Linzer cookies are a holiday staple. Crisp, buttery, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Dusted with powdered sugar and filled with homemade cranberry sauce, this might be the best Christmas cookie ever!
LINZER COOKIE INGREDIENTS
We are using almond flour but you could use any kind of nut flour like hazelnut or pistachio!
I’m making a yummy cranberry jam for my Linzer cookies but any kind of sweet jam or filling would work! You can even use storebought jam if you don’t want to make your own.
HOW DO YOU USE A LINZER COOKIE CUTTER?
Linzer cookies are often made using a Linzer cookie cutter. These cookie cutters usually have a fluted outer edge and a center cutter that is detachable so that you can make the cookies with the center cut out.
Some Linzer cookie cutters are all one piece. Use one side to cut the backs of the cookies and then flip the cutter over to cut the front of the cookie with the window.
You don’t have to have a Linzer cookie cutter, you can use any cutter that you have and use a smaller cutter to make the window. Whatever cookie cutter you use, be sure to dust it with a little flour to prevent sticking while you cut your cookies.
WHAT IS A LINZER COOKIE?
Linzer cookies are an Austrian sweet made from the dough of a Linzer torte which just happens to be the oldest written recipe in existence. Named after the city of Linz, Austria, the torte is a kind of pie with a sweet black currant filling, sliced nuts, and an almond-based lattice crust. Dating back to 1655 when nuts were much easier to come by than ground-up wheat flour and less expensive.
Eventually, someone had the grand idea to cut that dough into cookies shaped like hearts, stars, and circles. Half of the cookies would get the center cut out and this is called a Linzer eye. After the Linzer cookies were baked, they were traditionally filled with a black currant jam and dusted with powdered sugar.
Franz Holzlhuber, an Austrian immigrant, immigrated to America as a musician, artist, and poet. He is credited for bringing Linzertorte to America in the 1850s.
So basically, a Linzer cookie is a tiny Linzer torte. Now, there are all kinds of Linzer cookie variations. They can be filled with any type of sweet filling like raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, or even chocolate ganache.
CRANBERRY FILLING STEP BY STEP
I like to make my cranberry filling ahead of time to give it time to cool down. You can easily make this a few days in advance if you like and leftovers freeze well. Don’t like cranberry? Try making raspberry filling instead.
Step 1 – Combine water, sugar, zest, juice, and cranberries together in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it begins to simmer. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
Step 2 – Reduce the heat to medium and let the mixture reduce for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is thickened.
Step 3 – Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool before using.
Step 4 – Once your filling is cool, use an immersion blender or blender to make your cranberry filling smoother and easier to pipe. Totally optional.
Pro-Tip: For a thicker filling, combine 2 tsp cornstarch with 1 Tablespoon cool water to make a slurry. Add the cornstarch to the filling at the end of cooking and cook for an extra minute to thicken.
HOW TO MAKE LINZER COOKIES STEP BY STEP
Step 1 – Combine your cake crumbs, cake flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and almond flour together with a whisk. (If you don’t have cake crumbs you can replace them with more almond flour) Set aside.
Pro-Tip: You can use any kind of nut flour for this recipe including hazelnut, pistachio or cashew!
Step 2 – In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until it’s light and fluffy.
Step 3 – Add the room temperature egg and vanilla to your butter/sugar mixture and mix until it’s incorporated.
Step 4 – While mixing on low, add in your flour mixture and mix until the dough comes together. Don’t over-mix it.
Step 5 – Divide the dough into two flattened disks and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
LINZER COOKIE ASSEMBLY
Step 1 – Preheat your oven to 325ºF and line a cookie sheet with some parchment paper.
Step 2 – Let your dough warm up until you can roll it out without it cracking. Mine took about an hour.
Step 3 – Dust the rolling pin and the surface with some flour to prevent sticking. Roll your dough out to 1/8″ thick.
Step 4 – Use the Linzer cookie cutter without the window attachment and cut out 24 backs. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.
Step 5 – Use the Linzer cookie cutter WITH the window attachment and cut out 24 fronts. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the edges just begin to turn golden brown.
Pro-Tip: If you have any leftover dough you can press it together and roll out more fronts and backs and bake them off.
Step 6 – Transfer your baked cookies to cool on a cooling rack.
Step 7 – Dust the fronts with some powdered sugar.
Step 8 – Fill a piping bag with your cranberry filling. Pipe some filling around the outside of one of the back cookies, about 1/4″ thick.
Step 9 – Place the front cookie on top and gently press down.
Step 10 – Fill the center of the cookie with some more cranberry filling.
Your cranberry filling will develop a skin after 24 hours and will then be suitable to package if you desire.
HOW TO STORE LINZER COOKIES
You can freeze the dough before rolling it out for up to 6 months (thaw in the fridge) or freeze the finished cookies airtight for 1 month.
Linzer Cookie Recipe
- 6 ounces (170 g) unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 ounces (113 g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large (1.76 oz) egg room temperature
- 1 ounce (28 g) cake crumbs or cake flour
- 8 ounces (227 g) cake flour cannot substitute with AP flour
- 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 ounces (85 g) almond flour or hazelnut flour, a combination of both, or pistachio flour
- 12 ounces (340 g) cranberries
- 7 ounces (198 g) sugar
- 8 ounces (227 g) water
- 1 Tablespoon orange zest
- 3 Tablespoons orange juice
- Linzer cookie cutter (or two cutters, one about 2" and one 1/2")
- I'm using homemade cranberry filling for my linzer tarts, but you can use any flavor that you want. Strawberry, raspberry and fig are some other great alternatives.
- Combine the cranberries, water, sugar, juice and zest into a medium stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a simmer.
- Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes or until it has reduced and thickened. Let it coole before using. (use a blender to smooth out the filling once it's cool if you don't like chunky filling).
- Whisk together the flour, cake crumbds, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and almond flour in a bowl and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. About 2 minutes.
- Add in your room temperature egg and vanilla and mix until cohesive.
- While mixing on low, add your flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until the dough comes together. Do not over mix.
- Divide dough in 2 flattened disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
- Dust your rolling pin and your surface with flour to prevent sticking. Roll the dough out 1/8" thick with a rolling pin.
- Cut an even amount of solid cookies and cookies with a window with your Linzer cookie cutter. I got about 15 of each.
- Place all the backs on one sheet and all the fronts on another. The fronts will bake a little faster than the backs.
- Bake the backs at 325ºF for 10-12 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden brown. Bake the fronts for 9-11 minutes.
- Transfer your cookies to a cooling rack to fully cool down.
- Dust the fronts with some powdered sugar
- Pipe some cranberry filling around the edge of the back cookie (dont fill the center)
- Press the front cookie on gently, then pipe more cranberry filling into the center
- The filling will develop a skin after 24 hours.