Like many during this time of pandemic, I have turned to baking for a number of reasons. There was a time when I was baking much more often, in fact, there was a period of time in my life when I wanted to be a pastry chef. I actually toured two different schools and had started to make plans to attend The French Pastry School in Chicago. But then my (now ex) husband fucked everything up and my life went in a completely different direction. But I digress.
My point is, baking is not new to me, so it hasn’t just become a pandemic hobby. However, being in the kitchen has brought me a great deal of anxiety relief, and honestly, I’ve been craving baked goods like crazy lately. I haven’t jumped on the sourdough train (yet – I have been researching how to get started) but I’ve made (and frozen) my share of sweets.
Recently I was watching something on TV (I can’t even remember what it was) and one of the characters in whatever I was watching was eating a cookie that reminded me of my time in France. I couldn’t remember what it was called, but upon Googling a description of it I came across a recipe for lunettes de romans. Yep, yep, yep, that had to be it. A buttery, flaky sandwich cookie (sort of like a cross between a shortbread and pie crust) with a hole in the top layer, filled with raspberry jam.
When I was in Nice during the summer of 2018 I had stopped in a cute bakery to pick up a sandwich for my train ride to Italy, and I grabbed one of these lovely cookies (which are sometimes also called jam filled sables). The one I had then was huge – bigger than my palm, and the holes in the top looked like a smiley face. (I ate it while I was watching Bridesmaids and this is the only photo I have.) It was so delicious, and honestly until I saw it again recently I hadn’t given it two thoughts.
Also, I had just bought a fresh jar of Bonne Maman raspberry jam – which, if you’ve never had it, is absolutely the very best raspberry jam on the planet. And so, I decided I needed to find a recipe and attempt these cookies.
The best recipe I found is from Pardon Your French who, coincidentally, I follow on Instagram. But I’d never been to her website before. The instructions were easy to follow and I had just come across a set of linzer cookie cutters which I knew would be perfect for the endeavor. (If you don’t have fancy cookie cutters that’s ok – just use a round cutter, and then a slightly smaller one to cut the holes.)
And so, you can see here how well these turned out. And they taste absolutely amazing! Also, they freeze quite well and I’m down to the last two in my stash, so I might just need to make some more. My 4 year old niece says they’re “really nummy”, so if you’re looking for something new to try, give them a whirl!
Side note – you might be thinking – ok, so what’s the difference between these jam filled sables and a linzer cookie? Great question. Linzer cookies have almond flour in their dough. And there are probably other differences too, but I feel like this is the most important one.
Additional side note – in the UK and Ireland they call these cookies Jammy Dodgers, and they really are quite similar to the jam filled sables. But from what I can tell, these are typically not dusted with powdered sugar and some of the recipes lean more toward a jam-filled shortbread.