Just like every other holiday, Valentine’s Day comes with its own variety of sweet treats. Everything’s heart-shaped and colored in either red, pink or white. (There’s also a lot of chocolate, and even though this recipe is chocolate-free, I’ve got something coming soon, don’t worry.) Not wanting to miss an opportunity to make something a little different from my usual confectionery, I decided to bake something as cute and Valentine’s themed as I could.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Once the nuts have cooled, pulse in a food processor with 1/3 cup sugar until finely ground (the sugar keeps the almonds from forming a paste).
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and remaining 1/3 cup sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and mix until combined. Then beat in the vanilla and lemon zest. Beat in the ground almonds. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Divide the dough in two and form two disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for one hour or overnight.
When ready to make the cookies, let the first dough disk rest at room temperature for a few minutes. On a floured surface, roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut dough into desired shapes. Use smaller cookie cutters to cut small windows into half of the cookies (you’ll be sandwiching the cookies together half will be the top, half will be the bottom. The window allows the jam to show through). Repeat with second disk of dough. Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until just turning golden brown. Do not over bake.
Let the cookies cool on a wire rack completely. Meanwhile, warm the raspberry jam over low heat to a spreadable, lump-free consistency. Once the cookies are cooled, use a fine mesh strain to sprinkle the top cookies (the ones with the windows) evenly with powdered sugar. Turn the bottom cookies over and pour a spoonful of jam onto each cookie, spreading it evenly. Careful not to smudge the powdered sugar, place a top cookie on top of the jam and press lightly to sandwich together. Spoon a small amount of raspberry jam in the middle of the hole to complete the look.
These cookies look their best served right away, but will keep in an airtight container on the counter for several days.