These linzer cookies are made with pretzels and filled with creamy dulce de leche for a delicious salty and sweet treat! Make these sandwich cookies for a decadent homemade holiday gift or for a Christmas cookie swap.
Christmas cookies are the best cookies, and these Dulce de Leche Pretzel Linzer Cookies are a dreamy combination of salty and sweet, crunchy and creamy, for a great DIY holiday treat gift! These pretzel cookies are filled with dulce de leche and dusted with powdered sugar. The trademark cutout hole in the top cookie is my favorite part!
And man oh man did we love these cookies so much! I’m a sucker for a sweet and salty combination in dessert, like in these Salted Peanut Butter Cookies, and these linzers hit all the marks for me.
This is one of those recipes that gets me dancing around the kitchen with powdered sugar tumbling off my chin.
What are Linzer Cookies?
The traditional linzer cookies are a delicate sandwich cookie from Austria with a jam filling. These cookies are different from your standard cookie dough because they were made from the dough for linzer tortes with a buttery almond crust. It’s even mentioned in The Sound of Music!
Instead of almonds, I use a pretzel cookie recipe for a similar saltiness but a nut-free linzer cookie!
Some linzer cookies have hearts or stars cut out of the top cookie, but a simple circle is just the perfect touch too. These cookies were originally filled with black or red currant jam in Europe and raspberry jam in America, but any flavored filling works.
You only need a few ingredients to make this linzer cookie recipe, but the full ingredient list with measurements is in the recipe card below! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Pretzel twists
- All-purpose flour
- Brown sugar
- Baking powder
- Dulce de Leche
You can always buy dulce de leche and skip making it, but it’s so much better homemade and it’s really so simple to make with just 1 can of sweetened condensed milk.
How to Make Linzer Cookies
These linzer cookies may look daunting but they’re totally worth the time! With the help of a linzer cookie cutter, these delicate sandwich cookies are super quick to make.
Here’s a list of the basic steps for baking and assembling these linzer cookies. For the full recipe, check out the recipe card below!
STEP 1: First, we make the pretzel cookie dough. Start by crushing your pretzels in a food processor until they become dust.
STEP 2: Then, add the flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt to your pretzel dust and process until combined. Now, add the butter and blend the egg into the mix until you have a clumpy dough.
STEP 3: Time to roll your dough! Pro tip: Put a damp paper towel on your countertop under a cutting board, and put another damp paper towel on the cutting board under your parchment paper. This will keep everything in place when you’re rolling out the dough.
STEP 4: Now, shape the dough into a mound on the cutting board and divide it in half. Mold each half into discs, and roll each disk Repeat for both dough halves, and chill your rolled dough.
STEP 5: When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven.
STEP 6: Cut out an even number of cookies with a 2-inch fluted cookie cutter and cut out the centers of half your cookies with a smaller cutter. I used circles but you could use any shape!
STEP 7: Now, bake until the edges are golden brown and let cookies cool completely.
STEP 8: To assemble your linzer cookies, start by dusting the cutout cookies with powdered sugar.
STEP 9: Put a dollop of dulce de leche on the other cookies and gently set the dusted cookies on top.
Linzer Cookie Tips
- Chill the dough twice. I like to freeze my dough for about 15 minutes before cutting and about 5 minutes before baking. This helps keep the pretzel cookie dough solid during baking since it’s a dryer dough than most cookies.
- Don’t press the cookies together. Since dulce de leche is super creamy, the pressure of pushing the cookies together will cause it to leak out the sides and pop through the hole on top. Let gravity do the work for you!
- Keep chilled until party time. These cookies will be solid once baked and cooled, but the filling can begin to run if it’s too warm — especially in a hot kitchen. I like to keep these linzer cookies in the fridge until it’s time to serve them. If you’re making the cookies a day early, I suggest baking and cooling your cookies the day before and assembling them the day you plan to serve them. You can always store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
What to Serve with Linzer Cookies
I love making these linzer cookies for Christmas, which means they’re one of many sweet treats in my kitchen.
There’s no combination better than orange and chocolate to me, and I always make these Chocolate Orange Linzer Cookies for a perfect citrus dessert with a rich chocolate filling. These cookies are light enough to eat a dozen at a time — believe me, I know.
I love to graze and have tons of options for dessert. So I put this dessert charcuterie board together with these pretzel liners. It’s a snack board to give everyone what they want on one plate!
If you love dulce de leche as much as I do, these Butter Cookie Sandwiches with Dulce de Leche Cream Filling dipped in dark chocolate are truly delectable.
I feel like hot drinks are BFFs with cookies and in the winter, I love to serve coffee, lattes, or hot chocolate to dip my cookies in. For a fun Christmas twist on homemade lattes, there’s also these Gingerbread Lattes and these Eggnog Lattes.
The holidays are excuse enough to serve dessert for breakfast, and these Dulce de Leche Overnight Cinnamon Rolls are easy to throw together in advance and bake while you open presents. They’ll make great use of any leftover dulce de leche you might have after you make these cookies!
For the cookies:
- 3 ½ cups small pretzel twists
- 1 ½ cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp coarse or kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into medium-sized chunks
- 1 large egg
For the filling:
- ½ cup cold dulce de leche
- To make the dough: In the bowl of a food processor, process the pretzels until they turn into pretzel dust. Measure out 1 ½ cups (155 grams) and discard the rest.
- Return the measured amount to the food processor and add the flour, both sugars, baking powder, and salt. Process for a few seconds until they are combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture looks like a cornmeal or nut flour texture. Blend in the egg only until a clumpy dough forms.
- Place a damp paper towel on your work surface and a large cutting board on top of that. Place another damp paper towel on top of the cutting board and then a large piece of parchment on top of that. The damp towels will prevent your board and paper from slipping around when you roll out the dough.
- Transfer the dough to the parchment paper and shape it together with your hands into a mound. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a disc. Place another piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap on top of one of the discs (set the 2nd disc aside) and roll the dough out into a large ⅛-inch thick round. Repeat with the second disc and 2 new pieces of parchment paper. Stack the discs in the parchment on top of each other and transfer the board with the doughs on top to the freezer for 15 minutes or the fridge for 25 minutes.
- To cut out and bake the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Remove the top piece of parchment from the doughs and use it to line a large baking sheet. Cut out dough with a 2-inch fluted cookie cutter. Cut out centers of half the cookies with a ½-inch 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 for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and allow the cookies to cool.
- To assemble: Dust the cutout cookies (these are the ones with the holes in them) with confectioners' sugar. These will be the tops of your cookie sandwiches. Drop a ½ teaspoon dollop of dulce de leche onto uncut cookies and gently lay the dusted cookies on top of the filled bottom cookies. Try not to press down on the tops of the cookies as the dulce de leche may squeeze out the sides. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
adapted from Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman
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