Top Pick Of The Week

November 18, 2008

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Linzer Cookie

It’s a Linzertorte—no, it’s a jumbo cookie that looks like a cake, a 12" circle cut into 12 triangular cookies. Impressive to serve, it tastes just heavenly. We can believe we ate the whole thing!

WHAT IT IS: A 12" diameter jumbo linzer cookie, cut into 12 portions.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: It looks like an elegant cake, but is pre-cut for easy serving.
WHY WE LOVE IT: It’s gorgeous, impressive and irresistibly delicious.
WHERE TO BUY IT: Phone 1.212.989.4970. Outside business hours, leave a message and and your call will be returned.

Let Them Eat Cake:
Linzer “Celebration Cookie”

CAPSULE REPORT: Some cities achieve fame through beauty (Paris), power (New York) or the ability to entertain (Las Vegas). The city of Linz, Austria is like Bialystock, Russia, home of the bialy (cousin to the bagel), Frankfurt, Germany, home of the slender sausage that achieved immortality when served on a roll,* and Pils, Czechoslovakia, which brewed a great style of beer (pilsner) to drink with it. Say the city’s name and what’s the first word association? The food named after it.

*At Coney Island, New York City, in 1871. See the History Of The Hot Dog.

Linz gave us the Linzertorte (Linzer Torte is the English spelling), and gets additional honors, too: The Linzertorte is the oldest-known torte† recipe in the world. The earliest-found written version dates to a manuscript from 1653. This doesn’t mean that the torte did not exist prior to then, just that it is the first proof as to the approximate date and place of its origin. As with any item, it is likely to have developed some time prior to its first-known written record.

†As opposed to a cake, a torte replaces all or most of the flour in a typical recipe with ground nuts. Almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts are most often used.

Over time, the exceedingly popular Linzertorte, an almond or hazelnut short crust filled with jam, was made into tartlets and cookies. And now, we can celebrate because Let Them Eat Cake, an artisan baker in New York City, has created a spectacular dessert or gift that’s delicious year-round, but perfect for the holidays. It looks like a beautiful, round cake, but has been pre-cut into 12 slices. The raspberry jam gleams through the heart-shaped cutouts, and the surface glistens with crystalline sanding sugar. For the dining table, buffet, workplace or picnic, the cookie can be eaten with a fork or with the fingers. Available in raspberry, apricot or chocolate filling, only a grinch would overlook this opportunity to celebrate. Read the full review below.

THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.


Bake Your Own

All American Cookie Book Big Fat Cookies Great Cookies
The All-American Cookie Book, by Nancy Baggett. Every American cookie you can think of is here—more than 150 of them—from luscious Black Bottom Mini Brownie Cups and chewy Chocolate Thumbprint Crackles to Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies and crisp, spicy Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Cookies. A must for the cookbook collection. Click here to purchase.
Big Fat Cookies, by Elinor Klivans. More fun than baking cookies is making big fat cookies. Anyone can whip up a quick batch of 50 different gigantic crispy, chewy or fancy-pants sandwich cookies. All recipes are wonderfully clear and appropriate for bakers of all skill levels. But, you’ll want to make every single one of them. Click here to purchase.
Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets, by Carole Walter. With more than 200 delectable recipes and more than 150 tantalizing photographs, and tips covering every baking method, including foolproof techniques to ensure that your cookies look as good as the eat-me-off-the-page examples in the book. Click here to purchase.

Let Them Eat Cake: Linzer “Celebration Cookie


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Introduction: History Of The Linzertorte

As with many foods—including those as recent as the brownie, which first appeared in the first decade of the 20th century (see the History Of The Brownie), the “inventor” of the Linzer Torte (in German, Linzertorte) recipe is not known; nor do we know who named the torte after its presumed city of birth in 1696. But, perhaps 400 years ago, someone mixed ground almonds, sugar, butter, flour, egg yolks, lemon zest and juice, and cinnamon into an almond short-crust pastry.

In this case, the torte is more of a pie than a cake: crust is filled with black currant jam and topped with a lattice made of dough strips. The pastry is brushed with lightly beaten egg whites prior to baking. (Currants are plentiful in Austria but not in the U.S., which is why raspberry jam is most often used.) Fancier versions, such as the one on the photo at right, add sliced almonds as an embellishment.


Not your grandmother’s simple lattice-strip top, this most elegant interpretation of the Linzertorte was crafted by a baker in Linz, Austria. Photo courtesy of Linz Tourism.

The torte’s worldwide fame began in 1822, when a Bavarian baker, Johann Konrad Vogel, immigrated to Linz and started the mass production and the worldwide delivery of Linzertortes.

Later, this popular recipe was worked into a sandwich cookie, sometimes replacing the almonds with hazelnuts or walnuts, and dusting the tops with confectioners sugar. Of special delight, there is a cutout in the top cookie so the vibrant red preserves are visible. Originally round, the cutouts were known as Linzer Eyes (Linzer Augen); but heart-shaped cutouts have become popular and even more charming.

Continue To Page 2: Linzer Cookie Details

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