Festive Linzer Cookies

A spiced shortbread cookie, sandwiched around sweet jam, Linzer Cookies are a festive treat that’s perfect for the holidays.

Linzer Cookies

I remember my first experience with anything Linzer.  It was a Linzer Torte that my siblings and I made for a family Christmas brunch many years ago.  Back then we were young and relatively inexperienced cooks and the accomplishment surprised and delighted both us and our parents. 

Yes, the spiced nutty pastry and sweet fruity jam were a perfect pairing and the dessert was a wonderful conclusion to the meal!

And ever since, I’ve wanted to try making Linzer cookies as well.

LInzer Cookies

What are Linzer Cookies?

Linzer Cookies are a flavorful holiday cookie, based on the pastry known as a Linzer Torte. 

Per Wikipedia, “The Linzer torte is a traditional Austrian pastry, a form of shortbread topped with fruit preserves and sliced nuts with a lattice design on top. It is named after the city of Linz, Austria.”

Both the cookie and the torte crust are made from a unique and flavorful dough.  It’s full of ground nuts (often almonds or hazelnuts), orange zest and cinnamon which gives it a rich and characteristic flavor. And both pastries are filled with a fruity jam that’s a perfect compliment.

Finally, in a nod to the torte’s peek-a-book lattice top, Linzer cookies have a cutout top, which also shows off the colorful jam filling. 

LInzer Cookies

Why You’ll Love This!

Flavorful.  Fruity jam sandwiched between nutty, spiced cookies makes this a rich and flavorful treat.

Pretty.  With colorful jam peeking through a window cutout and all dusted in powdered sugar, this is a lovely, festive cookie.

Unique.  You may find lots of bars and drop cookies on a typical cookie tray.  But Linzer cookies will certainly be among the standouts!

LInzer Cookies

What You’ll Need

Ingredient Notes

  • Butter.  This adds richness, flavor and helps the ingredients hold together.
  • Sugar.  This adds sweetness.
  • Egg yolk.  This adds richness and helps the ingredients hold together.
  • Cinnamon, vanilla extract, orange zest.  These adds warm spicy flavors.
  • Salt.  Salt is a flavor enhancer.
  • All-purpose flour.  This forms the bulk of the cookie.
  • Almond flour. This adds a distinctive nutty flavor.  You can use almond meal or another nut flour if you prefer.
  • Baking powder.  This lightens the cookie.
  • Jam.  This is the cookie filling.  You can also use fruit curd.
  • Optional powdered sugar. For decoration.

Special Tools

  • You’ll need a small cookie cutter to cut the “window” out of the top cookie.

Step by Step Directions

Optionally, toast your almond meal or flour.  Place in a frying pan over medium heat and stir until golden and fragrant, 5-10 minutes.

Using an electric mixer beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla.

add egg yolk to butter mixture

Whisk together flour, almond flour, orange zest, cinnamon, baking powder and salt, then stir into to butter mixture until just incorporated.

blend in dry ingredients

Divide and flatten the dough into two disks, then cover and refrigerate for an hour.  Preheat the oven to 350 F. 

Roll the cookie dough between two sheets of wax paper until about 1/8 inch thick.  Don’t worry if it cracks, just patch/press It back together.

roll dough between wax paper

Cut out cookies, then in half of them, cut a “window” using a smaller cutter to create the top pieces.  Combine the dough scraps (cutout pieces may be baked alone as mini cookies or treated as scraps) and re-roll, then cut more cookies.

cut out cookies & bake

Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet and bake until the edges are turning golden, about 11-13 minutes. Bake time will vary based on cookie thickness. I found more variation between batches than usual so treat each batch as unique.  When done, let set a few minutes, then remove to a rack and cool cookies completely. 

To assemble place a generous teaspoon of jam on bottom half, then top with a windowed cookie. 

top bottoms with jam

You can dust the tops with powdered sugar before or after assembling.

top with powdered sugar

On Cookie Browning

Browning will vary based on the thickness of the cookies and this dough is quite sensitive.  So try to keep you cookies as close as possible to the same thickness, especially on the same baking sheet.

In fact, had a rather strange experience that I can’t quite explain.  Even though my oven was fully preheated, my first tray of cookies was a bit pale when baked 13 minutes and the second batch was a bit too brown baked 11 minutes—and I thought they were the same thickness.  So watch them carefully and don’t expect complete consistency. 

In any case, they tasted good whether they were browner or less brown.  And powdered sugar hides a myriad of sins. 

LInzer Cookies

Variations

Feel free to vary the jam according to your personal taste and pantry contents!  While Raspberry Linzer cookies may be most common, I decided to use my homemade cranberry jam this year!

And if jam isn’t your, err, jam, you can also fill the cookies with fruit curd like my cranberry curd or lime curd or even my Spiced Orange Curd.

You also use different nuts for the pastry.  Hazelnuts or almond meal are most common.  I used almond flour since I had it.  And you can even make your own nut meal from whole nuts.  In that case, pulse the nuts with the flour until finely ground.  Grinding with the flour helps keep them from turning into nut butter (ask me how I know this!).

Finally, you experiment with cookie and cutout shapes.  I did one cookie with a snowflake cutter and offset the top and bottom cookies.  Sprinkled with coarse sugar before baking, it almost glittered  While a less traditional look, I was pleased with the results!

snowflake shaped cookie

And if you’d like to make another cookie with windows, consider my stained glass cookies, which are also fun and pretty!

Leftovers

Be aware that Linzer cookies soften pretty quickly.  On the first day, the cookie base and top retained a crispness that contrasted nicely with the soft jam.  But after this, the jam softened the cookie and they came to more closely resemble the original torte.  This is not considered a problem but a characteristic of the cookie, though I personally like them best the first day.

Jam-filled cookies can be stored, well-wrapped at room temperature or in the refrigerator up to 5 days. If you use a fruit curd filling, they’ll need to be stored in the refrigerator.  I would also note, that if you use a low or no sugar jam, you might also want to refrigerate them, since low sugar jams can mold more quickly.

LInzer Cookies

Tips & FAQs

As I mentioned, when you cut out the window for the top cookie, you can either reroll the extra dough for more cookies or you can bake the little cutout by itself.  Since the cookie dough has enough flavor to hold its own, I suggest turning at least of few of these into mini cookies, which are fun and cute alongside a cup of tea or coffee.

I just watched participants on a Great American Baking Show rerun bake these.  Here the judges stressed the importance of toasting the nut flour which can add both flavor and color.  While most recipes do not include this step I decided to add it as an optional step.

I love these cookies for the holidays.  But don’t you think the heart cutouts on these would make them lovely Valentine’s Day Cookies as well!

LInzer Cookies

Linzer Cookies

Linzer Cookies

A spiced shortbread cookie, sandwiched around sweetjam, Linzer Cookies are a festive treat that’s perfect for the holidays.
Author: Inger
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
chill dough 1 hr
Course Dessert
Servings 12
Calories 206 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk large size
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest finely grated
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ t baking powder
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup jam a generous teaspoon per cookie
  • Optional powdered sugar for decoration

Instructions
 

  • Optionally, toast your almond meal or flour. Place in a frying pan over medium heat and stir until golden and fragrant, 5-10 minutes.
  • Using an electric mixer beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla.
  • Whisk together flour, almond flour, orange zest, cinnamon, baking powder and salt, then stir into to butter mixture until just incorporated.
  • Divide and flatten the dough into two disks, then cover and refrigerate for an hour. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Roll the cookie dough between two sheets of wax paper until about 1/8 inch thick. Don’t worry if it cracks, just patch/press It back together.
  • Cut out cookies, then in half of them, cut a “window” using a smaller cutter to create the top pieces. Combine the dough scraps (cutout pieces may be baked alone as mini cookies or treated as scraps) and re-roll, then cut more cookies.
  • Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet and bake until the edges are turning golden, about 11-13 minutes. Bake time will vary based on cookie thickness. I found more variation between batches than usual so treat each batch as unique.  When done, let set a few minutes, then remove to a rack and cool cookies completely. 
  • To assemble place a generous teaspoon of jam on bottom half, then top with a windowed cookie.
  • You can dust the tops with powdered sugar before or after assembling.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 206kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 3gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 131mgPotassium: 26mgFiber: 1gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 259IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 28mgIron: 1mg
I am not a health professional and nutrition data is calculated programatically. Accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

2 thoughts on “Festive Linzer Cookies

  1. David Scott Allen

    I love Linzer cookies and Linzertorte — I can’t get enough at this time of year! These are beautiful, Inger. I wish I lived closer — I’d come by for one! (I took a Linzertorte to a friend’s home the other day and I left the remaining slices with her… talk about holiday regret!)

  2. Raymund

    5 stars
    Oh wow, Linzer cookies! Your family Christmas brunch memory just brought back a flood of nostalgia. Those peek-a-boo jam windows and the nutty, spiced dough were pure holiday magic

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