Although they may look like Spitzbuben to you…
Despite all indications to the contrary, Dorie Greenspan’s cookie recipes are not all that Andrew bakes. But as we recently pointed out, as you’re going through “Dorie’s Cookies”(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2016) and you’ve only gotten to page 242 of its 517, there’s a lot of material to cover. In this case, it’s a miniature riff on a Linzer torte. The jam sandwich of cookies is from Austria and named after the town of Linz. From over the border in Southern Germany comes the Spitzbuben. This cookie too is jam-filled but what separates them from their Austrian cousins is that they’re made from walnuts and just a pinch of cinnamon. What shines through in the pastry is butter, sugar, and nuts. The dough is baked first—half forming perfect little disks. The other half are given cut-outs. The sandwich is made later and that’s when the jam comes in.
It’s Jam-Making Season. So if you don’t make jam yourself, trade some Little Rascals for jam from someone who does.
In our case, that means going to Michael Grim. God knows how he has time. Somehow The Bridgehampton Florist, which he and his husband Jim Osburn own, thrives and he finds time to put up jam. This is between creating an Instagram feed with 27,000 followers (https://www.instagram.com/thebridgehamptonflorist/) and serving a demanding clientele of Bold-Faced names. Michael’s jams are almost as famous as their flowers. And oh, what jam. This year’s local strawberries were particularly good. Even better are our peaches. Michael put up both. Andrew decided to go all out and make peach the star in his Little Rascals. You can choose any jam you wish—raspberry, strawberry, cherry, or apricot or peach. Just pick a jam that is thick. You can also help it thicken by heating it in the microwave, cooling it down, and then spooning it onto the cookies. It will thicken and be less sticky if you do.
After making the dought, three stages yield a perfect Little Rascal.
You can make your Little Rascals in any shape you want to.
Little Rascals have quite the cult following. And fans make them in all kinds of shapes. Hearts anyone? Heart-shaped smiley faces? This is a cookie that lets you get creative with cookie cutters as you can see here. And after them, the recipe itself.
Little Rascals (Spitzbuben) from Dorie's Cookies
A delightful walnut butter cookie is sandwiched with luscious jam.
- 2⁄3 cup (134 grams) granulated sugar
- 2⁄3 cup (80 grams) walnuts (whole or pieces)
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 ¼ cups (170 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Thick jam, such as raspberry, strawberry, cherry, apricot or peach
- Step 1 Put the sugar, walnuts, salt, cinnamon, and zest into a food processor and pulse just until the nuts are ground. Add the flour and process to incorporate. Scatter the butter over all and pulse until the mixture forms crumbs and resembles streusel. Add the egg a little at a time, pulsing as you go. Then pulse a few more times until you have a soft dough. Scrape the dough out onto a work surface, divide it into halves, and shape each into a disk.
- Step 2 Working with one disk at a time, roll it to ¼ inch thickness between sheets of parchment. Slide the dough, still sandwiched in the paper, onto a baking sheet (you can stack the slabs) and freeze for at least 1 hour, although longer is better. This dough remains soft even when frozen, so it’s best to get it as cold as you can before cutting it.
- Step 3 Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Have two cookie cutters at the ready: one 1½ inches in diameter (plain or scalloped) and the other a little less than 1 inch in diameter (plain, scalloped, or a bit fancy, like a star shape).
- Step 4 Take a slab of dough from the freezer and peel away the parchment. Working quickly, cut out as many 1½-inch rounds as you can, spacing them on the baking sheet 2 inches apart. Use the smaller cutter to remove the centers of half the cookies. If the dough breaks while you’re cutting out the centers, patch it
- Step 5 if the dough is really soft and you’re not having fun cutting it, slide the baking sheet into the freezer and give it a 10-minute chill. (Be sure to reserve the scraps, which you can combine with scraps from the second piece of dough, and shape into a disk, roll, freeze, cut, and bake.)
- Step 6 Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, rotating the sheet after 10 minutes or until the cookies are a pale golden brown. Transfer the sheet to a rack and allow to cool completely.
- Step 7 Repeat the process with the remaining dough, always be sure to use a cool baking sheet.
- Step 8 To finish the cookies, dust the cutout ones with confectioners’ sugar. Turn the whole cookies over, bottoms up, and place about ½ teaspoon jam in the center of each. Top with the cutout cookies, pressing down lightly to push the jam toward the edges.