Tea Party

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What do you serve at a tea party?

Cucumber sandwiches.

Linzer torte cookies.

Wine/ beer.

Tea?  Maybe.

We tried to throw this tea party a couple weeks ago- it failed.

First off, no one came.  Apparently no one else wanted to just eat cookies and tiny sandwiches for dinner.  Secondly, the butter for the cookie dough took far too long to get to room temperature in my unheated apartment, so the cookies didn’t even get made until the next day.  And finally, we have no tea cups (besides the set with two cups that Slug has and let me photograph for this event) , just mugs of various shapes and sizes.  Someone always feels unloved when they get the tiny mug and I’ll yell at you if you take my favorite green mug, thus a true tea party would have resulted in hurt feelings and tears.

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Sad kitty would be sad without his own tea cup.

But thats ok.  My friend Shark Boy was in town for the weekend (he currently lives in the Caymen’s, and he decided to come to our couch in Baltimore for his vacation).  He’ll eat anything.  Seriously.  Slug and I were rather delighted with his food hoovering abilities.  And he was quite willing to eat cucumber sandwiches along with his fancy rum brought from the islands.  Sans tea.

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The next day I made the cookies, and they were, of course excellent.  They are linzer torte cookies in that the dough is a sweet hazelnut dough that you roll out and make fun shapes with and after you bake the cookies, you dab a bit of raspberry jam inside them to make little sandwich cookies.

The cucumber sandwiches were simple, possibly too simple, and lacking in some kick.  So, although I will post a photo of them here, no recipe is necessary, until I improve them quite a bit.  I’m thinking some red pepper flakes and a but of a vinegar soaking are necessary.  We shall see…

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They don’t even look that appetizing and they are in the shape of a heart!  Harrumph.

The cookies, of course, make up for it, and are also in the shape of a heart.

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Linzer Torte Cookies:

Adapted from The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle

5 ounces hazelnuts

350 grams (2 1/2 cups) flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

225 grams (16 tablespoons, 8 ounces) butter at room temperature

150 grams (3/4 cup) sugar

1 egg, at room temperature

1/2 cup raspberry jam

1/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Grind the hazelnuts with 70g (1/2 cup) of the flour and the salt until it becomes a fine powder.  Put into a dry bowl and whisk with the remaining flour, spices, and baking powder and set aside.

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl with a handheld mixer.  Beat on medium speed for one minute and then add the sugar and beat on medium speed for 6 to 8 minutes, or until fluffy, light, and almost white in color.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl every few seconds.  Add the egg and continue to beat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until fully incorporated and the batter looks glossy and smooth.

Add the dry ingredients all at once and fold a few times with a rubber spatula.  Combine on slow speed with the butter for 1 to 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 30 seconds or so.

Wrap the dough tightly in two rectangles in plastic wrap and then refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper of silicone pads.

Quick method:

Cut as many 1 1/2 x 3 inch long bars of the dough as you can and then cut eat bar into 1/8 to 1/6 of an inch thick slices and place the cookies on the cookie sheets 1/2 inch apart.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and emitting the wonderful scent of roasted hazelnuts.

Long method (prettier):

Roll the chilled dough out to 1/16 of an inch.  With your favorite cookie cutters, punch out as many cookies as you can.  Place them 1 inch apart on the cookie sheets.

If you can, chill the cookies 15 minutes in your refrigerator before baking, but this is not necessary.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and delectable smelling.  Rotate once or twice while baking to achieve even baking.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets.

Use a tiny teaspoon or a piping bag to dot half the cookies with the raspberry jam.  The amount will depend on the shape and size of your cookies.  Cover with the remaining half of the cookies and voila! Sandwich cookies!

The cookies loose their crunchiness after one day once filled, but you can bake the cookies and store them at room temperature for up to 4 days before filling them.

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