Linzer cookies are jam-filled sandwich cookies based on the Austrian Linzertorte, a tart made with a nutty crust spiced with cinnamon and lemon zest. Just as the tart has a lattice top that shows off the jam filling, the cookie form has a cutout in the top cookie to reveal the colorful jam inside.
Linzer cookies aren't just pretty though, they are also deliciously buttery, nutty, and fruity. They're a beautiful addition to any dessert spread, whether at a holiday party, a cookie swap, or in a care package. And with so many options for making them ahead, they're a practical addition too.
How to Roll Out Linzer Dough
Linzer dough is sticky and can sometimes be difficult to work with, but these tips will help you get unstuck and roll out cookies like a pro.
Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour after mixing. Chilling the dough not only makes it easier to roll, but it gives the gluten developed during mixing a chance to relax and the flour time to hydrate.
Let the dough soften and warm up slightly for about 5 minutes when you remove it from the fridge. While the dough is easier to roll when cold, it'll probably be too hard directly from the fridge. Before rolling, work the dough by gently pressing the dough with the rolling pin several times to make the dough more pliable.
Roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper. This way the dough won't stick to the counter and you won't work any additional flour into the dough, which could make it tough. Plus, if the dough gets too warm and difficult to work with, you can pick the whole thing up and put it in the fridge to chill for a bit.
Toast the Almonds for a Flavor Boost
In addition to all-purpose flour, Linzer dough is classically made with ground nuts, usually almonds or hazelnuts. Nut flour contributes extra flavor to the dough, and because it doesn't have any gluten, it makes for a "shorter" cookie.
To boost the flavor even more, you can use toasted almond flour or substitute hazelnuts.
- To toast almond flour, spread it in an even layer onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat and bake for 5 to 7 minutes at 350°F until it turns light golden and smells nutty. Let it cool completely before using.
- Try hazelnut flour. Hazelnuts have an even richer flavor than almonds. If you can find hazelnut flour, you can substitute it one-for-one, toasted or untoasted, for the almond flour. To toast the hazelnut flour, use the same instructions as above.
- You can also use toasted whole almonds or hazelnuts (blanched or natural). Use the same amount by weight (120g, 4 1/4 ounces, or a heaping 3/4 cup), and grind in a food processor with 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar until finely ground. The sugar absorbs the oil and keeps the nuts from turning into a paste.
If you want to learn more about flour (gluten-free and otherwise) here is The Ultimate Guide to Flour: How to Swap, Substitute and Supplement Your Favorite Flours.
Use Your Favorite Jam
Traditionally, Linzertorte and Linzer Cookies are filled with black currant jam, but raspberry and apricot are also classic flavors.
While these are all delicious choices, you can use your favorite jam or whatever you have in your cupboard. The lemon and cinnamon in the cookies complement so many fruits that there's plenty of room for you to get creative.
Storage and Making Them Ahead
While bright and fun, the holiday season can also be stressful when planning treats for all the different gatherings and festivities. Luckily, these cookies give you plenty of options to make them ahead or store them for all your upcoming plans.
Filled Linzer Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. They can also be frozen, layered between parchment in an airtight container, for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight, and dust them with powdered sugar just before serving.
These cookies will soften once filled with jam. You can store or freeze the unfilled cookies and fill them with jam just before serving if you prefer slightly crisper cookies.
You can also make the dough ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months. Simply thaw the dough in the refrigerator before rolling and baking.
And if you really want to get ahead, you can freeze the rolled, cut-out cookies and then bake them directly from the freezer. Freeze the cut-out cookies flat on a parchment-lined tray until solid, then transfer to an airtight container. To bake from frozen, increase the baking time to 15 minutes.
More Holiday Cookies to Enjoy this Season
- Holiday Pinwheel Cookies
- Spritz Cookies
- Peppermint Bark Chocolate Cookies
- Christmas Sugar Cookies
- Black and White Cookies
- 2 1/4 cups (270g) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups (120g) almond flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (227g) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (170g) raspberry or apricot jam
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- Special equipment
- 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter
- 1-inch round or star-shaped cookie cutter
- Rolling pin
- Offset spatula
Combine the dry ingredients:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, cinnamon, and salt.
Beat butter, sugar, and yolk mixture:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, egg yolks, lemon zest, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Make the dough:
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir on low speed just until the dough comes together, and no streaks of dry flour remain. Try not to overmix or the dough will be difficult to work with and the baked cookies will shrink.
Divide and chill the dough:
Divide the dough in half and press each half into a disk about an inch thick so it chills quickly. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven and prepare baking sheets and parchment:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside until ready to use.
If you don’t have 4 baking sheets, you can bake them in extra batches, making sure to let the pans cool completely in between batches.
Prepare two additional pieces of parchment about 16 inches long to roll out cookies with and set aside until ready to use.
Roll out the dough:
Remove one of the disks of dough from the refrigerator and let it warm up until it's soft enough to roll but still cold, about 5 minutes. Roll out the dough between the 2 pieces of parchment paper to about 1/8-inch thick, working from the center outward and rotating the dough as you go.
Cut out the cookies:
Carefully, peel off the top layer of parchment. Cut out the cookies using a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 1 inch apart. If the dough is sticking to the bottom layer of parchment, use an offset spatula or other thin spatula to gently release the cut-out cookies.
The dough scraps can be gathered into a smooth ball, then flattened into a disk to reroll two more times. You should have about 18 to 24 cookies. If at any point the dough becomes too sticky and difficult to work with, chill it in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Place the cut-out cookies in the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes.
Cut out the remaining cookies:
While the first round of cookies chills and the oven preheats, roll and cut out the second disk of dough. Again, you should have about 18 to 24 cookies, making sure there's the same number of tops and bottoms.
Use a 1-inch round or star-shaped cookie cutter, or the large end of a piping tip, to cut out the center of each cookie.
You should have 18 to 24 round cookies and 18 to 24 cookies with a cut out in the middle.
Place the cut-out cookies in the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes.
Bake the cookies:
Bake the cookies in batches, two trays at a time, rotating the sheets between oven racks halfway through baking, until the edges turn golden brown and the middle of the cookies look matte and have set, about 12 minutes.
Cool the cookies:
Remove the pans from the oven and place the baking sheets on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the racks to cool completely before sandwiching.
Assemble and serve:
Turn over the base cookies and spread with 1 teaspoon of jam, leaving a small border around the edges. Top with the cookies with holes cut out, pressing down lightly. Dust the tops with powdered sugar. Serve.