These melt-in-your mouth cookies are a holiday classic. Buttery soft cookies get filled with your favorite fruit jam for a festive holiday treat.
Linzer Cookies are a holiday classic at any gathering with friends or family. Made with a tender and buttery dough and filled with fruit jams of all varieties, these are one of my favorite cookies to make with my mom and family during the holiday season.
They are almost too pretty to eat, with their snow-like dusting of powdered sugar and cut-out that shows the surprise filling inside. These Linzer Cookies are similar to my Thumbrint Cookies but have a more decorative design and two layers of buttery cookie. This simple recipe can be made in the food processor and doesn’t require any hard-to-find ingredients.
What is a Linzer Cookie
Linzer Cookies originate from Austria, inspired by the famous Linzer Torte. Believed to be the oldest cake in the world, the Linzer Torte was created in the 1600s in Linz, Austria. It is made with a buttery pastry dough topped with fruit preserves and a lattice design top crust that shows the jammy filling.
Linzer Cookies are an adaptation of the torte, featuring a similar dough as the cookie and filled with fruit preserves. Instead of a lattice crust, the top cookie has a hole cut out so the jam shows through. They are made in a variety of shapes and flavors, but my favorite is a classic raspberry linzer cookie with a light dusting of powdered sugar. You could also try making your own jam, like my Fig Jam, for an extra challenge.
Making the dough
While some Linzer Cookies require nuts, I like to use a simple flour and butter recipe. For the best Linzer Cookie recipe you want a simple, rich buttery dough that gets rolled thin to sandwich a fruity jam filling inside. This butter dough recipe is easy to make and doesn’t require any tools besides a food processor.
To begin, make sure your butter is very cold. I like to cut it into cubes and stick them in the freezer for a couple minutes before processing with the rest of the ingredients. It’s a trick I use for my Perfect Pie Crust that helps keep the dough soft and tender.
Process your flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined and then add in the chilled butter. If you don’t have powdered sugar you can replace it with ½ cup granulated sugar but the cookies won’t be as tender or have that melt-in-your mouth texture that is an important part of the Linzer Cookie.
Pulse the mixture several times, until it becomes crumbly and resembles a coarse meal. Add in your egg yolk and vanilla, and keep pulsing until the mixture starts to clump together and become a dough.
The Linzer Cookie dough should still be crumbly with large clumps. If it looks too dry you can add a bit of water, but test it first by taking a piece of dough and pressing it between your thumbs. If it sticks together without feeling dry then it is done. You want to make sure not to overwork the dough, since that will give you tough cookies, and not the tender ones you want for these melt-in-your-mouth cookies.
Scrape the dough out of the food processor onto a floured surface and form it into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days. The dough needs time to chill before you roll it out and shape your cookies.
Rolling out the dough
Linzer Cookies are made out of Linzer Cookie cutters or two different sized round cookie cutters that can be purchased here. Round cookie cutters can be used for other recipes and the set gives you a wide variety of sizes to work with.
Now that you’re ready to roll out the dough, preheat the oven to 350ºF and prepare your baking sheets so they’re ready by the time you have cut out the circles for your Linzer Cookies. On a floured surface, roll out the chilled dough until it’s about ⅛ to ¼ inch thick. I prefer to keep these cookies thin, since you’ll have two layers in each final cookie.
Using a 2-inch, or the larger cookie cutter, cut out 60 rounds and set on the lined baking sheets. Cut a hole in the center of 30 of the cookies using the smaller rounded cookie cutter. These will end up being the tops of your Linzer Cookies and will let the jam show through.
If your dough ends up getting too soft during this process, simply stick the dough in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up before continuing with the cutting. I sometimes even stick the prepared baking sheets in the freezer for 5 minutes before baking to help the cookies keep their shape while in the oven.
Baking and filling the cookies
Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let them cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Once cooled, sift powdered sugar on top of the cookies with the holes.
With your cooled cookies, put about ½ a teaspoon of your favorite jam in the center of the circles without holes and place a dusted and cut out circle on top. Press gently, being careful not to squeeze any jam out of the center.
These Linzer Cookies are best eaten right away, but can also be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for a week. With the holidays upon us, you can store these in a decorated tin or box and give them to someone you care about as a nice sweet treat. Buttery, tender and melt-in-your-mouth, these are some of my favorite cookies to make for the holidays.
- 2 1/4 cups (315g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (90g) powdered sugar*
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 200 g (1 and 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter , cut into 1/4-inch cubes and chilled
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Filling: 1/2 cup strawberry jam or other jam of your choice
Process flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor for a few seconds until combined. Add butter and pulse several times until mixture becomes crumbly and resembles coarse meal. Add egg yolk and vanilla, and keep pulsing until dough starts to clump together. The dough should be crumbly with large clumps. If dough is too dry, add a bit of water. Another way to check if the dough is done is to take a piece of dough and press it between your thumbs – the dough should stick well together without feeling dry. Avoid overworking the dough throughout the process.
- Turn the dough to a floured surface and form into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Line pans with parchment paper and set aside.
- Roll out dough on a floured surface until it’s about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (for sandwich cookies I prefer thin cookies). Cut 30 rounds or hearts of dough using a 2 inch (5 cm) cookie cutter. Using a smaller round (or other shape) cutter, cut a hole into the center of 30 of the cookies.
- Transfer cookies gently using a thin spatula to the prepared baking sheets, placing them 1 inch apart.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes or until cookies are golden just at the edges. Let cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Sift powdered sugar on top of the cookies with the holes.
Put about 1/2 teaspoon of jam in the center of the whole cookies, then place the cookies with the holes on top, and press gently.
- Store cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
*Powdered sugar can be replaced with 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Cookies with powdered sugar will have a more tender, melt-in-you-mouth texture.