"The almonds are blended into the cookie batter. Though you can't see any almonds, they are hard at work flavoring these cookies. The buttery richness of the nuts against the tartness of the jam makes these simple cookies a holiday classic to me. I believe this is the one cookie my mother made every year for Christmas and the holidays." - Alex Guarnaschelli
1. Place almonds in a food processor and pulse until the almonds are ground. Set aside.
2. Whip butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Add the sugar and continue mixing until the mixture becomes light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time so the butter and sugar are fully integrated and somewhat "fluffy." In another bowl, combine and mix the flour, almonds, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
3. Because this dough has a good amount of butter, it needs no "resting" time and needs to be rolled fairly quickly. Lay 3 large pieces of wax paper in a single layer on a flat surface. Sprinkle each one with a light coating of flour. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, blend the flour mixture in with the butter. When the ingredients are fully integrated, place ⅓ of the batter on each of the pieces of wax paper. Coat dough with a light layer of flour, and top with another piece of wax paper of the same length. Use your hands or a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a disk to make 3 dough "sandwiches." Place two of them in the refrigerator and work with remaining disk of dough.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll the first batch into as neat a shape as possible while keeping the waxed paper in place. Avoid creasing or cracking the dough as you roll it to about a ½-inch in thickness. When the first batch is rolled, refrigerate it and repeat the same process for the other two.
5. Remove the first rolled sheet from the refrigerator. Place it on a flat surface and remove the top layer of waxed paper. Spread a small amount of flour onto your work surface and invert the dough onto it. Carefully remove the second sheet of waxed paper. Cut as many 1½-inch hearts (or rounds) as possible. Reserve the scraps in the refrigerator. Arrange the cut cookies neatly in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with the other two sheets, reserving any scraps.
6. Cut a heart, with the smaller cutter, out of the center of half of all the cookies to create a heart outline. Roll the scraps in between two of the pieces of wax paper using the method indicated above and cut additional hearts, if desired. Waste dough? No such thing. Simply reroll all the scraps and refrigerate for a few minutes before cutting into additional cookies.
7. Bake the cookies until they are lightly brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the trays from the oven and allow them to cool slightly for a few minutes before gently transferring them to a cooling rack. Put the raspberry jam in a bowl and whisk to remove large lumps.
8. Spoon about ½ teaspoon raspberry jam on each bottom and place a "top" heart on each. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
Note: Dough can be rolled without waxed paper if allowed to chill in the refrigerator for one hour prior to use.
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