Holiday Linzer Cookies

10:40 AM

Merry Christmas Eve! I'm cutting it close by posting these holiday cookies the day before Christmas! But in case you're still in need of a traditional Christmas cookie recipe (or just want to keep celebrating Christmas afterward), I've got you covered. I've made these cookies twice this season, testing out different recipes. And I believe my search has been successful. I decided on this one.

So what are linzer cookies? They are traditional Christmas cookies that originated in Linz, Austria. The cookies are made with a nut flour, then sandwiched with jelly or preserves and dusted with powdered sugar. The small cut-out in the center is traditionally a circle, but other shapes, such as stars and hearts, have also become popular. (Side note: The hearts would be so cute for Valentine's Day, especially with red jam showing through!) If you've heard of the linzer torte, it basically the same recipe, but adapted for cookies.

I got this linzer cookie cutter set from World Market and it has been so fun to use!!. It comes with five different cut-out shapes. (The star is perfect for Christmas!) If you don't want to buy a cookie cutter set, you can use a round cookie cutter for the main part of the cookie and use the round end of a piping tip (or a very very small cookie cutter) for the center.

A word on the filling: The first time I made these, I didn't bother going out to buy jam. I used whatever I had in the refrigerator! Lemon curd, apple butter, pomegranate jam, and orange marmalade. The second time, I actually did get some cherry jam to fill all of them with. They were delicious both ways. This recipe is pretty flexible as far as the filling goes. (Try it with Nutella!)

Linzer Cookies

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • jam, or other filling
Beat the butter, sugar, and zest together for three minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla. Beat until combined.

Mix the flour, almond flour, and salt together. Then add to the wet ingredients. Mix until it's just combined.

Divide the dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerator for approximately 1 hour, or until the dough is firm.

Roll out one half of the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Use the cookie cutter without a center cut-out to make the base of the cookies. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the cut-out cookies in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, begin cutting out the top of the cookies using the cookie cutter with a center cut-out. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Swap them with the cookies in the refrigerator.

Put the cookies you took out of the refrigerator in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. They should not be very brown when you take them out of the oven, except for a little color around the edges. Leave them on the baking sheet to cool.

Take out the cookies in the refrigerator and bake them in the oven, this time for 9 minutes (because of the center cut-out, there is less cookie dough to bake). Again, they should not be very brown when you take them out, except for a little on the edges. Leave them on the baking sheet to cool.

Once the cookies have cooled, remove them from the baking sheet. Put a dollop of jam in the very center of the cookie without a cut-out. Top with a cookie with a center cut-out so that the jam peeks through the middle. Dust with powdered sugar.

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