Friday, December 9, 2016

Advent Calendar Hazelnut Hibiscus Linzer Cookies

I saw this idea in a German cooking magazine awhile back and planned to create my own version this year. It's way past the time to gift or create an advent calendar. Sigh. However, the cookies themselves are so delicious, you can still make them for the holidays using holiday shapes or letters for the cutouts. You can also bookmark these for next year's holiday cookie baking. 

These hibiscus flowers in syrup have been an obsession of mine since I had 2 jars shipped to be in Germany when I first spotted the product online years ago. Since then, I routinely add them to prosecco for holidays, sit back and watch the wow factor from my guests. 

Since I've moved to the states I've been lucky enough to have met the rep for The Wild Hibiscus Flower Company. They have been generous enough to send me an assortment of their cool, creative products made with exotic ingredients. Aside from the hibiscus flowers in syrup, there are gorgeous teas, extracts and salt to choose from. 

After receiving the products I aspired to create recipes as special as the products and thought hibiscus flavor would make a beautiful and festive filling for Christmas themed Linzer cookies. 

To create the hibiscus jelly in the middle of the cookies, at the suggestion of my friend Jackie Gordon, I started with a jar of apple jelly, added some sugar, the hibiscus syrup from the jar and the flowers, after turning them into a puree in the food processor.

The cookies themselves use hazelnut flour which pairs beautifully with the exotic hibiscus flavor. These are both lovely holiday gifts or delicious and beautiful addition to your holiday dessert table. 

Hazelnut Hibiscus Linzer Cookies
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 8 minutes
Yield: 24 Linzer cookies*

For the hazelnut Linzer cookies:
  • 5 cups flour
  • 4 cups ground hazelnuts or hazelnut flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 +1/2 cups white granulated sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
For the Hibiscus Filling:

  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, hazelnut flour, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves and salt.
  • Place the butter, white granulated sugar, vanilla extract and egg in a mixing bowl. Use the whisk attachment to beat until creamy.
  • Beat in the sour cream.
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. 
  • Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. 
  • Roll the dough out. Use a large cutter of your preferred shape (rectangle, square, oval, round, etc.) to cut out 24 pieces. Then use small number cutters to cut out the numbers 1 through 24 in the center of half of the cookies. Alternately letters or holiday shaped mini cutter to create the designs. Place the cutout cookies on one of the baking sheets.
  • Roll out the remaining dough and once again cut out 24 rectangle shapes. Place those on the other baking sheet. Make sure you do not combine the cutout and plain cookies on one baking sheet. They will have 2 different baking times. 
  • Place the cookies in the oven and bake the cutouts for 12 minutes and the plain rectangle shaped cookies for 15 minutes or until the cookies are just slighting turning golden at their edges.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to cooling racks and cool completely.
  • In the meantime, place the apple jelly in a saucepan. Drain the syrup from the hibiscus flowers into the pan with the apple jelly. Puree the hibiscus flowers in a food processor or blender and add to the pan.
  • Stir in the sugar.
  • Heat the apple/hibiscus mixture over a low heat, stirring to thoroughly combine. When mixture starts to boil, let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.  Alternately, add the entire content of the jar to the apple jelly and cook. Use a hand blender to completely puree the mixture.
  • Spread a thin layer of the cranberry/hibiscus mixture on top of the plain rectangular shaped cookies. 
  • Spread the powdered sugar out onto a flat plate. Place the number cutout cookies face down in the powdered sugar to coat, tap the cookie gently to remove the excess sugar, then place it, sugared half up, on top of the jam-covered half. 
  • Arrange the cookies on a platter in numbered order and serve. 
*Note: I used large cutters to create these cookies approx 3x4 inches. The recipe below yields a lot of dough. You can easily halve the recipe if you want to make smaller cookies.

1 comment:

  1. What a really inspired and clever way to mix up holiday cookies... thanks for sharing!


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