It isn't every day that you get to leave your kids for the night and spend an evening out on the town with your mom. It isn't every day that you get to sit on the beach for hours reading and sunbathing without being interrupted every ten minutes for drinks, buckets, diapers, and sunblock.

No complaints. Not a one. I love every moment with my family and wouldn't trade it in for the world. But suffice it to say that spending an overnight away from the kids - with my wonderful mother - was a treat. A welcome treat.

So when my mother came to my house for the weekend following our getaway, these cookies were our special treat for her. I know they're not ordinary. But they're a wonderful special occasion cookie that never disappoints.

My daughter Sarah shaping the cookies. 

Linzer Cookies, adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Makes about 20 cookies

3/4 pound butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup excellent raspberry preserves

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar till just combined. Add the vanilla and mix briefly.

Into a separate large bowl, sift the flour and salt. (Yes. You really have to sift the flour for this recipe if you want a delicate cookie.) Add the sifted dry ingredients to the butter mixture.

Mix on low speed for about 2 minutes until the dough JUST starts to come together. Don't overmix or it'll start creaming. Don't undermix or you'll have crumbly dough.

Dump the dough onto a nice large piece of saran wrap and flatten it out. Wrap it up and chill for at least 1/2 hour or up to 24 hours.

When you're ready to bake the dough, remove it from the fridge. Cut it in half and roll each half about 1/4 inch thick. Cut it into rounds (for traditional shaped linzers) or into whatever pretty shapes you have handy. Use a 1-inch circle cutter to cut a hole right in the center of HALF your shapes.

Lay all the cookies onto parchment lined cookie sheets and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350*.

Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are beginning to brown.

Allow the cookies to cool. If you're going to use them shortly, just set them aside till you're ready to fill them. Or, freeze them for up to a month.

When you're ready to fill the cookies, simple spread a thin layer of raspberry jam on the flat side of the solid shapes. Top with the cut-out cookies. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar and serve.

Linking this up to Weekend Bloggy Reading