Welcome back!  It seems like I just did this, oh wait, I did – maybe relaxing the rules isn’t always such a good thing, I feel like I’ve lost time somewhere.  I’ll let you know if I find that time anywhere, but in the mean time let’s talk about the TWD pick-of-the-week chosen by Dennis from Living The Life: Linzer Sable Cookies.

This was another new one for me, and I have to admit to a mild twinge of disappointment at seeing another recipe without any chocolate.  There are standing jokes regarding the number of (and intensity of) chocolate recipes I make, I have a reputation to uphold here! Then I saw Dorie’s playing around section which set the wheels turning…

I wasn’t going to just play around…oh no, I was going to get serious with chocolate on this recipe.

After all the holiday frenzy I really wasn’t in the mood to brave the grocery store for any new ingredients this week so I used the very small amount of pecans I had left over from Thanksgiving baking and supplemented them with walnuts to make up the 1 1/2 cups of nuts in this recipe.

Grinding them in my not-quite-broken-yet food processor was an adventure.  Well, not really, it was mostly time consuming as I really need to coddle it to prevent it from turning into my definitely-broken-now food processor.  I used the remainder of the dry ingredients as insurance against turning my nuts into nut butter, and as a bonus I didn’t have to dirty another bowl.  You may notice that the color isn’t quite what you’d expect – I saw this as my first opportunity to chocolate-ize my cookies so I seized it.  I replaced 1/4 cup of the flour with unsweetened cocoa powder.  I also decided to leave out the cloves and nutmeg; I don’t like their flavor much with chocolate.

After I got my dry ingredients to what I considered to be a good consistency (meaning I didn’t think my food processor was going to get those nuts ground any finer) the rest of the recipe came together very easily.

Creamed sugar and butter (vanilla sugar actually; after leaving out the cloves and nutmeg I thought I might want some additional flavor in the dough)…

Add one beaten egg and water…

Mix in the dry ingredients…

I was very concerned about over mixing the dough, I already knew that these weren’t going to be your soft and chewy kind of cookie (which is my preference); the last thing I wanted to do was make them tough by over working the flour so I took Dorie’s suggestion about finishing the mixing with a spatula.

The dough was a snap to roll out between a couple of sheets of wax paper, then off to the fridge to chill out for at least 2 hours (or 4 or 5 in my case).

Then I ran into my only snag in this entire process.  I dug through all my drawers and cabinets and found exactly 3 cookie cutters, none of which were round or scalloped or 2″ in diameter.  How can it be that someone who bakes as frequently as I do has only 3 cookie cutters to her name?  Well, I can’t think of a single rolled cookie that would make it to my cookie favorites list, so what do I need cutters for?

After an internal debate during which I weighed the pros and cons of going out to buy cookies cutters I decided to use the ever so slightly too large Star of Bethlehem cutter (at least I think that is what it is supposed to be).  For a little while it was even fun to cut out the cookies, it brought back some childhood memories.  But after cutting out 54 little stars I was glad I only made a single batch .

I think it worked out rather well, here they are all ready to be turned into little star sandwiches.

For my filling I made a milk chocolate hazelnut ganache; Nutella, milk chocolate chips, and butter.

After I assembled all the sandwiches and (heavily) dusted them with powdered sugar I went back and put an extra dollop of Nutella in each little “window.”

I did enjoy the flavor and the contrasting textures in these cookies, but I regret to say that there still is not a rolled cookie on my cookie favorites list.

They do look pretty though and they are not half bad with a big mug of hot chocolate.

Thank you Dennis for your choice this week, I had fun tweaking the recipe and I do enjoy the little thrill of successfully making something for the first time.

For those of you looking for the recipe, head over to Dennis’ site and don’t forget to check out what the other TWD-ers have done!