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Blood Orange Curd Linzer Cookies

yield: 30 1 1/2-inch sandwich cookies
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Ingredients

For the Blood Orange Curd

    (makes 2 1/2 cups)

    • 3 large egg yolks
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
    • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) freshly-squeezed and strained blood orange juice, divided into 1/4 cup and 3/4 cup portions
    • 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed and strained lemon juice
    • 1 to 2 drops red food coloring
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick // 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 1-inch cubes

    For the Linzer Shortbread Cookies

      (makes about thirty 1 1/2-inch sandwich cookies, but see baker's notes)

      • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks // 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 1-inch cubes
      • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) confectioner's sugar, plus more for decorating
      • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
      • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
      • 1 3/4 cups (10.25 ounces) all-purpose flour

      Instructions

      For the Blood Orange Curd

      • In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together 3 large egg yolks, 2 large eggs, and 1 cup granulated sugar until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons cornstarch with approximately 1/4 cup of the blood orange juice to create a slurry. Whisk the remaining 3/4 cup of blood orange juice and the slurry into the egg mixture along with 1 to 2 drops of red food coloring.
      • Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking until thick, about 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure the whisk scrapes the bottom of the pan to prevent the mixture from burning.
      • When the mixture has thickened considerably (your whisk should be leaving trail marks while stirring the mixture, and the mixture should also coat the back of a spoon), remove from heat and place on a wire rack. Whisk 1/2 cup cubed unsalted butter, 1 to 2 cubes at a time, only adding the next set of cubes when the previous cubes have fully incorporated into the mixture.
      • Transfer the curd to a clean bowl and press plastic wrap against its surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 to 20 minutes. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools.

      For the Linzer Shortbread Cookie Dough

      • In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 3/4 cup unsalted butter, 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and turn the mixture to its slowest setting once the vanilla is fully incorporated. Add 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. Once all the flour has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the dough is evenly combined.
      • Dump the dough into a sheet of plastic wrap. Bring the dough together by wrapping it up in the center of the plastic wrap, shaping it into a ball, and then flattening it into a disk. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, but preferably overnight, until the butter firms up.

      Assembly

      • When you're ready to roll out the dough, place approximately 1/3 of the the dough between two sheets of parchment paper (keeping the remaining dough chilled). If the dough is too hard to work with, let it sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes, before giving it a few good whacks with your rolling pin. Roll the dough into a very thin slab, approximately 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick.
      • Use a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter to cut the cookies into rounds. Place the rounds onto a parchment lined cookie sheet — you can have them pretty close together, they don't spread out that much in the oven! I left about 1/2-inch between each cookie. Gather the excess scraps into a ball and repeat the rolling out process until all the dough is used, including the remaining dough. Use a small heart-shaped cutter to stamp out shapes in half of the rounds. Chill the dough in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
      • Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 (F). Once preheated, bake the cookies for 10 to 15 minutes — the cookies won't brown too much, so be careful not to overbake! 15 minutes in the oven should be the max. Transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature before sandwiching the cookies.
      • When the cookies are at room temperature and you're ready to assemble them, spread about 1 teaspoon of blood orange curd onto the flat side of each uncut cookie round. Be careful not to use too much! When topping with the cut-out cookie top, the curd will spread across the cookies. If you use too much, it could potentially ooze over the edges of the cookie. Top with the cut-out cookie, and garnish with confectioner's sugar, if desired. Enjoy!