DORIE GREENSPAN! I’m sorry, I can hardly contain my excitement over this next guest! Dorie Greenspan is one of my baking heroes— she is a baking goddess. Though we have never met (someday!), I feel as if I know her from spending so much time with her cookbooks and website. I even discovered one of my favorite restaurants in Paris thanks to her (Bistro Paul Bert ). Her books are the ones I return to most often when I am trying to figure out a recipe problem or want to feel inspired to bake something new. Baking, From My Home to Yours is the book that I recommend if someone is only going to have one baking book on their shelf or doesn’t know where to start. I mean, there is an entire blog  dedicated to this book and hundreds of home cooks bake her recipes every week.
I can’t say enough about how important she is to me as a baker, which is why I was so very thrilled that she agreed to provide us all with a cookie recipe for the 12 Days of Cookies! It has been so fun collaborating with her on this, she is as kind and generous as you would guess, and I promise you will love her recipe for Linzer Sablés as much as I do.
But before we get to the cookies, let’s learn a little more about Dorie! She has completed the Lottie + Doof Food questionnaire:
LOTTIE+DOOF FOOD QUIZ/Dorie Greenspan
Sweet or salty?
This is a tough opening question, since I love food too much to choose one over the other. I’ve got a taste for both and I really like sweet and salty when they turn up together. I always add salt to the sweet things I bake (take World Peace Cookies, for instance) and I love to add fruit, a touch of honey or a little maple syrup to my savory cooking.
Chocolate or vanilla?
In the old days, I would have said ‘chocolate’ without hesitation, but these days, while I still adore chocolate and probably eat more chocolate than I do any other food group (and I consider chocolate an important food group), I’ve got a new appreciation for the pleasures of vanilla, especially if the vanilla is in Pierre Herme’s Infiniment Vanille – it could make a convert out of any chocloholic.
Hot or mild?
Either, as long as the flavors are balanced.
What won’t you eat?
Andouillette – and boy have I tried and tried and tried.
Most memorable meal?
A spinach-and-egg crepe (called Le Popeye) and a bowl of hard cider upstairs in a small studenty restaurant on the rue Dauphine in Paris. I’d had better food before and much, much better food after that dinner, but this was my first meal in Paris, the city that changed my life, and for that reason it will always be special.
Favorite object in your kitchen?
My 5-quart KitchenAid mixer – no question.
What are you scared of in the kitchen?
Oh, I wouldn’t say I’m scared of my mandoline, but I do say a little prayer every time I start to work with it.
Do you prefer to cook alone or with others?
I love to cook and bake with people – I love the camaraderie, the inspiration that comes from sharing ideas and the fun of sitting down to eat what we’ve made together.
What country would you travel to for the food?
I travel to Paris often for the food, my friends (all of whom are foodlovers) and the beauty of the city, but I’m longing to go back to Vietnam to eat and eat and eat some more.
If you were to come back as a fruit or vegetable, what would you be?
I’ve never thought about this before, but the first thing that came to mind was an apple and I think it might be just right. I love an apple’s look, its polish, its crunch and its versatility. Not bad for a fruit and great for a personality – who wouldn’t want polish and crunch?
What’s for dinner?
‘tis the season, so I’m stuffing a pumpkin with rice and sausage and onions and garlic, chard and cream. A perfect sit-by-the-fire dish.
These Linzer Sablés are remarkably easy to make. The dough is a real pleasure to work with and the final cookie is nutty, spicy, buttery—pretty much everything that you could ask for in a cookie. The addition of raspberry jam really pushes it over the top. I know that some of you avoid cookies that require rolling—but do not avoid these. If you don’t already own all of Dorie’s cookbooks, go get them . She also maintains a lovely blog , where you can follow her adventures in New York and Paris. Many thanks to Dorie for her contribution to the 12 Days of Cookies!
See everyone back here tomorrow with a favorite cookie of mine!
Linzer Sables (Dorie Greenspan)
- 1 1/2 cups finely ground almonds, hazelnuts, or walnuts
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup raspberry jam or strained apricot jam plus 1 teaspoon water
Whisk together the ground nuts, flour, cinnamon, salt, and cloves. Using a fork, stir the egg and water together in a small bowl.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the egg mixture and beat for 1 minute more. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Don’t work the dough too much once the flour is incorporated. If the dough comes together but some dry crumbs remain in the bottom of the bowl, stop the mixer and finish blending the ingredients with a rubber spatula or your hands.
Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, put the dough between two large sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap. Using your hands, flatten the dough into a disk, then grab a rolling pin and roll out the dough, turning it over frequently so that the paper doesn’t cut into it, until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Leave the dough in the paper and repeat with the second piece of dough. Transfer the wrapped dough to a baking sheet or cutting board (to keep it flat) and refrigerate or freeze it until it is very firm, about 2 hours in the refrigerator or 45 minutes in the freezer. The rolled-out dough can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or the freezer for up to 2 months. Just thaw the dough enough to cut and go from there.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Peel off the top sheet of waxed paper from one piece of dough and, using a 2-inch round cookie cutter—a scalloped cutter is nice for these—cut out as many cookies as you can. If you want to have a peekaboo cutout, use the end of a piping tip to cut out a very small circle from the centers of half the cookies. Transfer the rounds to the baking sheets, leaving a little space between the cookies. Set the scraps aside—you can combine them with the scraps of the second disk and roll out and cut more cookies.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 11 to 13 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden, dry, and just firm to the touch. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the second disk of dough, making sure to cool the baking sheets between batches. Gather the scraps of dough together, press them into a disk, roll them between sheets of waxed paper and refrigerate until firm, then cut and bake.
Place the jam in a small saucepan or in a microwaveable bowl and stir in the 1 teaspoon water. Bring to a boil over low heat or in the microwave. Let the jam cool slightly, then turn half of the cookies flat side up and place about 1/2 teaspoon jam in the center of each cookie; sandwich with the remaining cookies.
Just before serving, dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Makes about 25 sandwich cookies.
Previously on the 12 Days of Cookies: