Not Quite Traditional Linzer Cookies

I think Linzer cookies are traditionally a bit of a holiday cookie. It’s probably because they’re a little on the fancy side with their colorful jam filling and powdered sugar topping. This fact is irrelevant to me as they’re delicious and just as tasty in September as they would be in December. Not to mention I have more time on my hands now to make complicated cookies than I will at Christmas. So if you’re like me and too busy for elaborate cookies at Christmas, you should make these now when you’ve got time to enjoy them!

They’re also traditionally made with black currant preserves in their native Austria. American versions of Linzer cookies most frequently contain raspberry preserves as they’re a lot less expensive (and easier to find) than black currant preserves. I took a nontraditional route and made my version with homemade strawberry jam.

I did stick with tradition in my use of almonds in my batch of Linzer cookies. Although I have made them in the past with hazelnuts and they would probably taste pretty good with pecans too!

The recipe I used as the basis for these cookies was found in an old holiday issue of Bon Appetit magazine. Their version was not quite traditional as well as they chose hazelnuts instead of almonds and blackberry jam instead of black currant or raspberry.

I’ve only made these cookies a couple of times as they are pretty time consuming as far as cookies go. I usually don’t have the patience for chilling cookie dough (or rolling it out) but in the case of Linzer cookies, it’s completely worth it.

If you’ve never tried a Linzer cookie, you’re missing out a little. Full of almonds, they’re buttery with a hint of spice and citrus. And they’re the perfect venue for a jar of homemade fruit jam. I used strawberry but I’m guessing that just about any type of fruit preserve would be delicious with these cookies.

Not Quite Traditional Linzer Cookies

– Adapted from a 2006 Bon Appetit recipe.

Makes about 36 sandwich cookies

1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar plus more for decorating
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups finely ground blanched almonds
1 cup strawberry jam

1. Stir flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

2. Beat butter, 1 cup powdered sugar, orange peel and lemon peel together until fluffy with a stand mixer or hand mixer.

3. Beat in egg yolks.

4. Beat in 1/3 of flour mixture. Mix until well blended and repeat twice.

5. Beat in ground almonds.

6. Gather dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.

7. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

8. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out rounds. Using 3/4-inch round cutter, cut out center of half of rounds to make rings.

9. Transfer rounds and rings to prepared sheets. Gather dough scraps and chill.

10. Bake cookies until light golden brown, reversing the sheets after 5 minutes. Bake for about 10-12 minutes total.

11. Cool completely on sheets. Repeat until all dough is used.

12. Arrange cookies with hole in center on work surface (or a large cookie sheet). Sift powdered sugar over. Spread 1 teaspoon strawberry jam on each cookie round. Gently press cookies with holes onto jam on rounds.

13. Store between sheets of waxed paper in airtight container at room temperature.

About the contributor:

Melissa McKelvey shares her recipes and adventures on her website, The Boastful Baker. She also writes the Bites and Morsels column here on Indie Fixx, which appears bimonthly on Mondays. Read more about her on the contributors’ page.

One comment

  1. hy! here in linz (austria) we eat those cookies all through the year. and you can get it in most of the bakeries and cake shop. and everyone says they make the cookies by the original recipe. funny, the cookie taste all a bit different. but sooooooooooooo good! they are also my favourite cookies!

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