Pecan Linzer Cookies with Cherry Filling

Martha Stewart Living 2007

Cover recipe- Martha Stewart Living, Pecan Linzer Cookies with Cherry Filling: February 2007

Just about everyone I know has at least one story of a flopped Valentine’s Day gift.

Maybe one year your sweetie went all out and got you something that glitters and sparkles, and you went with a teddy bear. Or maybe you went out to dinner and ran into an old flame who you’d prefer not to have run into with your current one. Or maybe you had breakfast in bed and both ended up with food poisoning. (Hey, it happens.)

Despite all the things that can go wrong, one thing that is guaranteed to be successful on Valentine’s Day is a heart. Any kind of heart; be it edible, stuffed, or made of gold. Because I’m a cook at heart, and because the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I decided to go with edible.

The February 2007 cover of Martha Stewart Living magazine boasts some gorgeous heart cookies: Pecan Linzer Cookies with Cherry Filling. They’re red and white and with their pretty heart cut-out centers, they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day. Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.

Pecan Linzer Cookies with Cherry Filling

Print Print Recipe

Pecan Linzer Cookies with Cherry Filling

Yield: About 1 1/2 to 2 dozen sandwich cookies

Prep Time: 45 min

Cook Time: 17 min

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup pecan halves, toasted
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup cherry jam, strained

Directions:

1. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl; set aside. Pulse pecans, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor until finely ground (but not wet); transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

2. Add butter and granulated sugar; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in vanilla and egg. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until combined. Halve dough; shape into disks. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thick. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Cut out squares with a 2-inch fluted cutter. Cut out centers of half the squares with a 1/2-inch heart cutter; reroll scraps. Space 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake squares and hearts until pale golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool.

4. Meanwhile, heat jam in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced and thickened, about 7 minutes; let cool.

5. Sprinkle cutout cookies with confectioners’ sugar. Spread jam onto uncut squares; top with cutout ones. Store in an airtight container up to 2 days.

Tips:

• If your dough seems a bit too crumbly and you’re having trouble getting it to come together after you’ve added the flour, you can drizzle in a little cold water very, very slowly until the dough comes together (like making pie crust).
• You can play with the nut and jam combination in this recipe; I think walnuts and strawberry jam would be another great combo.
• Instead of making my cookies squares with a heart cut-out in the center, I made them heart-shaped with a heart cut-out in the center; you can use whatever is convenient for you.

The results:

The good news is that these cookies are absolutely gorgeous to look at. The bad news is unfortunately twofold: 1) they take a bit more effort than the average cookie to make because the dough is a bit crumbly and can be tricky to roll out; and 2) they are a bit bland. Of course the jam and powdered sugar on top help with them being bland, but the cookies themselves could use a little punch of added flavor. I think next time I’ll add a bit more salt because 1/8 teaspoon salt for the whole recipe wasn’t quite enough to pull out the other flavors going on in these cookies.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

I think they did in the sense that during February people think of Valentine’s Day (there really isn’t much else going on in February!), and heart shaped foods are a huge hit for Valentine’s. Because they look so special, these cookies would be perfect at a school party or at an office party; you could even customize them by writing the recipient’s name on each cookie.

Faith Gorsky is the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind the blog Edible Mosaic , and she is the cookbook author of An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair (Tuttle Publishing; November 2012). She was born, raised, and spent most of her life in Upstate New York, and she currently lives in Kuwait. When it comes to cooking, her favorite thing to do is go into the kitchen hungry, open the fridge, and start creating. She loves to travel, especially to places steeped in rich culture and history. She also enjoys reading (cookbooks mostly), vintage shopping (especially in old markets), watching movies (of all genres), and is enamored with ancient cultures (especially Rome and Egypt).

27 Responses to “Simple Layer Cake with Vanilla Frosting”

  1. 1

    Averie @ Averie Cooks — May 20, 2013 @ 5:10 am

    Thanks for the review! It puzzles me too about the cake mix when cakes like this are practically as easy!

    I just got a cookbook about cooking with edible flowers. I have been loving reading/learning about a whole new world to me. Who knew you could bake with dandelions. I sure didn’t!

  2. 2

    Kelster — May 20, 2013 @ 7:31 am

    Your perfect wedding cake cupcakes are made with cake mix so they aren’t all soooo bad. But anyway, I bake from scratch a lot but I can understand why some will reach for a cake mix. A lot of my friends don’t bake often and so they don’t keep certain ingredients on hand. They have no use for baking powder so they don’t buy it. It’s easier to just grab a box of cake mix whenever they feel the need to bake a cake instead of getting a can of baking powder just for 2 teaspoons and not being able to use it all before it’s no longer active. I have other friends who rarely have flour on hand. It seems like it would be a staple but for some it’s not.

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 20th, 2013 @ 7:53 am

      That is such a good point… it’s so commonplace for me to have all baking ingredients at hand, but totally understandable for those who don’t bake! And you’re right- those Wedding Cupcakes are pretty darn good for a boxed mix.

  3. 3

    Laurie @ A Wiener Dog in the Kitchen — May 20, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

    I totally agree, Lori. It’s just as easy to make it from scratch and only usually takes a couple of extra steps, but the results are so much better. Your cake is gorgeous and not having had lunch yet, is making me totally hungry… I could put away a slice right now.

  4. 4

    sara — May 20, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

    This cake looks so amazing! Love the edible dandelions…I haven’t seen those before but they’re really pretty! :)

  5. 5

    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — May 20, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

    What a great basic cake to feature here at Culinary Covers! Interesting about the frosting. Warm kitchens can sometimes be the culprit with butter that is a bit soft. Your tip of starting with just 3 tablespoons of liquid (milk) is spot on for the home baker. Thanks for sharing, Lori!

  6. 6

    Kim L. — May 20, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

    I am having friends over for dinner on Thursday and wast trying to come up with a desert. Problem solved!

    Oh, and about the box mixes… Growing up my mom made everything from scratch except for cakes. She always used a box. When I got married and was on my own, I used box cakes for a long time too because I assumed that they were really hard to make. Glad I learned the truth!

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 20th, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

      My Mom always made spice cake from a box. I loved it then and I still love boxed spice cake now too :)

  7. 7

    Jill P. (@MamaGing.com) — May 20, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

    This sounds perfect! I’ve been in search for a good, simple (not just using egg whites) vanilla cake recipe. I can not handle boxed mixes – they have such a chemical, mass produced taste to them, as well as canned frosting. When I see a delicious recipe on Pinterest and and soon as I see that first ingredient says a boxed mix, I immediately back out. My mother made most everything from scratch and I try to too. My new years resolution is no canned cream of whatever soups… make my own! Thanks for sharing this one, this I WILL pin! ;)

  8. 8

    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — May 20, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

    The cake came out gorgeous, Lori! I love your thoughts on the cake. Definitely will be trying it! And edible dandelions? Who knew? Pinning!

  9. 9

    Katrina — May 20, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

    Beautiful! And I agree–why do people used boxed cake mixes. sigh

  10. 10

    Faith — May 21, 2013 @ 7:34 am

    This cake is such a beauty – I love Martha Stewart Living for the same reasons you mentioned above. I’m glad this cake was a winner flavor-wise too!

  11. 11

    Deborah Harroun — May 21, 2013 @ 8:31 am

    This is so pretty! I’m on the search for the perfect yellow cake so I definitely need to give this one a try!

  12. 12

    Tieghan — May 21, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

    Sp pretty!! I am not normally a yellow cake person, but this one just looks so good! I need to venture away from chocolate and make it!

  13. 13

    Renee @ Awesome on $20 — May 21, 2013 @ 11:50 pm

    I love a quick simple cake. This one looks beautiful. I’d love to give it a try. I also love decorating cakes with flowers. It just looks so simple and beautiful.

  14. 14

    Donalyn@The Creekside Cook — May 23, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

    I definitely hang out with food bloggers too much – the idea of using a mix always shocks me just a tiny bit. This cake looks wonderful and I love a nice vanilla cake, so I’ll be giving it a try – thanks for the review!

  15. 15

    Clover — May 23, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

    That cake looks perfect. I will definitely be setting aside this recipe for a special occasion. Thanks for the review.

  16. 16

    Donna @ The Slow Roasted Italian — May 24, 2013 @ 10:25 am

    What a lovely cake. I am tucking this one away. I have found such awful recipes for yellow cake and would love to try this one.

  17. 17

    Darla — May 24, 2013 @ 10:55 am

    Just baked this cake this morning! I didn’t want to do layers so I did a 9×13 cake pan. It worked beautifully and the cake had such a smooth level top, my cakes don’t usually come out that nice. It has a very nice light tender crumb to it, reminiscent of a cake mix, but it tastes soooooo much better! Made a half a batch of frosting as well and since I like my frosting with a light touch, we still have enough leftover for a pan of cinnamon rolls! :) Thanks for sharing this recipe, Lori…will definitely make it again!

  18. 18

    Suzanne — May 24, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

    I made this as cupcakes & it was really good!

  19. 19

    chris — May 28, 2013 @ 10:36 am

    Hi Lori, I am looking forward to making this cake, however, it states-“Yield: One 8-inch layer cake; but the
    instructions state-“Butter two 8-inch round cake pans.” Could you let me know which to use?
    I just bought your cookbook and can’t wait to make some of those delicious recipes!!
    Thanks.

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 28th, 2013 @ 11:41 am

      Hi Chris- One 8-inch layer cake means that you will butter two 8-inch round cake pans (the layer cake uses two round pans). Does that make sense? I hope you enjoy my cookbook!

  20. 20

    Teana — February 24, 2014 @ 3:59 pm

    im 13 yrs old and did this cake yesterday b/c i want to become a baker i wish i could see Lori so she can help me work on cakes for in the future thanks lori for putting this up !

    • Lori Lange replied: — February 25th, 2014 @ 6:59 pm

      You’re welcome!

  21. 21

    Mary — February 25, 2014 @ 2:05 am

    This is my first cake from scratch and it was a great success. The texture, moistness and density was perfect. It was truly simple to make. The batter tasted great too. It will be our ‘go to’ vanilla cake recipe from now on.

    • Lori Lange replied: — February 25th, 2014 @ 6:59 pm

      Glad to hear it worked out so well for you!

  22. 22

    Mary — February 25, 2014 @ 2:09 am

    One more comment. For the middle I spread a thin layer of strawberry (or raspberry) jam and then put icing on. It gives it a little ‘other’ flavor which complements the vanilla nicely.

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