One day I want to write a romance novel titled Love and Blood Oranges, about a girl who lives on a citrus orchard in a lush valley by a river.
She smells like sunshine and Valencia oranges in the summer. And in the winter during the season of blood oranges she smells like a mix of vanilla and blood oranges from making marmalades all day.
On the olive farm next door, lives the boy who has loved our heroine all his life. He loves her blood orange marmalade, it’s crimson hued and tastes like honeysuckle and lemons. He loves her red stained lips from the oranges, but mostly he just loves her… secretly.
One day the girl will bake the handsomest linzer torte filled with her luscious marmalade and ask him to tea…
I wanted to make blood orange marmalade like the girl from our story but I sadly gave up when I couldn’t find a simple enough recipe. I thought it’d make a beautiful filling for these almond linzer cookies.
I’ve wanted to make linzer cookies for even longer; I found this recipe over the holidays, it was simple and lovely, and just what I’d been looking for. I saved it with thoughts of February, hearts and marmalades.
The cookies didn’t turn out quite as perfectly as I had imagined. I couldn’t find my small heart-shaped cutter, I used a bigger size so the cutouts aren’t small and cute.
Plus, I let the cookies sit out a minute too long (don’t do that!) before baking them so my hearts look slightly misshapen.
I love them all the same… perhaps it’s a reminder from the universe about the beauty of imperfection.
The cookies are tender and crumbly with that slight nutty taste you get from baking with almond flour, and there’s just enough sweetness from the jam – use whatever flavour of jam or preserve you prefer.
I added a pinch of nutmeg and cardamom to add wintry warmth.
They’re perfect and delectable, and even more so when made with love for sharing during this season of love and all things sweet!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 cup almond meal (almond flour)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (or honey)
- 1/4 cup safflower oil (or canola oil)
- 2 tablespoons almond milk (or other plant-based milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 -3/4 cup of preferred jam, preserve or marmalade
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside
- Sift flour and almond meal together in a bowl and add nutmeg, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and mix
- In another bowl, whisk together maple syrup, safflower oil, almond milk, vanilla and almond extract
- Pour the maple syrup mixture into the flour and mix until a soft dough forms
- Shape dough into two flat discs, wrap in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 – 20 minutes
- On a clean flour-dusted surface, roll out dough until it’s about 1/4” thick
- Cut dough with a 2” round cookie cutter, then use a 1” heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the centers of half of the cookies, remove the center pieces and add them to the dough scraps
- Gather up the leftover dough scraps, reroll then and repeat the process until you have an equal amount of round cookies and outer pieces of heart-shaped cookies
- Transfer cookies onto prepared baking sheet
- Bake for 8 – 10 minutes until lightly browned, then transfer cookies onto a rack to cool completely before filling
- To assemble cookies, dust the cookie tops (with centers cut out) with confectioners’ sugar
- Spread a teaspoon of preserve onto bottom cookies and top with the sugar dusted cookies
- - Your dough should be soft not be sticky; it should come together into a soft ball.
- - If your dough is too sticky add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it comes together.
- - Conversely, if your dough is crumbly and too dry, try adding a tablespoon of almond milk at a time until a soft dough forms.
- - You can bake the heart-shaped centers pieces if you want, as long as you cut out equal amounts of the tops and the bottoms.