Linzer Cookies originated as Linzertortes, one of the oldest known tarts with a recipe discovered in an Austrian abbey in 1653.* The recipe for this rich buttery dessert was introduced to America in 1856. In Europe, the tart was filled with black currant preserves and topped with a lattice crust but, in America, raspberry has replaced black currant as the jam most often added. Linzertortes may be a traditional European Christmas pastry, but I like them year-round!
I’ve only made Linzer Cookies a couple times in the past. I remember them as complicated. I was in the mood to try them again and came across this recipe in my Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking cookbook. There are a bunch of steps to follow but–whew!–they weren’t complicated.
Happy baking, hon!
2 cups (10 oz/315 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 oz/250 g) unsalted butter, room temperature (or margarine)
3/4 cup (3oz/90 g) confectioner’s sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
6 Tablespoons seedless raspberry jam (I used strawberry jam)
- In a small bowl, combine flour and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine butter (or margarine) and confectioner’s sugar. With mixer on medium speed, beat until smooth. Add vanilla and almond extracts and beat on low speed until well-blended.
- Add dry ingredients to butter/sugar mixture and beat until dough comes together in large clumps.
- Press dough together into a ball, divide into half, and form each half into a ball. Flatten each ball into a 5 inch (13 cm) diameter disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 40 minutes.
- Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 325 degrees F (165 C). Line two rimless baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Lightly dust work surface and rolling pin with flour. (TIP: Dough can be rolled out sandwiched between two pieces of wax paper.) Roll out dough 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. Make sure dough doesn’t stick to work surface by sliding a thin metal spatula under dough to loosen it.
- Cut out cookies with larger shape. Cut out center of HALF the cookies with smaller shape. Place shapes on prepared baking sheets. Press dough scraps together and repeat rolling and cutting process. The small center cut-outs can be baked along with the cookies.
- Bake cookies until edges are light brown, 12-15 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
- Leaving a 1/4 inch (6 mm) border uncovered, spread about 1 teaspoon of jam over each cookie without a cut-out. (TIP: If cookies rise a tiny bit while baking and aren’t flat, spread jelly on the BOTTOM of the cookies without a cut-out. That way, the two flat halves will mesh seamlessly.)
- Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust cut-out cookies with confectioner’s sugar. Place cut-out halves on jam-covered halves. Dust the miniature cookies with confectioner’s sugar. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days.
Yield: This depends on the size of your cookie cutters. This batch yielded 24 cookies sandwiches and 24 miniature cookies.
Vegan: There are no eggs in this recipe and margarine can be substituted for butter.
*Source: More interesting Linzertorte and Linzer Cookie info on the site Food Reference.