Valentine Linzer Cookies

These are my favorite Valentine cookies. It is a variation of Eli Zabar's wonderful shortbread cookies. Actually I make this cookie dough for all occasions.

I use different size heart shape cookie cutters or you can use a 3-inch cutter for all of them and a smaller one to cut out the center.

Valentine Linzer Cookies
36 smaller cookies, less if bigger
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3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup good raspberry preserves
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for an hour. I have left it overnight.

Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut 3-inch rounds or hearts with a plain for fluted cutter. With 1/2 of the rounds/hearts, cut a hole from the middle of each with with a round or heart sharped cutter. Place all the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes.

Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature. Spread raspberry preserves on the flat side of each solid cookie. Dust the top of the cut-out cookies with confectioners sugar and press the flat sides together, with the raspberry preserves in the middle and the confections' sugar on top.