Recipes

Linzer Piggy Cookies

Bacon makes this Christmas classic even better
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To learn more, read "TT on GMA: Cookie Edition."

Linzer Piggy Cookies

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: 3 dozen, 1⅔ cups jam

Prep Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes, plus simmering and chilling time

Ingredients

Bacon Jam

1 pound bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces

1 large Vidalia onion, finely chopped

Kosher salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup strong coffee

½ cup water

⅓ cup cider vinegar

¼ cup packed dark brown sugar

¼ cup real maple syrup

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 bay leaf

Freshly ground black pepper

Linzer Cookies

1 cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted and skins rubbed off with a towel while hot

2 cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon fine salt

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon packed grated orange zest

1 tablespoon packed grated lemon zest

½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

¼ cup sugar

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

¾ cup bacon jam (recipe above)

Directions

1. Make the jam: In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the skillet.

2. Add the onion to skillet and sauté, stirring the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to pull up the brown bits, until translucent, about 7 minutes. Four minutes into the cooking of the onions, season with salt and add the garlic. Add the coffee, water, coder vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, and bacon and cook, stirring to loosen any brown bits on the bottom of the skillet. Simmer over low heat until the liquid almost completely evaporates and becomes syrupy, about 1½ to 2 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf.

3. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Store in a sealed container for up to 1 month.

4. Prepare the Linzer cookies: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Set the oven racks to divide the oven in thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. In a food processor, chop the nuts until finely ground. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt and pulse until combined.

6. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, and citrus zests.

7. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg mixture and beat for about 1 minutes more. Add the flour mixture in two additions and mix on low speed until just combined.

8. Divide the dough into two balls and flatten slightly. (It will crumble. Push the pieces back into the dough ball.) Cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until hard, about 1 hour.

9. Roll each dough round between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/8-inch thick. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate until hard, about 30 minutes.

10. Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap. Using a 2-inch round cutter, stamp out as many rounds as possible. Use a ¾-inch round cutter to stamp out the center of half of the rounds. Reserve scraps to chill and reroll later. Space cookies 1 inch apart and bake, rotating cookies top to bottom and front to back, until light golden brown, 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

11. To assemble, dust confectioners' sugar over the cookies with the cut-out centers. If the bacon jam is cold, warm it briefly in the microwave. Flip the remaining cookies upside down and spread a very thin layer of bacon jam on each. Place a confectioners' sugar-dusted cookie on top of a bacon-covered cookie to make a linzer cookie sandwich.

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