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Samantha Seneviratne’s Walnut Linzer Tarts Bring ‘Toasty Flavor’ to Your Cookie Swap

The 'Bake Smart' cookbook author uses ground walnuts and buckwheat flour for this twist on a classic

<p>Jennifer Causey</p> Samantha Seneviratne’s Walnut Linzer Cookies

Jennifer Causey

Samantha Seneviratne’s Walnut Linzer Cookies

Samantha Seneviratne's spin on classic linzer cookies will be a hit this holiday season.

"Classic linzer cookies are usually made with a mix of ground almonds and all-purpose flour. My version uses walnuts and a mix of buckwheat flour and all-purpose flour," says the author of the new Bake Smart cookbook. "The combination of nuts and buckwheat flour gives an earthy, toasty flavor that goes so well with jam."

In this version, Seneviratne suggests using your favorite jelly (her's is raspberry) but she adds that the cookies are "very adaptable" and can be made with other fillings. "Bake the same recipe with a different filling, like chocolate or cookie butter, and you have another wonderful recipe," the food stylist says.

Related: Katie Lee Biegel’s Peppermint Mocha Cookies Are Even Better Than the Seasonal Beverage

If you are making the cookies ahead — they can be made "days or months in advance," according to Seneviratne — then freeze them unfilled, defrost them and then create your cookie sandwiches.

And don't let the star cutouts go to waste! “You can also bake the star cutouts, but they’ll cook faster,” says Seneviratne, who suggests baking them at 350° until golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes. 

Samantha Seneviratne’s Walnut Linzer Cookies

1 cup raw unsalted walnuts

1 cup granulated sugar

1½ cups (12 oz.) unsalted butter, softened

1½ tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 large egg yolks

1½ tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups (about 8½ oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

2 cups (about 8½ oz.) buckwheat flour

Powdered sugar, for dusting

¾ cup of your favorite jam for filling

1. Process walnuts and sugar in the bowl of a food processor until nuts are finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add butter, cinnamon and salt; process until well combined, about 1 minute, scraping down sides as needed. Add egg yolks and vanilla; process until smooth, about 5 seconds. Add both flours, and pulse until a shaggy dough forms, about 10 times. Tip the dough out onto a clean surface, and knead briefly to bring the dough together. Divide dough in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Form the dough into two rectangles, then wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. (You can freeze this dough, well-wrapped, for up to 3 months.)

2. Preheat oven to 350°. Line three large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough out into a 13x11-inch rectangle about ⅛-inch thick.

3. Use a fluted pastry wheel to trim ½ inch from each side, and then cut dough into 2-inch squares. (If dough gets too soft, transfer it to a baking sheet, and refrigerate to chill.) Place squares on one of the prepared pans, about 1 inch apart.

4. Use a ½-inch star cookie cutter to make a cutout, slightly off-center, in half of the squares. Bake in preheated oven until set and golden brown around the edges, 10 to 13 minutes. Let cool on the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer them to another wire rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, repeat with remaining rectangle of dough, rerolling scraps up to two times.

5. Transfer all the cookies with cutout centers to a baking sheet; dust with powdered sugar. Flip remaining cookies over, and spread about 1 teaspoon of jam on each one; top with one of the dusted cookies. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Makes: 36
Active time:
 25 minutes
Total time:
 2 hours

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