Linzer cookies with pecans: The ultimate Christmas cookie. Delicate and delicious, they are major showstoppers for your holiday cookie platters and swaps!
These sweet little linzer cookies may just have made me the most proud I’ve been in the kitchen in some time now.
When I say that I’ve been wanting to make linzer cookies for the past 7 Christmas seasons, I’m not even kidding you. And with all that waiting came a lot of anticipation and high expectations for what these cookies should be.
But they turned out just perfectly and met every one of those expectations! Phew, right?!
I mean, they ARE a Martha Stewart recipe, after all!
How to Make Linzer Cookies
While they look delicate and difficult, they are actually quite easy to put together, though involving a few steps that require some patience, as my cousin and I learned this past weekend while making them.
You’ll make the dough and chill it for a few hours. Then roll, cut, bake, and cool completely. In the meantime, you’ll reduce some raspberry jam in a saucepan on the stove.
I used seedless raspberry but any kind will work. Apricot or fig jam might be really nice in these linzer cookies too!
While the raspberry jam is cooling, you’ll dust the cut-out cookies (we cut out hearts) with powdered sugar. And then, after the jam has cooled, you’ll spread it on to the non-cut-out cookies (the ones without the powdered sugar) and sandwich it with the sugared halves…
And then you’ve got these picture-perfect Christmas cookies! Like I said, they do require a few steps but they would be the perfect weekend baking project for a few friends or even for your kids or grandkids to help you with.
Oh, you want to know about how they taste?
Well, think of the best light shortbread you’ve ever eaten, combine it with a tiny dollop of a thickened jam that is almost savory in comparison to the sugared linzer cookies, and you’ve got quite possibly the best Christmas cookie ever.
The original recipe has you adding chopped pecans to the dough which sound excellent, doesn’t it! But allergies in our house prevent us from adding nuts to our cookies so I skipped them this time.
These linzer cookies with raspberry jam just might be the cookies that all Christmas cookies will be judged against – this year and maybe for years to come. That’s quite a cookie!
- Prep Time: 40min (active) + 2hrs (inactive for dough to chill)
- Cook Time: 8-10min
- Yield: about 2 dozen sandwiches
The original recipe (below) calls for chopped pecans to be mixed into the dough but due to allergies, I omitted the pecans. I did not replace them with anything – there were no issues with the recipe this way either – but a ½ cup of coarsely ground oats might be a really nice substitution.
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
½ tsp baking powder
¾ cup pecan halves, toasted, optional
2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
½ cup seedless raspberry jam
Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl; set aside. Pulse pecans (if using), confectioners’ sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor until finely ground (but not wet); transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Add butter and granulated sugar; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in vanilla and egg. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until combined. Halve dough; shape into disks. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out dough with a 2-inch fluted cutter. Cut out centers of half the cookies with a ½-inch heart cutter; re-roll scraps.
Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Chill dough on baking sheets for 5 minutes.
Bake cookies and hearts until pale golden, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the pans 180° halfway through the baking time. Transfer the pans to wire racks to cool and allow the cookies to cool completely on the pans before transferring to a work surface for the next steps.
Meanwhile, heat jam in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced and thickened, about 7 minutes; let cool.
Dust the cutout cookies with confectioners’ sugar – these will be the tops of your cookie sandwiches. Spread jam onto uncut squares; top with cutout ones. Store in an airtight container up to 2 days.
adapted from Martha Stewart Cookies