Homemade melt in your mouth Linzer cookies prepared from scratch.
I show you how to make these classic Austrian cookies in ease. My Oma's recipe!
What are Linzer Cookies?
The Linzer cookie is a tender, nutty double-decker confection with a peek-a-boo jam eye.
The traditional Linzer cookies are scalloped and have three jam eyes. But often, you can find cookies with just one big opening, which can be of any shape, such as hearts or even little Christmas trees.
The unique shape of the cookies that make them instantly recognizable.
The Linzer cookie is named after the city of Linz in Austria and is closely related to the famous Linzer Torte that uses a similar kind of dough.
It has the distinction of being the oldest recorded cake recipe, dating all the way back to 1653, where it first appeared in the city archives.
Linz was an important trading centre during the Middle Ages as it was situated on an Adriatic trade route.
The Linzer dough bears testimony to that multicultural legacy by including exotic (for that time) ingredients, such as lemons, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
The cookie is called Linzeraugen in German.
The Linzer dough, that the cookies are made of is quite special in itself as it contains a unique combination of a generous amount of butter, nuts, and warm fragrant spices.
This traditional Austrian cookie is made of a kind of shortbread dough and simply melts in your mount, filling it with nutty goodness.
You will need (measurements in recipe card further below):
- all purpose flour
- almond flour (brown or white)
- powdered sugar (icing sugar)
- egg yolks
- cinnamon and or clove, lemon zest
How to make Linzer Cookies?
Here is an overview on how you can make these cookies easily at home from scratch this holiday season.
The complete recipe to print with US and metric measurements and instructions is located at the bottom of this post.
Step 1 - Prepare the dough
Combine the flour, sugar, almond flour, and seasoning in a bowl. Make a mold and add the egg yolk together with the soft butter.
Mix all the ingredients with your hands until you have a smooth dough.
Cool the dough for at least 1 hour in the fridge.
Step 2 - roll, cut out and bake
Roll out the dough to a 3mm thickness and cut out the cookie bottom and cookie covers with the three-hole cutter (or using any other shape to cut out the hole).
Bake the cookies halves separately at 350° Fahrenheit/ 180° Celcius for about 10 minutes.
After the cookies have cooled down, sprinkle sugar over the cookie tops and spread some jam on the bottom part of the cookies.
Then place the part with the cut-out hole(s) on top. Dust the cookies with some powdered sugar.
Useful Tips to get it right!
This dough is a bit tricky to work with. But if you follow these tips, the result will be very rewarding.
- This dough should be cooled in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so that it becomes easier to roll out without crumbling or getting sticky.
- You should roll out the dough to a thickness of 0.3-0.5 mm.
- Use a good amount of flour on your surface and rolling pin while rolling out and working with the dough to prevent it from sticking and crumbling.
- Do not overwork the dough as the butter in the dough will melt due to the warmth of your hands. Work swiftly and make two batches of your dough, keeping one batch in the fridge while you work on the second batch.
- There are special Linzer cookie cutters available with a scalloped edge and interchangeable centers. But you can easily manage with what you have in the kitchen by using a smaller cookie cutter for the center and a bigger round cookie cutter for the cookie itself. If you do not have any cookie cutters, a cup or a glass will do, and you can use the neck of a bottle to punch out the center hole.
There are many different Linzer cookie cutters available, ranging from circles and other geometric shapes to hearts and more elaborate shapes, such as angels, Santa Claus, reindeer, or Christmas trees.
You can also get creative with the filing and use your imagination. You can use not only different jams and jellies to fill the center, but you can also add lemon curd, caramel, dulce de leche, or Nutella.
You can dip the cookies in melted chocolate and sprinkle them with sugar, groundnuts, and colorful sprinkles.
In a cool European climate, the cookies can be simply stored in a tin box lined with parchment paper.
You can add apple peel over the top layer of parchment paper so that the cookies remaining moist.
But should be consumed within 1-2 months.
If you live in a warm, humid climate, store the cookies in an airtight container away from heat.
You can store the cookies in an airtight container in the fridge too.
Put in a glass jar and decorated with a ribbon, these cookies make a beautiful gift.
Turn the dough into a simple shortcrust dough by using water or milk instead of eggs. Add the water or milk little by little, until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
The Linzer cookies and Linzer Torte use a similar dough. The torte, which is actually a pie, is decorated with a lattice on top of it.
This might not be the best idea because thawing will make them soggy. But you can freeze the dough. Just make sure to defrost it gradually overnight in the refrigerator.
Traditionally, Linzer cookies herald the coming of winter in the German-speaking parts of Europe and fill homes with their spicy and buttery fragrance and lend a festive appearance to tables around Christmas time. Now, they are available all year round and change their shape according to the occasion; heart-shaped Linzer cookies with a bright-red jam heart are available around Valentine’s Day. Those are called Spitzbuben cookies.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comment section further below!
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Linzer Cookies Recipe
- 3.5 ounces Jelly or Jam an estimate, I use red currant jelly
- Powdered Sugar
- Combine the all-purpose flour, almond flour, sugar, cinnamon, and other seasonings in a bowl. Make a mold and add the egg yolk together with the soft butter and water
- Mix it all well and create a smooth nonsticky dough. Add more or less water, I just pour in water, batch by batch while mixing it all up, that way the dough won't turn out too wet or too dry.
- Keep it to cool for at least 30 mins in your fridge. One hour is even better.
- Preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit/ 180° Celcius just before you intend to roll out your dough.
- Take out your dough and cut into 2 halves. Roll out both doughs to a 3-millimeter thickness and cut out with the cookie cutters.
- Cut out the base with the larger cookie cutter and the top with the three dots cookie cutter or any other Linzer cookie cutter/ smaller sized cookie cutter of your choice. For each base, there should be a top, because they will have to be sandwiched to create your Linzer.
- Bake them at 350° Fahrenheit/ 180° Celcius! for about 8 minutes or until golden but not brown.
- Keep them to cool for 5 minutes or so. When they are still hot, sprinkle powdered sugar over the cookie tops.
- Take a base and spread jam or jelly over it. Close the cookie with the sugar sprinkled tops to form Linzers.
- Store in a parchment-lined tin box or in airtight containers (depends on your climate, see post)
- Please measure your ingredients. inexact measuring with cups can make the dough too sticky or too dry. I don't add cups measurement for that reason. I want you do succeed in making these cookies.
- If your dough is too sticky, add little flour and work out until it's right. If it's too dry, add a few drops of water and work out. Flours are not always the same around the world and some can be drier than others which is due to the climate in which you live in. So, be prepared that you might have to add more or less water to your dough, hence why the option in the recipe. Add water and work it out, if it's too dry, add some more until it's perfect.
- You can prepare the dough with your hands or with the help of a kitchen machine.
- You can use whole almond flour (brown variety) or white almond flour.
- I season my Linzer cookies with cinnamon only but you can add a pinch of ground cloves, vanilla, or lemon zest too.
- Traditionally we use red currant jelly in Austria for our Linzer cookies. But you can use raspberry jam or jelly or any other jam or jelly of your choice.
- Cookie Cutter