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Linzer pastry, which originated in Linz, Austria, is a short, very buttery dough made with ground nuts and filled with fruit jam. Traditionally, linzertortes are made with hazelnuts, but other nuts are also delicious: almonds, pecans, or walnuts. Chocolate is not a traditional ingredient in linzer, but why not gild the lily and add chocolate to butter, fruit, and nuts?

Confectioners’ (or powdered) sugar is used for the pastry because it contains cornstarch, which helps this short dough hold together. If a tart crust or bar cookie or shortbread crust is too crumbly, try substituting confectioners’ sugar for granulated sugar in the dough recipe for a neater result.

We are baking cookies each week for our Cookie Club! All the cookie recipes are available here on this blog. Stop by Kitchen Conservatory to taste this week’s cookie, which is a contribution from April Blastenbrei, who is a kitchen assistant for our cooking classes and a student in the culinary program at St. Louis Community College.

Chocolate-Raspberry Linzer Tarts

1½ cups pecans
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 jar red raspberry jam without seeds

To toast the pecans, place on a sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees until light brown, about 5 minutes. Finely grind the toasted pecans in food processor. Transfer the pecans to the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat the butter and ground pecans on medium speed until very soft and light, about 3 minutes. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract until well combined. Scrape down the sides of bowl and add the dry ingredients. Beat for about 30 seconds, or until just combined.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls (use a #70 disher) and place in an ungreased miniature muffin pan. Using the small end of a tart tamper, press down gently on each ball to form tart shell. (Lightly flour the tamper to prevent sticking.) Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the muffin pan and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then, you will be able to very gently lift the cookie cups out of the pan. You can use the tip of a knife to help, but it shouldn’t be necessary, just lift with a steady, gentle pressure and they will pop out.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Using a small pastry brush, lightly brush a thin coating of chocolate on the inside of the tart shells. Allow to cool. While chocolate is setting, melt seedless jam in small sauce pan until just pourable. Spoon small amount of jam in each shell. Allow to set. Place remaining chocolate back on double boiler. Spoon some chocolate over each shell, enough to just cover jam. Refrigerate to set. Makes approximately 4 dozen mini tarts.