These buttery, melt-in-your mouth, jam-filled Linzer Cookies with citrus and almond make a beautiful presentation and are always a hit on my holiday cookie trays.
What Are Linzer Cookies?
Linzer cookies (or Linzer tarts) are a sandwich cookie based on the classic Austrian cake, Linzer torte. Made with a nut and citrus-scented shortbread (usually ground hazelnuts or almonds), the jam-filled cookies are dusted with powdered sugar before serving.
Linzer cookies differ from other sandwich cookies in that the top layer of shortbread has a small cutout in the center. This makes the layer of jam visible from the top. The shape of the cutout can be anything you like, from a simple circle, square, or diamond, to more intricate and festive shapes for the holidays.
Tip: You can purchase holiday-themed Linzer cutout sets at many craft and baking supply stores, or use any tiny cookie cutters you have in your collection for the centers.
What You’ll Need to Make this Linzer Cookie Recipe
My Linzer Cookie recipe differs slightly from many classic recipes. A European bakery near me makes Linzer tarts that have a crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture. They’re delectable, and I wanted to recreate this at home. It took me a couple of Christmas seasons until I got it just right!
I ended up using a softer, lower-protein cake flour (instead of all-purpose) and confectioner’s sugar (instead of granulated) in the cookie dough itself. These cookies are a bit more delicate than other Linzer recipes, but their texture makes them incredibly moreish.
These Linzer tarts are always gone in the blink of an eye when I give them as gifts or entertain friends for the holidays!
Tips for Making Linzer Cookies
- Linzer cookies are usually made with ground nuts. I streamline my baking process just a bit by using almond flour. For the best flavor, make sure that the almond flour you’re using is fresh.
To give the cookies extra depth, you can lightly-toast the almond flour. (Instructions are in the recipe notes.)
- Don’t skip the chilling times in the recipe. The dough is very buttery, and chilling will make cutting the cookies much easier. Well-chilled dough will also spread less when it bakes.
- Dust the top cookies (with the small cutouts) with powdered sugar before sandwiching. You don’t want the pretty jam center to get covered!
- Try different jam flavors for filling your Linzer Cookies. Red currant and red raspberry (I most often use seedless) are traditional. I’ve also made them with apricot, strawberry, and blackberry to rave reviews.
- Resist the temptation to overfill the cookies, or the jam will seep out from the sides. You only need about a teaspoonful.
- These cookies are a beautiful addition to holiday cookie trays, but I don’t find that they stand up well to shipping. They’re too delicate and can crumble easily. For a list of cookies that do ship well, check out my How to Ship Cookies guide.
More Recipes for Holiday Cookie Trays:
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Venetian Cookies
- White Chocolate Chai Shortbread Cookies
- Austrian Walnut Crescents
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- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
- ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar (85 grams), plus additional for dusting
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 3 cups unsifted cake flour (not self-rising), 342 grams
- 1 cup almond flour (96 grams)*
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup red currant or red raspberry jam (seedless, if desired) – or your favorite jam flavor
- Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until creamy. Add ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar and beat until fluffy. Scrape bowl and add egg yolk, vanilla, and orange zest. Mix until combined.
- In a large bowl, sift together cake flour, kosher salt, and cinnamon. Stir in almond flour. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in 3 additions, mixing on medium low until just combined. Scrape the bowl before each new addition.
- Divide dough into 4 portions and wrap each in plastic wrap, flattening into discs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Roll each disc of dough between 2 pieces of wax paper to ⅛-inch thick. Stack rolled dough rounds and refrigerate for an additional 20-30 minutes, until firm.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Working with 1 chilled dough round at a time, remove the wax paper and use a 2-⅜ to 2-½-inch round fluted cookie cutter to shape the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet, about 1-inch apart.
- Use a small holiday cookie cutter (or any shape you’d like) to cut a design in the centers of half of the cookies. (I like to do this while they’re on the baking pan, so I don’t have to move them again before baking.) Re-roll and cut the scraps as above, chilling the dough as needed if it gets too warm to cut cleanly.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, until just lightly golden around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then use a thin spatula to carefully transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
- Repeat the process with the remaining rounds of chilled dough, using cooled baking sheets for each. If rolling and cutting cookies while another batch is baking, place the baking sheet with the cut dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
- To assemble, dust the tops of the cookies that have cutouts with confectioner’s sugar. Spread about 1 teaspoon of jam onto the backs of the whole cookies (so the pretty side of the cookie will show) and top with a sugar-dusted cutout.
- Store assembled cookies, tightly covered, at room temperature for 3 days. Or, store the cookies, unassembled, for up to 5 days and dust and fill when ready to serve.
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