Martha’ Purtty Cookies!- Pecan Linzer Cookies With Cherry Filling!- 127 eggs, 97 cups of sugar, 99 sticks of Butter, and 115 3/4 cups of flour used so far- 100 recipes to go!

October 24, 2010

Martha's Pecan Linzer Cookies with Cherry Filling

André's Pecan Linzer Cookies with Cherry Filling

In Austria, nestled next to the Danube River is the tiny country’s third largest city, Linz. Once home to Johannes Kepler and Adolph Hitler, Linz is now known mostly for its central commerce revolving around steel and chemical production. It also happens to be the birthplace of PEZ candies and the Linzertorte.

The Linzertorte was first documented in an Austrian abbey in 1653 with it first being mass produced by a gentleman named, Johanne Konrad Vogel in the early 19th century. Franz Hozlhuber is credited with bringing this tasty treat to the United States in 1856.

A Linzertorte is a decadent dessert with a delectable crust made from butter, almonds, cinnamon, flour, eggs, and lemon zest. The filling was usually made from currant preserves covered in a latticed crust. Linzer cookies are simply cookie-sized replicas of the traditional Linzertorte.

Martha’s recipe replaces the traditional ground toasted almonds with pecans and the traditional currant preserve filling with cherry jam. Linzer cookies are one of my favorite cookies out there and, truth be told, my partner and I initially purchased Martha’s book because it had this recipe in it. I am often disappointed in bakeries that offer Linzer cookies the size of an infant’s head. To me, these are not what Linzer cookies are about. I think they should be small and crisp little works of art. I usually bake a batch of Linzer cookies for Valentine’s Day because they sport the holiday’s color palate and kitchen supply shops usually have Linzer cookie-cutters with hearts which are perfect for the season. I was in California a few weeks ago visiting my sister and her family and I ran across a set of Halloween Linzer cookie-cutters that featured cut-outs or “Linzer-Eyes” in the shapes of owls, witches’ hats, pumpkins, ghosts, cats, and bats. I snatched the set up immediately.

I baked this batch for my new boss who was celebrating Bosses Day and his Birthday simultaneously- you can draw your own conclusions as to whether I was kissing-up or not. My new boss and co-workers thought they were beautiful and delicious. I did, too.

So there you have it. Linzer Cookies- a yummy and tiny work of art that will impress your friends and make a lot of tummies very happy.

And now, the continuation of my last post. For those of you just joining toomanycookies, you might want to read the last post. I am taking a short hiatus from writing personal stories to dabble with a writing exercise inspired by a co-worker. The basic gist is – I posed a question on my Facebook page and friends answered the question. I am now taking what they said and their name and creating little fictitious word snapshots. It’s been a fun exercise. If it’s not your thing, no worries. I’ll be back in my next post writing more personal stories about some mess I got myself into years ago. Today, however, is for playing.


When I was a kid, I wanted to be a… (part 2)

Each student in little Faye’s kindergarten class  had a tiny cup made of peat and filled with potting soil. The side of Faye’s tiny cup had a tiny note attached. It read, “Faye.” It was hers. No one else’s. In the tiny cup was a tiny bean Faye had smooshed into the moist potting soil. Faye would begin each school-day by running to the sill and peeking down at her tiny cup. Nothing. Faye began to worry that her bean was a dud. The other kids’ tiny cups had sprouted. Not Faye’s. Faye would talk to the tiny bean inside the tiny cup. She’d read it stories during recess and say little prayers before she went to sleep asking God to make her bean grow. One Monday morning Faye looked down at the tiny cup and squealed with joy. A tiny finger of green poked out of the soil. “Hello, little bean.” -Faye waved to the tiny plant.

Little Cecilia watched as the boys in the neighborhood chased a frightened puppy from one side of the street to the other. Some were yelling at the poor pup and others threw rocks and sticks. Cecilia’s eyes filled with tears when she heard the yelps coming from under the bush where the tiny pup was entangled in the branches. The boys gathered with sticks in hand around the bush, poking the poor pup with evil glee. Cecilia had enough. She may be small but she just couldn’t stand by and do nothing. She grabbed the largest stick she could carry and headed over to the boys crowded around the frightened and trapped pooch. Whack! Slash! Thwack! She laid into the biggest boy with the business-end of the stick. The boys dispersed, yelling and running to their homes to tell their moms about the crazy girl on the corner. Reaching into the bush she pulled the shaking and exhausted puppy free from the tangled branches and into her warm and courageous heart.

Little Mark looked around at his little room and dangled his little feet over the side of his little bed. Mark wanted something so many little children want- to be someone else.

Ginny loved yellow. Yellow suns and yellow bananas, Summer squash and lemon-drops. “Yellow is my favorite color.” – she’d tell her family. And when Ginny would fall asleep wrapped in her favorite yellow fleece blanket, she’d dream of driving a big yellow taxi cab down a yellow-brick road towards the Emerald City which she had renamed the Topaz City.

Little Jen ran a small clinic in her backyard where her friends would bring in their pets for a full heath screening by little Jen. Cats, dogs, hamsters, lizards, and guinea pigs were all given a thorough examination by Dr. Jen. She would then produce a small sketch pad and draw what was wrong with her client’s pets. “Worms!”- she would say. And then she would sketch families of worms living inside her friend’s pets. Sometimes the worms were playing games like worm-ping-pong. “You see.” -Dr. Jen would say, “Your hamster is not feeling well because there’s a whole bunch of worms having a ping-pong tournament inside his tummy. You need to feed him more lettuce. Worms can’t play ping-pong with lettuce all over the place.” Her clients would then take her rendering of worm ping-pong and pay her in pretend money made from dried leaves. Dr. Jen would then turn to the group of friends waiting patiently with their pets and call out, “Next!”

Little Pat wasn’t the most popular kid at her school. The other girls would say mean things to her and the boys would play awful tricks on her like putting lizards in her backpack or tying her shoelaces together when she wasn’t paying attention. Pat didn’t like them and thought about how much she wished she could cast spells on them. She’d turn Garret into a frog with terrible warts and she’d give Marcia a terrible case of bad breath. That’d show them. I’d have a cauldron in my basement and a whole bunch of jars with exotic and rare ingredients like bat wings, newt hearts, and cardamom. Let those kids pick on me, she’d think, and then softly cackle a heinous cackle to herself.

Little Thomas would look down from his window on Monday mornings before school, awakened by the sounds of the large rumbling truck that paused only momentarily in front of his home. Two men grabbed the refuse of the week from off the curb and tossed it with a flourish into the back of the massive truck. Slamming their hands against the back of the truck the massive wheeled monster inched forward to devour the neighbor’s garbage. “That’s so cool.”- Little Thomas thought to himself as he watched the two men joke with one another as they sauntered behind the mighty metal beast.

Little Stephanie grabbed a handful of crayons from the box and furiously began to scribble on the pad before her. A few minutes later, satisfied with her creation, she showed it to her Mom. “What is it?”- he mother asked. “That’s my daughter, Melinda!”- Little Stephanie proudly shouted. “But she’s green.” – Her mother said. “Well, she’s MY daughter!”- Stephanie defiantly responded. “I’d love her if she was purple!”

Little Barbara lived in a world of NO. She understood that little girls grew up to be big girls and big girls could only be teachers and nurses. Can they be presidents? NO! Can they be doctors? NO! Can they be boxers? NO! NO! NO! “We’ll see about that.”- Little Barbara thought to herself, clenching her hands into small but mighty fists.

Little Nicole wanted to be a vampire. She hated mornings.

Little Peggy was a determined child with flaming red hair and a knack for being heard. “You know what the matter with you is?” -she’d ask fellow classmates. She’d then follow with listing each and every fault she could, sometimes even writing them down so that they could be more easily referenced. Students began to avoid her. So much so that little Peggy began to wonder if they were skipping class. “Don’t they know how important education is?” She thought to herself. “I really need to add truancy to their list of faults.”

Little Shelly was named after her mother’s fondness for the beach and sea shells. Her parent’s would tell her she was the pearl in their oyster. Shelly loved the ocean. She loved the water. She would walk along sandy shores, bucket in hand, and scoop at the wet patches to find undiscovered treasures. A beautiful swirled shell here and a perfect sand-dollar there, she was always so amazed at the tiny bits of beauty the sea offered her. Shelly, in her tininess would stand, toes touching the tips of waves as they undulated in and out, looking out at the vastness before her. “One day I’ll know you.” – she thought to herself and dug her toes deeper into the cold, wet sand.

Arlando’s dad was always losing his keys. He’d go banging through the house cussing and yelling that he couldn’t find them. Little Arlando would always join in the search. One day little Arlando actually found them. They had fallen in between the cushions of the couch. “Nice work.”- his dad said, patting him approvingly on the head. Arlando beamed with pride. “I’m going to be a detective one day.” He thought to himself. After that Arlando began hiding lots of his parent’s stuff only to find them when they were most needed. He liked it when his parents would say,”Nice work.”

Mrs. Starr. Hmmmmm. Mrs. McCartney. Hmmmmmm. Mrs. Lennon. Hmmmmmm. Mrs. Harrison. Hmmmmm. “So many choices.” -thought little Denise.

The play-doh pizzas were in the oven while little Ann quickly perfected her bernaise sauce made from tap water and carpet fuzz. Her eager stuffed patrons sat at the table as Ann skillfully took their orders. “Try the poached Flamingo.” – she offered. “It’s simply to die for!” Zagat’s gave tiny Chez Ann’s four gold stars and a smiley face.

Little Katherine sat in the audience of the big top with her mouth open in amazement as the lady in the beautiful sequined leotard swung with grace from the trapeze bar and into the arms of the equally graceful man wearing the same beautiful sequins. It was the first time little Katherine knew that even without wings, she could fly. Watching the Winter Olympics on television she saw even more graceful men and women gliding like sprites across the glistening ice. They too, wore sequins. “Whatever I grow up to be,” -Little Katherine thought to herself, “I must make sure that sequins are involved.”

Little Liz had a penchant for laminated paper. If she got an “A” on a report card, she insisted it be laminated. None of her artwork dared touch the refrigerator till it was properly laminated. Her parents were finally able to break her of this obsession by telling her laminate was actually made from lambs. Liz was haunted after that by nightmares of little lambs bleating in pain. “What kind of monster am I?!” – she’d wake up screaming.

Sara loved the sound of laughter. It made her happy and she’d often fall on purpose just so people would point and laugh. When her parents asked why she did this she said “Those people need to laugh more than I need not to fall.”

Little Aleksandra liked to smile but noticed that so many people didn’t. “Why don’t they smile more?” she asked her mother. “Well, Aleksandra, perhaps they don’t have any teeth.” – her mother told her. “That’s terrible!” – Little Aleksandra thought. “I’ll be a dentist and fix it so everyone can smile.” “That’s wonderful news!” – her mother said, “In fact, we’re going to the dentist tomorrow!”  Little Aleksandra stopped smiling.

Little Maureen would raid her mother’s closet and pull out all the outfits she thought made her look fancy and mysterious. She’d drape herself in silks and satins and balance herself on stilettos five times bigger than her feet and carefully slink down the hall. “What are you suppose to be?” her little brother would ask her. “No autographs!” she’d reply with affected pained anxiety. Later, leaning against the wall in the foyer, she waited for the mailman to make his daily delivery. When she heard his footsteps approach the front of the house, she cracked the heavy front door ever so slightly. The mailman paused and little Maureen whispered in her best Russian accent- “The crow flies at midnight.” and slammed the door shut. The mailman shook his head as he moved on delivering the bills and circulars. He did, however, not sleep well that evening.

Little Mary grew up in a world at war. She heard the stories of young men who were injured and torn and thought “I can heal them. I can help.” She wanted to be a lady in white. A healer. A ray of hope. An angel.

Little Mat thought briefly of  his future and realized that no matter what he wanted to be, he’d still be Mat and that was good enough for him.

Life is funny. Desire is something we’re born with. It motivates our decisions and shapes us into who we are today. I know many of the desires my friends expressed were never realized. That’s okay. These desires fueled them to move onto the next desire, which moved them to the next desire, and so on.

So what if none of them became ballerinas or veterinarians. Their desire for grace and compassion is still there and shines through in everything they do and everything they are.

That’s good enough for me.

Thanks again to all my friends who participated and keep those happy desires in your heart.


2 Responses to “Martha’ Purtty Cookies!- Pecan Linzer Cookies With Cherry Filling!- 127 eggs, 97 cups of sugar, 99 sticks of Butter, and 115 3/4 cups of flour used so far- 100 recipes to go!”

  1. Russ Says:

    OOps. If you ever do this again — I wanted to draw pictures for Mad magazine and at night sing in a rock band.

  2. Tommy Salami Says:

    I love linzertarts. And yes, if they are good, they have to be small or you’d die from pleasure.

    I liked your tale of my childhood dream, and it is not far off. I crept closer and closer each day, with my mom holding my hand, as I was only 3 years old. Until one day I was right next to the garbage cans! To my delight and surprise, one of the garbage men picked me up and joked like he was going to toss me in. My mom laughed, and I think I needed to change my underoos.

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