With its trademark windowpane of jam and dusting of powdered sugar, Linzer cookies are one of the prettiest confections on a cookie plate. They are a bit labour intensive, but not difficult to make. Perfect to make with friends or family. They keep for a few days in the fridge or can be frozen for up to a month.
Makes about 24 cookies
1 cup (150 grams) whole almonds (blanched or natural) or 1 1/4 cups of fine ground almond flour
2 cups (260 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
Zest of one small lemon
1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter (room temp)
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar, divided into 1/4 & 1/2 cups
1 teaspoon (5 grams) pure vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks (room temp)
1/2 cup (60 grams) icing/powdered/confectioners sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) jam (raspberry is traditional, but you can use whatever you fancy)
If using whole almonds, toast them on a baking sheet in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow the almonds to cool. Combine nuts and 1/4 cup of sugar in a food processor and blitz until finely ground. If you’re using almond flour, skip this step and just combine the 1/4 cup sugar with the almond flour in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and remaining sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract and yolks. Once combined, beat in the ground almond/sugar mix and finally, the flour mixture. Divide the dough into two equal discs, cover with plastic wrap and allow to firm up in the fridge. Depending on your fridge and the warmth of your kitchen, this can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. If you’re making these ahead (smart!), the dough can be stored for up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove one disc of dough from the fridge and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Lightly flour your surface and roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness (1/2 cm). Using a 3 inch (7.5 cm) cookie cutter, cut out the cookies, placing them an inch apart on the parchment papered cookie sheet.
To make the signature Linzer cookie “window pane”, you’ll need a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the centre of half of the cut-out cookies on the baking sheet. It’s a good idea to bake the cookies with the windows on one baking sheet and the window-less ones separately as the bake times can be slightly different. Reroll any scraps and cut out the remaining cookies. Place cut out cookies in the fridge while you do the same with the remaining dough. This will keep them from spreading.
Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Do not over bake. These cookies are meant to be pale. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on a wire rack.
Prep your filling. Measure out the jam and make sure it’s well-stirred. If you want to sieve out any seeds, now would be the time. Raspberry jam is traditional, but you can use whatever jam you like. A mix of different jewel-toned jams can be very pretty.
Assemble: Once cooled, spread jam on the bottom halves of each cookie, leaving a small border all around. Place the cut out cookies or tops on a baking sheet and lightly dust with icing sugar. Place the cut-out cookie on top and gently sandwich them together. Use a spoon or piping bag to fill the open centers of the cookies with more jam. Keep stored in an airtight container for up to several days. The cookies soften up as they sit. If you want a crisp cookie, eat them the day you assemble them.
Freezing: You can freeze Linzer cookies pre-assembled in an airtight container for up to a month. When ready to assemble, bring the cookies to room temperature before filling and dusting with powdered sugar.
You CAN also freeze assembled cookies can also be frozen, but the texture may be softer than fresh ones. If you don’t mind a softer cookies, this is a good option. The jam won’t freeze solid, so you’ll have to put a layer of parchment or waxed paper between layers of cookies in the storage container. And hold off on the powdered sugar until you’re ready to serve. Make sure the cookies are completely thawed and at room temperature before you dust with sugar or it will just melt into the biscuits.