This is not a quick and easy recipe, but the results are well worth it! The dough is very buttery and so rather difficult to work with; it's best to roll it out in small handfuls. I like to make tiny little cookies, about an inch and a half wide, but you can make these any size. This recipe makes A LOT of dough; it's not a bad idea to cut it in half at least if you're making small cookies.
If you try them out, do post your thoughts on them! I had these when I was taking a pastry course at the CIA and thought they were about the best cookies I'd ever tasted...
3 3/4 C cake flour
2 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
3/4 lb unsalted butter, at room temp
1 1/2 C sugar
1 T vanilla
1/2 C very finely ground ladyfinger crumbs
6 oz finely ground toasted hazelnuts (for about 2 C)
Seedless raspberry or other jam
Sift together flour, baking powder, and cinnamon and set aside.
In a stand mixer, with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla together at medium speed--scrape the bowl as needed--until smooth and light. Add the eggs, one at a time, still on medium speed and still scraping the bowl as needed. Add flour, ladyfinger crumbs, and hazelnuts, all at the same time, and mix on low speed until just blended. Divide the dough into 4 or more pieces, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours before rolling out (I will sometimes freeze the dough for a week or so, then thaw in the fridge overnight).
Preheat the oven to 375. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one small piece of dough at a time--if you've divided into four pieces, try a third or a half of each piece at a time, it is that buttery--roll out the dough. If you are making tiny cookies like I do, the thinner, the better--I shoot for an eighth of an inch or even a little less, but again--this is really buttery dough, so do what you can. A silicone rolling pin is VERY HELPFUL when making these. If you're making larger cookies you can keep it to a quarter inch or so, but to me that's sort of overkill with dough this rich.
It's helpful to have one of those tins of fluted cutters in graduated sizes in order to cut out the centers of half the cookies. I use the third-smallest, and then the smallest to cut out the centers. Again, this makes the process rather more difficult, but the cookies are dainty, elegant and delicious! I like to prepare 2 sheets at a time, one solid and one with the centers cut out. It's easier to cut the centers out if the dough is cold, so pop that sheet into the fridge or freezer (in the winter, I open the window and set it on the sill). You can put scraps back in the fridge and reroll them; I have also pressed extra dough into little tart pans and filled them with Nutella.
Bake until light golden brown, about 9-12 minutes depending on thickness, rotating pans halfway through. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. When cool, sift confectioners' sugar over the cutout rings. Now the fun part: spread jam on the solid cookies (not too much--you don't want it oozing out the sides; a small offset spatula is reallly helpful here). Carefully center a sugared cutout ring over the top of each jammy solid cookie and press together gently (VERY gently if you've made tiny thin rings).
They look almost too beautiful to be homemade, but they are too delicious to be anything but. They also make your house smell lovely. Enjoy!