Nothing beats a delectable cookie that’s buttery, crumbly, and not too sweet with a hot cup of tea. Linzer cookies tick off all these boxes and more, they’re my absolute favorite to eat in the morning, the afternoon, and occasionally late at night before going to bed (don’t judge me).
While these Austrian Linzer cookies are traditionally made around Christmas time, the heart cut out shape makes me think of Valentine’s day. Besides, they look so gorgeous that you would want to share them with your loved ones or on social media – they’re seriously instagrammable! They do take some time to cut out, bake and assemble but the delight on people’s faces makes it all very worthwhile.
I also love how versatile they are; The dough is made by combining flour, ground hazelnuts, sugar, eggs, spices. After baking the dough cutouts, I filled them with a thin spread of chestnut paste and black raspberry jam then topped it all off with powdered sugar. You can use almonds instead of hazelnuts and any type of filling such as nut butter, chocolate paste, jams, as well as fruit curds. Since I had chestnut paste leftovers from the previous chocolate roll recipe, I decided to add a thin layer into the cookie sandwich – you can also leave it out completely.
The baked cookies are very crisp once baked, but they become much tender the next day especially after filling them with jam and storing them in an air tight container.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious ~ makes about 30 cookies 2.25″ (5.7cm)
160g (5 oz) whole raw hazelnuts
25g (2 tbps) light brown sugar
320g (2¼ cups) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
226g (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
100g (1/2 cup) powdered sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
Extra powdered sugar for sifting
Black Raspberry Jam (I used Beth’s Farm Kitchen Jam)
Chestnut Paste (optional)
150g chestnut paste – recipe in link
10g powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp brandy or rum
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and toast raw hazelnuts on a baking sheet until fragrant and skins begin to loosen about 8 minutes. Take the nuts out of the oven and rub in a kitchen towel to remove any loose skins (some skins may not come off), then cool to room temperature.
2. After cooling, place roasted hazelnuts and light brown sugar in a food processor and pulse until nuts are finely ground.
3. Whisk together hazelnut meal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl.
4. Using a paddle attachment in a stand mixer, beat together softened butter and powdered sugar at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the hazelnut mixture until just combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until dough comes together. Divide into two equal disks, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
5. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and adjust racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. Place one disk between large sheets of wax paper, roll out to 1/8 inch thickness and freeze for 10 minutes. (I found it easier to work with the a really cold dough). Use a linzer cookie cutter to cut out the solid shapes – these will be the bottoms of each cookie – and carefully transfer them to one of the prepared baking sheets. Gather the scraps, roll out the dough, and repeat to make more solid cookies and transfer to second prepared baking sheet. If the dough becomes too soft to roll out, chill until firm.
7. Freeze the cookie sheets for 10-15 minutes before baking to ensure that the cookies keep their shape.
8. Bake cookies until golden, about 10-12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and allow to cool for 3 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer cookies directly to wire racks.
9. When baking sheets have cooled, repeat Steps 6 through 8 with the remaining portion of dough, this time using the cookie cutter with a punched-out center.
11. Once the cookies have fully cooled, sift the extra powdered sugar over the cookies the punched-out centers.
12. Make the chestnut paste by mixing it with the sugar, vanilla and brandy until combined. Spread the solid bottom cookies with a thin layer of chestnut paste and about ½ tsp of jam. Place the cut-out cookies on top to complete the sandwich cookies.
13. Store cookies layered between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container for a week. They can also be frozen for up to a month.