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Today I’d like to share a love story with you.

During the darkest days of World War II, a young and beautiful woman from Vienna took refuge in the mountains of Western Austria, and found work in a small radio station.  There she met the love of her life, a young and dashing American military officer, who had parachuted into France during D-Day, and made his way to her corner of the world.  He was on a secret mission to use the radio station to turn out anti-Nazi, pro-Allied programming.  During their time together at the station, the two had a whirlwind courtship, but soon the war was over and his orders took him back to the States.   Although there was no U.S. mail service to Austria and they were unable to communicate for almost three years, their love endured.  In 1948, they were reunited and were married at her husband’s home in Connecticut.  It reads like a screenplay, doesn’t it?

During 66 years of marriage, they served in diplomatic roles in Berlin (where their children were born), Athens, Moscow, Rome, Paris… and, yes, Vienna.  I can only imagine the adventures they must have had.  Someone could write a book, I’m sure…

I met this couple for the first time when they were well into their 80s…charming members of our nation’s greatest generation, who clearly still adored each other.  I particularly enjoyed chatting with her at receptions, where she could often be found nearest the dessert table, glass of champagne in hand, sampling the offerings and chatting animatedly with the other guests.

This week we said good-bye to this charming, vibrant lady.  As the notes to the Viennese Waltz filled the church on Tuesday, my mind wandered all over the place (as it often does) — from her full life, to the heartbroken husband she left behind…and to her love of sweet things.   With these thoughts swirling, I came home and made linzer cookies – a tiny gesture to honor her adventures.  Somehow, it just seemed like the right thing to do.

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My version included walnuts, a touch of nutmeg, and a splash of rum.  I also decided cherry jam seemed appropriately Austrian.  They were absolutely perfect…

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I enjoyed my cookies with a cup of strong coffee (not quite Viennese, but it would have to do), and contemplated a romance that lasted 66 years.

On Valentines weekend, I thought to myself: “We should all be so blessed.”

Cherry Walnut Linzer Cookies
 
Serves: About 36 cookies
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup confectioners sugar
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon rum
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 12-ounce jar cherry jam
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, process the walnuts and ¼ cup of the brown sugar until the walnuts are finely ground. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, the remaining ¼ cup brown sugar and ¼ cup confectioners sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and the rum. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the walnut mixture, then the flour mixture, mixing until just combined (be sure not to overmix).
  4. Divide the dough in half, shape into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
  5. Heat oven to 350° F. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to a ⅛-inch thickness. Using a 2- to 2 ½-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out the dough and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Using a ¾- to 1-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out the centers from half of the cookies. Reroll and cut the scraps as necessary.
  6. Bake until the edges of the cookies are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  7. Move all the cookies with the holes to one wire rack, and dust with confectioners’ sugar.. Spread 1 teaspoon jam on the remaining cookies and top with the sugared cookies. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Adapted from Raspberry-Almond Linzer Cookies in Real Simple Magazine

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16 Responses to "Cherry-Walnut Linzer Cookies"
  1. Hilda says:

    What a beautiful story and definitely one worth telling. Thanks for sharing it with us. I think your cookies are a beautiful tribute to this couple and I think she would have felt honoured.

  2. What a beautiful story and a lovely homage to a life well lived. These are my favorite cookies. Perfection.

  3. wow what a beautiful story!
    The cookies look gorgeous, definitely a fitting tribute

  4. sue obryan says:

    Such a heartwarming story, what a lovely couple and really lifts the spirit to read about their marriage. Life is so enriched by meeting and being around folks such as this. I have my own Viennese lady story, a woman who is so dear to me (she passed away about 10 years ago) so thanks for reminding me to post about her. Now, MB, you have been a busy poster this week! Thank you for bringing the cake, the smoothie and these beautiful cookies. You are a doll and we are so happy to have you at the party on Fridays!!!

  5. suzanne says:

    I love the story and cookies, thank you so much for sharing both with us.

  6. Arl's World says:

    A wonderful story and your cookies look so pretty and sound so delicious.

  7. Sinziana says:

    This is a lovely post! I love lintzer…and your cookies are awsome!

  8. What a lovely story. And these cookies are just heavenly. Gorgeous photographs.

  9. These sound delicious! My bff loves cherry things so I’ll have to book mark these for her next visit!

  10. What a lovely story and such lovely Linzers too. Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!!

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