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Cookies are always in season. No need to wait for a holiday, especially during these in-between months. I'm partial to pretty Linzer cookies that resemble mini-raspberry tarts. The hazelnut-flecked sugar cookie dough is delicious on its own and makes lovely dropped or sliced cookies, too.

As with all cookies, there are a few steps to success: For accurate measuring, use a scale or spoon and level the flour. Bring the butter and eggs to room temperature so they cream together quickly. When adding dry ingredients, try not to overmix the dough; it will make it tough. And most important, chill the dough in the refrigerator before rolling out or shaping. This helps keep the dough from overspreading as it bakes and enhances the flavor of the cookies. Once the dough is thoroughly chilled, remove and allow it to soften slightly before rolling it out between two sheets of waxed paper or parchment and cutting it into shapes.

Line the baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper to keep the cookies from sticking. This eliminates the need to grease the pan with butter or oil that can make the cookies slick. Make sure the baking sheets have cooled between batches. No matter what the recipe says, the cookies are done when the edges are set and lightly brown. Home ovens vary greatly, so pay attention. When they look done, they probably are.

Linzer cookies are a lovely reward for very little effort, the perfect treat for celebrating National Get Over It Day on March 9 — time to let go of winter and say hello to spring.

Linzer Cookies

Makes about 30 cookies.

Note: This dough will keep in the refrigerator for at least a week and freezes nicely. If you are short on time, simply bake these like drop cookies. Local nuts from American Hazelnut Co. do not need to be toasted. Larger hazelnuts should be lightly toasted in a 350-degree oven until their peels crack, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and transfer to a clean dishcloth and rub to flake off the peels. This recipe must be prepared in advance. From Beth Dooley.

• 1 c. toasted hazelnuts (see Note)

• 3 c. all-purpose flour

• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

• 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

• 1 tsp. baking powder

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

• 1 1/4 c. sugar

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 2 eggs, at room temperature

• 1 c. raspberry jam


In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse together the hazelnuts and flour until the nuts are finely ground. Pulse in the cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, until everything is combined. Stir in the flour mixture a little at a time.

Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces, wrap each in plastic and shape into a thick disk. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to a week.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let soften slightly. Working with one dough disk at a time, roll the dough out between two parchment sheets until it's about 1/8-inch thick. With a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible. Take half of these circles and cut out a circle from the interior, making a doughnut shape for the top of the cookie. Gather the excess dough and roll out again. (If the dough becomes too soft, place in the refrigerator to stiffen.)

Place the circles and the cutouts onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart and bake until the cookies become slightly firm and their edges turn golden brown, about 14 to 16 minutes. Allow to cool on the cookie sheets for about 3 to 4 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on wire racks.

When the cookies are cool, dab a teaspoon of the jam onto the top of the larger circles. Place the cutout circles on top.