Soft baked Linzer cookies with a delicious jam filling.
Linzer cookies are probably the most popular Austrian Christmas cookies of all time. Their soft and buttery texture makes them a popular treat for the Christmas season. Filled with red currant or raspberry jam, they are a sweet and tangy delight.
While I will always be a traditionalist when it comes to Linzer cookies, I decided to adapt the classic recipe slightly and use non-traditional cookie cutters for this recipe. Linzer cookies are typically small, round and have 3 holes in the middle (also referred to as eyes). They are most often filled with red currant jam and which is sandwiched between two cookie layers and gives the cookie its typical soft texture. Today, however, I am using my beloved snowflake cookie cutters which I found at a Christmas market a few years back. While I unfortunately cannot link to them, I found these cookie cutters which are very similar to the ones I used.
Linzer cookies are typically made with blanched almond flour to give them a light and delicate appearance. If you do not have any on hand, feel free to use whole almond flour. The cookies will be slightly darker but they’ll still taste great. If you’d rather make your own almond flour, simply process blanched (or whole) almonds in a strong blender or food processor until the texture resembles flour. Make sure to sieve the homemade almond flour before adding it to the rest of the ingredients to get out any clumps.
For the jam filling, I used a seedless mixed berry jam. You can use any jam you have on hand, just make sure it is seedless. While you can substitute vanilla extract for the vanilla bean, I do not recommend it. Since the dough has a short list of ingredients, each ingredient really shines through and using a vanilla bean does make a huge difference.
Tip: After scraping out the seeds of the vanilla bean, don’t throw out the pod! It still contains a lot of flavor. Save it for the next time you are making hot chocolate and add it to the milk or use it to make your own diy vanilla sugar or diy vanilla extract…there are so many ways to use those pricy pods! 🙂
The cookie for Linzer cookies is the perfect dough for cut out cookies. The cookies hold their shape perfectly and the edges stay nice and sharp. Due to them not spreading, you do not have to worry about spacing on the cookie sheet. The cookies can be placed closely together as they do not expand while they bake.
The baking time is dependant on the size of your cookie cutters, the thickness of the rolled out dough as well as the strength of your oven. My 7cm cookies (2.6 inches) needed exactly 10 minutes to bake. If you are working with smaller cookie cutters, be sure to cut away from the baking time. The cookies are done when they are slightly browned on the edges. I am talking slightly here. If you are unsure of how long your cookies need to bake, you can do a test run. Simply bake 1 cookie and see how long it takes until the edges are golden.
Be sure to remove the cookies when they are still slightly undone. Just like soft baked chocolate cookies, Linzer cookies firm up once cooled.
Linzer cookie make wonderful Christmas gifts since they keep well at room temperature and can be made ahead of time. They stay fresh and soft for 3 weeks when stored in an airtight container. I usually make 2 batches in the beginning of Dec and use them for gifts throughout the month. For a pretty presentation I like to package them in cellophane and put a ribbon around the top and a little tag.
Soft baked Linzer cookies with a delicious jam filling.
- 200g cold butter or cold vegan butter, (7 oz)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- pinch of salt
- 150g white granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
- 1 egg or vegan egg replacer for 1 egg
- 200g flour* (1 and 1/2 cups)
- 100g almond flour (1 cup)
- extra flour for rolling
- seedless raspberry or red currant jam for filling
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Add the butter, vanilla extract, lemon zest and salt to the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix everything together for 1 minute.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix everything together on low speed until you have a homogenous dough.
- Divide the dough into two parts and shape into discs. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a floured surface, roll out the dough and cut out the cookies with your cookie cutters.** Keep the surface and rolling pin well floured as you work. Always cut out two pairs- one bottom cookie and one top cookie (with a hole).
- Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely.
- Once the cookies have completely cooled, dust the top cookies (the ones with a hole) with powdered sugar. Place a small dollop of jam into the center of a bottom cookie and gently press a top cookie onto it.
*I prefer making these cookies with spelt flour (type 700; not wholegrain) for the best flavour, but wheat flour works just as well.
**If the dough is still too cold, let it warm up slightly for about 15 minutes on the kitchen counter or knead it a bit with your hands. If the dough starts to become too soft as you are cutting out cookies, place the dough back into the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Store cookies in an airtight container in at room temperature (or more ideally in a dry cold place, eg cellar) for up to 3 weeks.