I worried about this cookie at several points during its creation. It was liked a troubled child who manages to pull it all together at some point and ends up a fine, upstanding adult (I can relate). My first issue was that you are supposed to bake the two “cookies” that form this sandwich in two 12″ pizza pans. Do you know anyone with two, 12″ pizza pans? I don’t. I have one (that I never use) so I bought another one at the grocery store just for this purpose.
Then I had some moments of doubt when I attempted to press the dough into the two pans. This is a very rich dough; a little bit sugar-cookie, a little bit shortbread, so pressing it into the pan was challenging. I couldn’t use my rolling pin because of the rim of the pizza pan so I tried using a small glass on its side. That worked pretty well but dough kept sticking to it. I also realized that the warmer the dough got the harder it was to get it to do anything. So I stuck the second pan into the fridge for a few minutes which helped a lot. I knew there was a better way to do this and I kept thinking about it after I went to bed (talk about sweet dreams). What I concluded is 1. The only reason the recipe calls for a pizza pan is that most cookie sheets are not 12″ in either width or length. So if you DO have something that big, just use that. 2. I would chill the dough, even briefly, next time. 3. I might then roll it out onto a sheet of parchment, slide the parchment onto the baking sheet and then bake.
It also baked unevenly, despite switching the position of the pans during the cooking. I attribute this both to the inferior quality of the pizza pans (my regular cookie sheets are much thicker and I never have this problem with them), as well as the uneveness of the dough. My third crises of faith came as I tried to remove one of the halves from the pan –not the pan I bought today but my older pan, which may have lost much of it nonstickedness over the years. Some pretty good sized chunks broke off the edges but once I got the offset spatula under it the rest came out fine. Conveniently, this was the bottom cookie. But none of this mattered in the end. Nobody sees any part of the bottom cookie so there’s a lot of forgiveness there.
Everything else went smoothly and my family (husband, daughter, mom and Rudy) absolutely RAVED about this dessert. I was surprised by how much they liked it, I guess because it’s so simple. It’s really just two giant cookied with some jam in the middle but it’s more than the sum of its parts.
Don’t worry if the edges of your cookie are a bit ragged, or if one half ends up larger than the other. I used a serrated knife to trim off all the uneveness after it was assembled. Yes, I have issues with things being neat. Hey, I could be a pyromaniac, right? So in the Big Book of Deviant Behavior I don’t think liking a tidy edge to my pastries is the worst neurosis I could have. And look how pro it looks!
Another cute presentation of this might be to wedge a slice of it sideways into a scoop of ice cream.
Giant Linzer Cookie
Adapted from Perfect One-Dish Dinners, by Pam Anderson
1 large egg, plus 1 yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at a cool room temperature
1 cup sugar
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix egg, yolk, vanilla, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffly. Add egg mixture and mix on low speed until blended. Add flour and mix on low speed until dough forms, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.[At this point Pam tells you to remove 1/2 cup of the dough and use if for another purpose which I find unnecessary].
Halve dough and flatten into discs. Chill for 10-15 minutes. Press or roll each half into a 12″ nonstick pizza pan, or roll onto a 12″ circle on parchment paper and transfer to a baking pan. Cut a 2-1/2″ hole from the center of one of the rounds. Bake until golden brown, rotating the pans and switching racks about halfway through, about 23-25 minutes total. Let cookies stand in pans until firm but still slightly pliable, about 2 minutes. Using an offset spatula, carefully loosen and lift cookies from pans to wire racks to cool to room temperature.
Up to a couple of hours before serving, microwave jam on high power until partially melted, about 30 seconds. Spread over cookie with no hole, place second cookie on top, and dust with confectioner’s sugar. Slice and serve.