’s it! Enjoy.
Notes: Please be sure to use preserves. Do not use jelly or jam as they contain more liquid content than do preserves. Too much liquid may make your cookie top soggy.
The number of sandwich cookies may vary depending on the size of the cookie cutter used. Be sure to make the same number of cookie bottoms and tops.