Anyone who’s attended a family holiday party with me knows that my go-to contribution is a platter of chocolate chip cookies—the bigger the better.
2020 may be the biggest collective let-down in recent history, but it couldn’t stop me from baking nearly 100 cookies leading up to Christmas. But this time, I added in a little something you won’t often find on a St. John dessert table: fruit.
My family always insists on bringing desserts to people’s houses just in case our hosts’ idea of dessert is something other than sugar and chocolate (don’t ever talk to me about after-dinner cheese platters). So while I wanted to learn what other people see in fruity Christmas cookies, I also knew that these needed to be heavily supplemented with other, more chocolatey cookies. It is the St. John way.
Aside from the usual chocolate overload, my new Christmas cookie contribution this year was linzer cookies—almond flour sandwich cookies with jam in between. And in case adding almond flour and fruit to my dessert weren’t enough (you won’t catch me dead with a Hershey’s almond bar!), I also made a cranberry jam to try for the filling, full recipe courtesy of Moments of Sugar.
My initial takeaway was that these required a lot of effort. I’m not opposed to putting in effort for cookies, but it can’t be ignored. These aren’t something you just “whip up.” You need to make the dough, chill it, roll it out, cut it, chill it again, bake it, and then assemble with the jam.
Since each sandwich requires two cookies, the final yield isn’t as bountiful as you might expect. But since the serving is two cookies in one, what they lack in quantity, they make up for with heartiness.
The cookies on their own were just OK. I don’t think I rolled them out thin enough, so their thickness highlighted their dryness. The cranberry jam on its own was also a little tart for my taste.
HOWEVER, put together, I understood why these cookies are destined to be sandwiched with jam. The flavors and textures of the cookies and jam complemented each other perfectly to create a delicious, balanced, not-too-sweet treat. The sum was much greater than its parts in this case.
Given the many steps and resulting messy kitchen, I definitely wouldn’t make linzer cookies a part of the regular cookie rotation, but as a special Christmas cookie, they tick every box.
I also filled a few with Smucker’s raspberry jam and loved every bite. So if making the cranberry jam is a step too far, Smucker’s is a perfectly acceptable (and perhaps even preferable) substitution.
What are your other Christmas cookie favorites? I enjoyed exploring beyond my tried-and-true chocolate chip this year and want to add more to my repertoire for next year. Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram @thepickyeaterchronicles. Happy holidays, and happy cookie season!