Gluttony and Leftover Linzer Cookies
I’m not sure what it is that twists us into gluttonous swines during the holidays. Food is so central to the celebrations that we don’t often even enjoy it but rather stuff our faces until we brink on explosion. Our pants get unbuckled and we lay back into our seats be they at home or at a relative’s, we adjust over and over again until we move in such a way that allows even just a whiff of space… only to be filled, overfilled once more with things like cakes and cookies. Every year when we do this… we know…. yet we do it anyway.
I’m not only guilty of overfilling myself during the holidays I am also guilty of overcooking and overbaking, making sure that there is MORE than enough so that everyone struggles to keep their bloated bodies in their clothes. Every year I double or triple cookie recipes to make sure that there is enough, rather, more than enough actually. Maybe it’s the tediousness of such baking that makes me always want to make things in bulk. It just doesn’t seem to make sense to make just a few when it takes so much time and energy. Once you have all the cookies baked why go through the mess of melting chocolate and brushing them for just a few? Then I continue to justify the madness and I think to myself. Why make two dozen when I can make four or six. What if I want to take some to work? What if more people cover over? For god’s sake, what if we run out!? It is madness. It is not rational.
I’d like to say that it’s my leftover panic, a throwback to the days when I had nothing, this fear of running out. But that isn’t it. Yes, we were certainly poor when I was growing up. We didn’t have much but I don’t ever remember not having food or not having enough. And when I got divorced we didn’t have much either. Though we never ran out of food, it wasn’t that expensive feeding two little girls who didn’t eat much. Christ, I could make a whole turkey last for a week, butchering it and making four different stir fry meals out of the breasts, a huge pot of soup with the carcass and roasting what was left, the roasted pieces alone would last for a couple of days.
I was asked recently by the bloggers of havefruitwilltravel, who are currently in the Czech Republic, to answer some questions about the culture of Czech food. It made me think that even European’s don’t seem to hoard food the way Canadians and North Americans do, what with our monster sized refrigerators supplemented by the freezers most of us have in our basements all bursting with food that frequently gets lost and freezer burnt in a back corner. As far as I’m aware Europeans have always had very small refrigerators, strolling on their way home from work and picking up the evening’s and the next day’s food on their way. I’m sure it was about availability and about space and also about a different way of living and yet they lived through numerous wars and famines you would think they would hoard the way we do. Of course, then again, we don’t know what millions of jars of preserves are hiding in their cold rooms either, maybe they just hoard food differently.
So today I’m lamenting. I’m lamenting the teenager I once was that didn’t seem to need to overindulge in food, I’m lamenting eating and never feeling bloated or gaining weight and I’m also lamenting eating! I’m on day four of a carb cleanse and I’m constantly being taunted by the few dozen cookies that are lurking in my porch in boxes. Packed away for what I do not know. They are stacked in boxes and as I walk by the big windows leading into the room and see them stacked there I swear they are screaming my name…. I swear they are shamelessly begging to be eaten. In years past we’ve discovered that most of these cookies are also fantastic frozen, maybe they aren’t really as good but when you’ve been living in a food deficit that is synonymous with most of our New Year’s resolutions frozen cookies taste like a dream!
So today I’m posting the Linzer cookie. A smooth, buttery, creamy cookie filled with a tart cherry jam. These are the ones that were my favourites as a kid and they are a staple for Czech Christmas baking though they are not only a seasonal cookie but a year round one. Similar to, but much, much better than the ones that hide in the boxes of bought cookies I used to see in the store. Though not difficult these are as all the other Czech Christmas cookies seem to be, time consuming to make. Time slipped away from me before the holidays and I didn’t get around to posting them but today I am pulling a few out of the box, warming them up, taunting them and giving them a moment of fame, sprinkling them with icing sugar and sharing them with you before I pack them back up and freeze them into silence until my body has adjusted to protein and veggies and isn’t begging me to eat the rest of the entire box. It’s my way of being passive aggressive and once this is done I’ll share with you some of the more nutritious and less carb laden food I’m vowing to eat for the rest of the month. Stay tuned for the BAM Shrimp that’s coming up! Or if your pants are strangling you and you can’t wait then check out my post on Dukan bread — it’s the only bread I’ve been eating for the last three days and for the next month…. almost feels like a cheat!
Linzer Cookies (altered from my post last year Lemon Linzer Cookies with Cranberries)
* makes about 100 little cookies… not nearly enough!
- 350 gr flour
- 140 gr icing sugar
- 200 gr softened butter (unsalted)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Tart cherry or Raspberry Jam
Mix all the ingredients together to form a nice soft ball (nothing too fancy here… just easy peasy). Let the dough rest overnight in the fridge or not if you’re dying for some of these today just cool them in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Roll out the dough and cut out half for the bottoms and half with holes for the top. bake on parchment at 180 C or 350 F for about 5 – 6 minutes. Watch them, if you roll them out fairly thin like I did then they will bake quickly and go from light golden to over-baked very quickly. Set them aside and let them cool before spreading your favourite jam in-between and placing them together. I used a tart cherry jam I had hidden away though you can always also use a lemon curd if you like. Sprinkle with a little icing sugar before serving.
If you’re going to store these that can be done easily in a cold room for a few days or freezer for longer, especially if you make these in bulk like I did. Make sure to separate the layers between wax paper so they don’t stick together. However if they do because you didn’t think ahead then you will have to eat these… they won’t look as pretty and we wouldn’t want to serve cookies that don’t look pretty!