Linzer cookies are pretty much guaranteed to be the most beautiful cookies on your holiday cookie tray! They’re much simpler to make than you might think, and while traditional recipes use nuts I include an option to make these completely nut-free. Recipe also includes a step-by-step video!
When I started planning my cookie list for this baking season I really wasn’t planning on baking my way around the world, but somehow that seems to be what’s happened.
We’ve journeyed to Greece with baklava, Argentina with alfajores, and most recently to Poland with rugelach. Today we explore Austrian Linzer Cookies and on Wednesday I’ll end this cultural cookie whirlwind with a Russian (or is it Mexican… hint) cookie recipe for you.
What are Linzer Cookies, Anyway?
Linzer cookies, as I mentioned, originated in Austria. Linz, Austria, to be specific. They are derived from the Linzer Torte, a traditional pastry that was a made with a lattice pie crust and filled with jam. Today’s recipe is simply a cookie version of the torte, one that’s commonly served around Christmastime.
The cookies themselves are buttery and firm while still being soft enough to break easily beneath your teeth (makes for easy eating!). They’re commonly made with ground nuts; I use almond flour, but include notes if you want to go nut-free.
The coarseness of the almond flour lends itself to a slightly crumbly and ultimately melt-in-your mouth consistency, in addition to a subtly present nutty flavor (delicious). It’s similar to my shortbread cookies but even better, enriched with brown sugar and cinnamon (optional) and, of course, resplendent with a bright jammy center.
All this to say: you’re going to love them, and they might just be the prettiest cookies on your Christmas cookie tray this year.
Ingredients for Linzer Cookies
As usual, let’s take a second to talk about a few of the key players in the ingredient list.
- Corn starch. Corn starch helps to make the cookies light and tender. It’s a key ingredient in many of my recipes (I used quite a bit of it in the alfajores I just shared, if you recall).
- Almond flour. Linzer cookies are traditionally made with ground nuts. You can finely grind your own almonds for a coarser cookie texture or just use almond flour like I have here. I have also included notes in the recipe in case you want to make this recipe completely nut-free!
- Sugar. As with many of my cookie recipes, I use a blend of granulated and brown sugar for the best flavor. It’s a relatively small bit of brown sugar, but it really makes a difference in the final product!
- Ground cinnamon. This adds a subtle depth of flavor and sweet accent to the cookies, but you may leave it out if you prefer.
- Jam! Buy yourself a quality jam for the filling (or make your own; my raspberry cake filling would work!). While Linzer cookies are traditionally filled with jam, there are a number of different filling options as well and I’ve listed some of my favorites in the FAQ section a bit further down.
Remember, this is just an overview of some of the ingredients used here and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Linzer Cookies
The dough for my Linzer cookies is similar to the one I used for my alfajores. It’s simple to make, requires minimal chilling, is easy to work with and doesn’t spread in the oven. To make your cookies, start by preparing your dough.
- Cream together your butter, sugars, and cinnamon until light and fluffy. Adding the cinnamon at this point rather than with the flour helps to really infuse the flavor in the cookie dough. Next stir in your vanilla extract.
- Separately, whisk together flour, almond flour, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually add this to your wet ingredients until you have a cohesive dough.
- Chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and make your cutouts. Make sure you cut out an even number of whole cookies and cookies with a design! I’ve linked to the cookie cutters that I used in my Equipment section in the recipe.
- Bake until edges are beginning to turn a light golden brown, then allow to cool completely.
- Dust the tops of all of your cookies with cutouts. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of jam on the bottom of your remaining cookies and sandwich with one of your top cookies.
Tip: If you wish to dust your cookies with powdered sugar, dust them before sandwiching the cookies. Otherwise you’ll cover up your pretty jam “window” with powdered sugar, which defeats the purpose!
Frequently Asked Questions
Most often this happens if your flour is accidentally over-measured. Be sure to check out my post on how to measure flour!
Using butter that is too warm can make the dough too soft and sticky and difficult to work with. Sometimes you may also run into this problem if you over-mix the dough. While this is difficult to do with cookie dough, over-mixing it can cause the butter to become too warm, which in turn makes for a sticky and difficult-to-handle dough.
The dough can often be saved by chilling for longer or dusting your surface and the dough with more flour.
Yes, you can make these without nuts! Simply leave out the almond flour and increase the amount of cornstarch in the recipe to ¼ cup. I include more detailed instructions on how to do this in the “Notes” section of the recipe.
Yes! You can use your favorite flavor of jam (raspberry is my personal favorite because it has a bit of tartness to it that complements the sweet cookies in a wonderful way, but black currant would be commemorative of traditional Linzer Torte filling). Also, while these are not traditional fillings, chocolate ganache, Nutella, and dulce de leche are some of my favorite alternative fillings!
More Recipes You Might Like
Psst! Have you checked out my new ebook of my 25 favorite holiday recipes? This recipe is included in the ebook as well as several ebook exclusive recipes!
Let’s bake together! Make sure to check out the how-to VIDEO in the recipe card!
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened (226g)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar firmly packed
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour (250g)
- ⅔ cup almond flour (67g) (see note to make these nut free)
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup raspberry jam (160g)
- Powdered sugar for dusting optional
- Combine butter, sugars, and cinnamon and use an electric mixer to beat until light and fluffy (at least 30-60 seconds). Stir in vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together all purpose flour, almond flour, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually stir into butter mixture until combined (don’t over-mix, but make sure dough is completely combined).
- Form dough into 2 discs and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. While dough is chilling, preheat oven 350F (175C).
- Once dough has chilled, work with one disc at a time and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll into a ⅛” thick sheet. Cut into 2 ½” circles (I like to use cookie cutters with scalloped edges) and transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spacing cookies at least 2” apart. Use a small heart or star shaped cookie cutter (or, if you don’t have one, just use the larger circular end of a piping tip) to cut designs in the center of half of the cookies.
- Bake the cookies with cutouts on a separate tray from the ones without cutouts to ensure even baking. (I usually take the heart cutouts and just re-roll them with the rest of the cookie scraps to make more cookies)
- Bake in 350F (175C) preheated oven for 9-10 minutes or cookies are just beginning to turn light golden brown on the edges. Allow to cool completely before filling.
- Once cooled, dust the tops of all of your cookies that have the windows/cutouts. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of jam on the bottom of your remaining cookies and sandwich with one of your top cookies.