Scone of the Month: Inspiring a ‘Linzer’ scone

Self-reflection — in life, in recipes — can be an inspiring thing. I sometimes feel very unoriginal, one of those gals who has always colored inside the lines and followed other people’s recipes. I’m very capable of coming up with my own concepts and witticisms, and I definitely trust my intuition and myself, but I’ve realized lately that I need to try to develop more of my own voice…and create my own recipes. That being said, all of us in this food-blogging and food-writing game need to come clean — there are very few “original” recipes anymore…they are all derived or based on something someone else has done. We tweak and fuse and add and subtract and maybe sometimes come up with a new creature inspired by another.

While I know there are a plethora of Linzer cookie and torte recipes out there, I was not sure that I had ever seen a scone version of this jammy delicacy. In the torte, jam fills a tart with a lattice-type top. The cookie is sandwich-style — often heart-shaped — filled with raspberry jam that peeks, jewel-like — through a little window cut from the top cookie, which is dusted with powdered sugar. The torte and cookies, traditionally flavored with almond and even using almond flour, are named for the town of Linz in Austria, and have inspired bakers for generations.

As I write this, I know I would be wrong to say I’m the first to make a Linzer -type scone. I’m sure someone else has done it. But I decided not to look for or at the other person’s or persons’ version (if it’s out there). I decided to follow my own little muse and create my own heart-shaped, jam-filled, sugar-dusted scone, complete with a little window.

I knew to create a proper scone sandwich, the scones themselves must be one that would hold their heart shape. Many scone recipes tend to rise and expand and even slide off their bases as their layers blow up and topple over (sounds violent). So a good, basic, “sturdy,” cut-out scone recipe would be needed. I found a simple cream scone recipe and tweaked it a bit, resisting (this time) the urge to use some traditional almond flour and instead adding a wee bit of almond extract (along with vanilla). I also used some lemon zest, incorporating this fresh whiff of citrus into the mix just after the butter had been cut in.

The dough was easy to bring together (as many scone doughs are). I kneaded it briefly (a light hand is your best friend in scone-making), but I believed these scones would stay tender, as many cream scones do.

I first rolled the dough to about 1/4-inch thickness, as these should be somewhat thinner scone due to the stacking that was to (hopefully) come. I had a set of heart cookie cutters in many sizes that had sat idly for a few years, waiting for a good use. I managed to get about 12 2-1/2-inch hearts cut from the dough.

Half of the hearts received a little window, cut using a mini heart cutter. Some re-rolling of scraps was necessary, but the dough cooperated nicely.

The scones baked at 400 degrees for about 14 minutes, until golden brown. Usually, one hopes for scones to bloom and grow, but in this case, I was relieved this was minimal, and the scone hearts held their shapes.

Once cool, I took the windowed scones and laid them out on a parchment sheet and gave them a good dusting of powdered sugar.

I had found some lush, deeply red, sugar-free (!), raspberry jam to spread on the flat side of the bottom, solid-heart scones, giving them a slightly thicker mound of the jam in the center, so that it would ooze up into the heart window.

Pressing one heart on top of the other, I was so pleased at this beautiful little thing, inspired by a much-loved cookie. Plating these scone heart tarts, I thought about how happy someone would be be if you brought a place of these to their table for teatime.

And they were delicious enough for anyone’s tea menu, too. The scones were tender and buttery, made extra decadent with that dusting of sugar and so richly fruity with that tasty jam. And they actually reminded me of another treat —  Italian jam-filled, sugar dusted sandwich cookies I had eaten in the past. These influences reminded me that the merging of treats to inspire new creations is an example of how hearts, minds and bakers are connected.L

Linzer Heart Scones 

Makes 6 sandwich scones

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • Fine zest from one lemon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter, using a pastry blender or your fingers to cut in until all resembles cornmeal. Toss in zest.

Combine cream and extracts in measuring cup. Gradually add to the flour mixture, stirring with a fork until it becomes a shaggy dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board or mat and bring the dough together with a few brief kneads.

Pat or roll the dough into 1/4-inch thickness. Using a  2-1/2 to 3-inch heart cookie cutter, cut the dough into heart shapes, re-rolling scraps as necessary. Place half the hearts 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a 1-inch heart cutter (or a knife), cut a small heart in the center of the remaining hearts, then place them on the baking sheet. (Note: you can also bake the small hearts you cut out of the bigger ones for a shorter baking period as an extra treat).

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to cool on a wire rack.

Take the hearts with the heart cut-out in the center and place on a sheet of parchment. Use a sieve to dust powdered sugar over the surface of the hearts. 

Take the solid hearts and, turning them over so their bottoms face up, spread with a layer of raspberry jam, making center slightly thicker with the jam. Place the sugar-dusted hearts on top of the bottoms spread with jam and press lightly. Serve.

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