| a holiday recipe |

A simple holiday cookie that's a little bit of a cross between alfajores and traditional jam Linzers, these have a hint of rosemary for a slight savory undertone, and a smooth, warm caramel filling instead of a fruit jam. They ship and freeze well, two things I love in any holiday cookie, and they're fun to make! Here's how to do it.

for the dough

1 cup hazelnut meal (or nut meal of your choice) 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 1 cup (2 sticks) butter 1/4 cup dark or light brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 large egg 1/2 tsp finely chopped rosemary

to make

1. Whisk together the hazelnut flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. 2. Combine butter and sugars in a large bowl and beat vigorously until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and chopped rosemary, then beat again until well-blended, another 30 seconds. Finally, fold in the flour mixture until just incorporated. 3. Divide dough into two or three balls, pat them into discs, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

to bake

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Roll out a disc of dough to about 1/8- or 1/4-inch thick, depending on your preference. I found this to be easiest on a well-floured surface. 2. Cut out cookie rounds using a 2-inch cookie cutter of your choice. For half the rounds, use a smaller cookie cutter (around 3/4 inch) to cut patterned holes for the cookie "lids." If the dough becomes too soft as you’re using it, just pop it into the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up again. 3. Place the "lids" on one baking sheet and the whole cookies on another, since the lids may bake faster. Bake both sheets of cookies until golden at the edges, about 10 minutes for the bottoms and 8-9 for the lids. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Repeat with remaining dough; re-chill and re-roll cookie scraps as many times as needed.


if desired, sift powdered sugar over the cookies once cooled.


for the caramel

2/3 cup granulated sugar 6 tbsp water 1 tbsp unsalted butter 6 tbsp creme fraiche or heavy cream 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

to make

1. Prepare a bowl of ice water and set it aside within easy reach. 2. Combine sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir just until sugar dissolves, then let simmer, without stirring, until the mixture just turns golden. 3. Remove immediately from heat and add butter (be careful, as it may sputter). Swirl until the butter is dissolved, then add the creme fraiche or heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt. 4. Return to heat, reduce heat to low and stir until the heavy cream is fully dissolved. Drop a small spoonful of the caramel into the ice water and touch it -- if you can form it into a pliable ball, it's done.

to assemble

1. Working quickly, while the caramel is still soft, drop about a teaspoon of caramel onto each of the bottoms of the cookies, then place a lid on top and press gently to seal. Sprinkle a bit of flaky salt over top if you like. Cookies will keep for a week in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.


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