Linzer cookies with raspberry filling: The ultimate Christmas cookie! Delicate and delicious, they are major showstoppers for your holiday cookie platters and swaps!
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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. In those interim years, spritz cookies and these Lofthouse style soft frosted sugar cookies have dominated my oven during the holiday baking season.
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!
What is a Linzer Cookie?
A Linzer cookie is a sandwich cookie made of 2 shortbread cookies with filling in between. The cookies are named after the Linzer torte, a lattice-topped jam tart made with buttery shortcrust pastry, which is said to have originated in the city of Linz, Austria in the 1600s.
Linzer tortes are popular and traditional through Europe during the Christmas season, just as these Linzer cookies are popular here in the U.S. during the holidays. How could anyone resist them?
The top cookie of the sandwich is dusted with confectioners’ sugar and has a little window cut out of it so that the filling can peek through.
The window can be any shape you choose and you can cut the shapes out with a sharp knife or use a Linzer cookie cutter set to help you do this faster. A set like this one will give you lots of shapes to use for your Linzer cookies which means you can make these cookies for all types of occasions!
Linzer Cookie Variations
You can fill Linzer cookies with any type of filling too! Raspberry Linzer cookies tend to be the most common Linzers you see but these cookies can be filled with any type of jam you wish.
Or if jam isn’t your thing, try chocolate, citrus curd, or caramel. Seriously, how bad could any of these fillings be nestled between 2 shortbread cookies?!
How to Make Linzer Cookies
While this Linzer cookie recipe looks delicate and difficult, it’s actually quite easy to put together. Though, the cookies do involve a few steps that require some patience so stick with me here!
You’ll make the Linzer cookie dough and chill it for a few hours. The dough needs to chill for 2 reasons:
First, the butter needs to firm up. If the butter is too soft when you bake these cookies, they will spread out all over the place. What a mess!
Second, the gluten proteins in the flour need to rest. If you try to roll the dough for these cookies out before the dough has rested, the dough will spring back and it will be difficult to roll out.
After the dough has chilled, you’ll roll it out and cut it into rounds. I used a fluted cookie cutter but a plain round one will work well too.
With half of those rounds, you’ll cut out little heart shapes with a Linzer cookie cutter. Once you sandwich the cookies together, the jam will peek through the hearts like a little window. So pretty!
While the cookies bake, you’ll reduce some raspberry jam in a saucepan on the stove.
What Kind of Jam for Linzer Cookies?
I used seedless raspberry but any kind will work. Apricot or fig jam might be really nice in these Linzer cookies too!
If jam isn’t your thing, chocolate ganache, caramel, or citrus curd are also excellent ways to fill your Linzer cookies.
While the raspberry jam is cooling, you’ll dust the cooled 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 finally, you’ve got these picture-perfect Christmas cookies!
Like I said, these Linzer cookies with raspberry jam do require a few steps but they would be the perfect weekend baking project for a few friends or for your kids and/or grandkids to help you with. They’re such a fun family baking project!
Oh, you want to know about how they taste?
Well, think of the best and lightest 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 sounds 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!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ cup pecan halves, toasted (optional - see note below)
- 2 tbsp confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ⅛ 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
- To make the dough: Whisk the flour, baking powder, confectioners' sugar, cinnamon, and salt in medium a bowl; set aside.
- Add the butter and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract and the egg. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Halve the dough and shape it into 2 disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
- To bake the cookies: 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 ⅛-inch thick. Cut out dough with a 2-inch fluted cookie cutter. Cut out centers of half the cookies with a ½-inch heart cutter. Re-roll the scraps and cut out additional cookies. Space the cookies 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.
- To assemble cookies: 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 cookies; top with the cut out cookies.
Storage: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
The recipe 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 and there were no issues with the recipe made with this omission. But if you'd like, a ½ cup of coarsely ground oats might be a really nice substitution in place of the pecans.
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies
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