About 6 weeks ago I shared a recipe for Two-Tone Ganache Filled Snowflake Cookies that was so yummy, my family hasn't stopped talking about them. So I thought I'd expand a bit on the recipe to make Linzer-like heart cookies for Valentine's Day, filled with my homemade Strawberry Jam.
Note - the recipe makes half vanilla and half chocolate cookie dough. Since the vanilla dough spreads more during baking, I suggest you use it to make the bottom halves of these cookies.
Check out this set of nesting heart cutters I found.
I rolled my cookie dough between layers of waxed paper. I chose to use wax paper because flour would discolor the surface of the chocolate dough. You can see the wax paper left a few wrinkles on the surface of the dough, but they disappeared in the oven.
To prevent the cookie shapes from distorting when being moved, I slide the wax paper/cookie dough onto a sheet pan, cut the shapes on the pan, and pop the whole thing into the fridge so the dough can firm up. Once chilled, I pop the individual shapes out of the sheet of dough and place them on a separate sheet pan to be baked.
Here's one of the baked shapes - see all those raggedy edges? Those little suckers might not bother you, but they sure do bother me...
So I use a toothpick to file them away - I just run it along the raggedy edges and Voila - all gone!
Yes, I know - Baking OCD, but look how the edges are all nice and smooth now.
I'm just saying.
Chocolate and Vanilla Linzer Heart Cookies
makes approximately 30-40 cookies
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (added to only one half of the dough - see directions below)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 ounces high quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
strawberry or raspberry jam
To make the ganache::
Gently heat the cream and chocolate together; stirring until completely smooth and combined. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and chill for 30 minutes (do not cover with plastic wrap, which can allow condensation to drip into the ganache and seize the chocolate). Alternatively, you can make the ganache several hours in advance and let it sit at room temperature until it thickens to a piping consistency.
To make the cookie dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the blade attachment, beat the butter on medium high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt; beat until combined, scraping bowl as needed. Add egg and vanilla; beat to combine. Add flour until incorporated. Divide dough into two portions; adding sifted cocoa powder to one portion. Wrap each portion with plastic wrap and chill for 1-3 hours.
Preheat oven to 375F. Roll the vanilla dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface (or between two layers waxed paper). Cut out the bottom cookies out of the vanilla dough using a heart-shaped cutter. Chill dough on waxed paper until firm before transferring cutouts to ungreased cookie sheet; spacing 2-inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes or until edges are set; cool completely on a cooling rack. Repeat the process with the chocolate dough, but this time cut a small shape from the center of each cookie. Chill and bake as directed above. When the cookies are completed cool, sprinkle only the chocolate ones with powdered sugar (I left the smaller chocolate shapes unadorned).
To assemble cookies:
Place the vanilla cookies upside down on your work surface. Pipe a ganache "dam" on the bottom cookies (place the dam so it will be be hidden when the chocolate cookie tops are added). The ganache dam will keep the jam from oozing out of the assembled cookies (and it tastes really, really delicious!). Spoon about a teaspoon of jam inside the ganache dam; top each of the bottom cookies with a powder sugar dusted chocolate cookie. Cookies may be assembled up to a day ahead.
Note: the dough can be made 2-3 days ahead (be sure to wrap each flavor individually and chill in an airtight container). Alternately, cookies can be baked ahead of time - place unfilled cookies in an airtight container between layers of waxed paper - store at room temperature for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw before assembling.