Friday, 13 December 2013

Eggless Whole Wheat Linzer Cookies

So, it's almost Christmas. You want to bake. You want something that melts in your mouth, without the unnecessary calories and fats. I hear ya. Loud and clear. So loud, that this will forever be the recipe I go to, to make Christmas cookies.

I've devoured many Linzer cookies in my day. Gorgeous festive little treats with jam filling, bursting out of that little hole in the middle, snowed under a generous shower of icing sugar. The most beautiful cookies, in my opinion. How faced would you be if I told you these cookies could be made eggless and whole wheat? Oh yeah. Take a looksie -

My co-workers loved these delicate little cookies! At first, they took me a while to make, but once I got the hang of it, it was relatively easy to whip up the dough and press the cookies into the oven. They'll be a sure fire hit at any pot luck!

We enjoyed these cookies with milk on a Friday night, singing along to a tune that is really close to my heart - Kandukondain Kandukondain from the movie of the same name. My friend Yokesh and I love singing this song. In fact, we'll take every opportunity to relish this beautiful tune in the raga, Nalinakanthi. 
Composed by Rahman, lyrics by Vairamuthu, sung by Hariharan and Mahalaxmi Iyer:

"Kandukondaen Kandukondaen, Kaadhal Mugam Kandukondaen
Viral Thodum Dhooraththilae, Vennilavu Kandukondaen
Vennilaa Velichcham Kinnaththil Vizhundhu Niraindhaal Vazhindhaal Magizhchchi
Vennilaa Velichcham Kinnaththai Udaiththaal Uyirai Udaippaal Oruththi
En Kan Paarththadhu En Kai Saerumoa, Kai Saeraamalae Kanneer Saerumoa
Kandukondaen Kandukondaen Kaadhal Mugam Kandukondaen

Malarmanjam Vizhi Kenjum Manam Anjumallavaa
Uyir Minjum Ival Nenjam Un Thanjamallavaa
Un Thanimaik Kadhavin Thaal Neekkavaa
Kandukondaen Kandukondaen Kaadhal Mugam Kandukondaen"

Now to relish on these drops of heaven...

100 grams unsalted butter
100 grams wheat flour
30 grams cornflour
60 grams icing sugar (plus more for dusting on top of cookies)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon milk

2 cups jam of your choice
50 grams butter

Allow the butter to soften to room temperature. Do not melt it in the microwave. Beat it with an electric beater or stand mixer till it is creamy and soft. Add sugar and vanilla essence and beat again for 2 - 3 minutes till it is well combined and aerated. Finally add milk and mix through.
Sift wheat flour and corn flour 3 times together. It will now be a well incorporated and aerated dry mixture. This is very important.

Add this to the butter sugar paste in three portions, and use a spatula to combine it gently. Then use the electric beater/stand mixer and combine into a thick dough. It should not be runny at all. Knead the dough a little. Don't overwork it.
Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius.

Take a small portion of the dough and roll it into a ball. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a 2mm thin sheet so you can cut out the cookies evenly. Use any plastic sheets you may have (sandwich/zip lock bags) to help you roll out small portions of the dough like so:

Use either small star shaped cutters or anything small with a round hole at the bottom (pen caps, frosting tips, hand cream lotion lids, perfume lids etc) to cut out the middle part of each cookie.

Place the baking tray into the oven on a low level. If you place it too high up near the coils, your cookies will brown and burn quickly.

Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until the cookies have a golden brown on the sides.

Dust icing sugar on your cookies, and you can either fill them with just jam or butter cream. A few people told me that the jam was a bit too sweet, so one of my managers, Andrew Gifford, suggested that I put in buttercream instead! What a fantastic idea that was - they were lighter and the cookie taste was more vibrant as the jam didn't take over.

For the buttercream, simply beat the 50grams of butter till it is soft and fluffy, then add in the jam in small increments and beat it together till you get the perfect colour and taste to your liking. Done! Fill this in the cookies and they look spectacular!