Almond & Raspberry Heart Cookies

These delicious and beautiful cookies are much easier than they might first appear.  This is a recipe I’ve loved since culinary school.  The chewy almond ring on the crisp shortdough cookie, combined with the tart raspberry jam is a flavor and texture match made in heaven.  The small size makes them perfect to serve with tea, as a garnish to another dessert, or as a thoughtful homemade gift.  It also means it’s easy to keep popping them in your mouth, so make lots of them! 

Almond & Raspberry Heart Cookies

Yield:  About 36 2” cookies

Shortdough base:

1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon pure almon extract

1 egg, room temperature

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 convection).  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place butter and powdered sugar in a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters.  Beat the butter and powdered sugar until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add both extracts and the egg and beat well to incorporate.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Stir or whisk to combine the dry ingredients together.

Add the flour mixture, a little at a time to the butter mixture.  Mix until the flour is combined.  The mixture will be stiff.  Do not chill the dough.

Form the dough into a smooth cohesive ball.  Dust the ball of dough and countertop with flour to prevent sticking.  Roll the dough to ¼” thick and cut out 2” hearts or rounds with a small cookie cutter.  Transfer cookies to the parchment-lined baking sheets and bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until just set and blond in color.

Frangipane (Almond Cream):

1 heaping cup sliced almonds (1 cup + 2 tablespoons), (both blanched and skin-on can be used, *Almond meal may also be substituted)

½ cup granulated sugar

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened

1 egg

1 tablespoon dark rum

1 teaspoon lemon zest

¼ teaspoon almond extract

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely chopped.  Add the remaining ingredients and process only until mixed.  Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.

*If using almond meal, you can mix in the bowl of an electric mixer or by hand.

Piping frangipane around the edge of already baked cookie bases.

Assembly:

About 1 ½ cups Raspberry preserves

Place the frangipane into a pastry bag fitted with a small star-shaped piping tip.

Pipe a ¼-inch bead of frangipane around the perimeter of each cookie.  Stir the preserves thoroughly to make sure there are any large globs present.  Spoon about 1 teaspoon of preserves into the center of each ring of Frangipane.

Bake cookies at 350 degrees (325 convection) for about 15 minutes, or until the almond ring is a light golden color.

Recipe Notes:

All three components (the baked cookie bases, the frangipane, and the finished cookies) can all be successfully frozen.  For best flavor, don’t freeze the cookie bases or finished cookies more than 3 months.

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