Chocolate Orange Linzer Cookies: A twist on classic Linzer cookies that are normally filled with jam, these are orange-flecked shortbread Linzer sandwich cookies filled with rich chocolate ganache. Another stunner for your Christmas treat platters and packages!
‘Tis the season of cookies!! Have you started your holiday baking yet? Or are you more of a procrastinator like me?
To be honest, I don’t usually start my holiday baking until the week of Christmas. I know I can’t be the only one who does this but in years past, the baking bug hasn’t usually hit until then.
This year though? This year is different! It might have something to do with me not functioning at the same stress level I felt while working outside the house.
It might also have something to do with the lifting of the sadness I felt around not having kids yet as the holidays approached.
But things have REALLY changed in the past 2 years! Here I am now, running my own business out of my home with a 2 ½ year old who’s just starting to understand Christmas. Life, while never easy or simple, is good for me these days.
So, I started baking early this year! And you guys get to reap the indirect benefits of this! YAY!!
I’m sorry that I can’t mail all of you the amazing cookies I’ve been making, but I hope you’ll love the recipes I’ll be sharing over the next couple of weeks so that you can make them in your own homes this year and in years to come.
The first holiday cookie of the 2019 Christmas season I shared was these sparkling chocolate peppermint cookies. Woah baby! They’re like peppermint bark in cookie form!
The next recipe up from my list is a spin on my beloved Linzer cookies. That classic Linzer cookie recipe is always one of the most popular posts on the site with readers every December.
And I thought, 8 years after I first shared that recipe here, that it was high time to work on a new recipe for you!
Enter, the chocolate orange Linzer cookie! Oh yes yes yes, my friends!!
This Linzer cookie recipe puts an amazing spin on an old favorite and opens the door up to a world of delicious flavor.
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 throughout 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?
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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!
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, dulce de leche for these pretzel Linzers, or salted caramel. Seriously, how bad could any of these fillings be nestled between 2 shortbread cookies?!
Linzer Cookies with or without Nuts
Traditional Linzer cookies are made with ground nuts: usually hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, or pecans. But these cookies can definitely be made without nuts too, as you see here in my recipe. We’re a tree nut-free house so I’m always looking for ways to adapt nut recipes into food that Kyle can eat.
This Linzer cookie recipe is an adapted version of a Martha Stewart Linzer cookie recipe, which contains pecans. I simply cut the pecans out of the recipe completely and don’t replace them with anything.
My Linzer cookies without nuts turn out great every time and I’m always left wondering how dry the dough would be if the chopped pecans were actually used in the recipe. I guess I’ll never know!
How to Make Linzer Cookies
While Linzer cookies look delicate and difficult to make, this is actually an easy linzer cookie recipe to put together. The cookies do involve a few steps that require some down time and patience so stick with me here!
First, you’ll make the Linzer cookie dough and chill it for a few hours. The dough needs to chill for 2 reasons:
1. 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 on the cookie sheet. What a mess!
2. 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 shapes with a Linzer cookie cutter. Once you sandwich the cookies together, the filling will peek through the shapes like a little window. So pretty!
Then you’ll dust the cooled cut-out cookies with powdered sugar, spread your filling on to the non-cut-out cookies (the ones without the powdered sugar), and sandwich them together.
And finally, you’ve got these picture-perfect Christmas cookies!
Chocolate-Orange Lovers Rejoice!
This chocolate orange version is an absolutely divine combination! I liken it to a grown up version of the classic Linzer cookie, where the buttery shortbread dough is studded with bright orange zest, and rich chocolate ganache is sandwiched between the crisp cookies.
My cousin Mariah, who made these cookies with me last week, thought the flavor was exactly like those chocolate oranges that you crack open into slices. I completely agree!
Orange and chocolate is no stranger here on this site since it’s one of my favorite flavor combinations. Many Christmases ago, I made orangettes (chocolate covered candied orange peels) and orange butter cookies dipped in chocolate.
And more recently, this orange cranberry chocolate chunk bundt cake has become a big holiday favorite in my family too!
I hope you add these orange chocolate Linzer cookies to your holiday baking list this year because you certainly won’t be sorry you did so!
Holiday Baking Inspiration
Chocolate Orange Linzer Cookies
Linzer cookies are the ultimate Christmas cookie! Delicate and delicious, they are major showstoppers for your holiday cookie platters and swaps! This chocolate orange version is like what Milano cookies are to Keebler fudge sandwich cookies: a grown up and sophisticated version of a classic. Here, a buttery shortbread cookie dough is lightly studded with orange zest and chocolate ganache is sandwiched between 2 orange shortbread cookies. This twist on the classic linzer cookie elevates the cookies from great to utterly outstanding!
For the cookies:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 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
- 1 tsp orange zest
For the chocolate filling:
- 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 6 oz heavy cream
- 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, egg, and orange zest. 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 make the ganache: While the dough chills, add the chopped chocolate to a medium heatproof bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat only just until it reaches a slight simmer, where the cream at the sides of the pan is starting to bubble. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand untouched for 2 minutes. Slowly stir the cream and chocolate together until the chocolate is completely melted. Chill the ganache until it reaches a scoopable consistency, about 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 cookie cutter (the shape is your choice!). Re-roll the scraps and cut out additional cookies. Space the cookies 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Chill the dough on the 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 the linzer cookies: Dust the tops of the cutout cookies with confectioners' sugar - these will be the tops of your cookie sandwiches. Spread a tablespoon of ganache onto the bottom side of the uncut cookies. Sandwich the cookies together so that the sugared tops are facing up.
Storage: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw cookies in the fridge or at room temperature before serving.
If you'd like, you can add a ½ cup of finely chopped pecans or almonds to the dough along when you stir the flour mixture together.
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies
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KitchenAid 6 Qt. Professional 600 Series Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer
Farberware Classic Wood Rolling Pin
Ateco Double Sided Large Round Cutters in Graduated Sizes, Fluted & Plain Edges, Stainless Steel, 6 Pc Set
Ateco Plain Edge Round Cutters in Graduated Sizes, Stainless Steel, 11 Pc Set
Linzer Cookie Cutter Set
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