Linzer Cookies

linzer

Linzer cookies are one of my new favorites, and I can’t wait until next year to make them again. Layers of crumbly, nutty dough, your favorite sweet jam, topped with powdered sugar Linzers are the essence of a traditional Christmas cookie. They even have a stained-glass window-like appearance making them their own holiday ornament.
Have fun with these!
Linzer Cookies Recipe
1 cup blanched or sliced almonds (can also use pecans or hazelnuts)
2 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temp)
2/3 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
Zest of 1 lemon
confectioners sugar
1/2 cup seedless Raspberry or Black Currant Preserves or jam (or use your favorite flavor)Preheat oven to 350 – place rack in center of the oven.
Toast almonds (or pecans) on a baking sheet for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant.(If you’re using hazelnuts, toast them for about 15 minutes until fragrant and the skins begin to flake. Remove from oven and place hot nuts in dish towel. Roll up the towel and let the nuts steam for about 5 minutes. Rub the nuts in the towel briskly to remove the skins.)Allow the nuts to cool, place in a food processor and process with 1/4 cup of the sugar from the recipe (2/3 cup) until finely ground. Set aside.In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together flour, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

Cream butter and remaining sugar in mixing bowl until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract, egg yolks, and lemon zest. Beat in the ground nuts. Add the flour mixture beating just until incorporated.

Divide the dough in half and shape into two rectangles about 1/2″ thick. Wrap the two rectangles of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (1 hour and up to several days).

When dough is ready, preheat over to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one rectangle of dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it is about 1/4″ thick. Using a 2-3″ cookie cutter (keep the shape basic) cut out the dough. Place cookies about 1″ apart on the prepared baking sheet. Use a smaller cookie cutter (3/4″ to 1″) to cut out the centers of half of the cookies on the baking sheet. (Remember you’ll be sandwiching two cookies together and there will be a small “window or cut out” in the top cookie so you can see the jam underneath).

Reroll the scraps and cut out more cookies. Remove the other half of the dough from the refrigerator and roll and cut out the rest of the cookies. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes or until they are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and place on wire rack to cool.

While the cookies are cooling place the jam in a small saucepan and heat gently until the jam has thickened slightly.

Assembly:
Place the cookies with the cut outs on a wire rack and lightly dust the tops with confectioners sugar.

On the bottom surface of the full cookie (top of cookie will face down) spread with about a tsp of the warm jam. Place the cut-out top cookie on top and gently sandwich them together making sure not to smudge the confectioners sugar. Using a small spoon fill the cut-out with a little more jam.

Refrigerate cookies if not serving same day. (they may lose their crunchiness)

Makes about 20, 2″ sandwiched cookies.

Begin by toasting your nuts on a baking sheet. I used slivered almonds. When these come out of the oven the smell is incredible! Grind the nuts in a food processor with 1/4 C of the 2/3 C of sugar that the recipe calls for. You want these crumbs to be fine; they’re going to become part of your cookie dough.

Sift the flour, cinnamon, and salt together.

Cream the butter and remaining sugar together until fluffy. Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, and lemon zest.

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Add the almond/sugar mix to the butter mixture.

Add the flour mixture and combine to complete the cookie dough.

linzer6b

Divide the dough into 2 halves and roll into rectangles. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour. If I remember correctly we shaped these into rectangles and refrigerated these on two separate baking sheets.

When the dough is firm if the refrigerator, it’s time for oven prep. Two baking sheets need parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350.

Roll out the dough. We stretched out and rolled between the plastic wrap because “on floured surface” was failing for us big time.

Just a warning: Out of the fridge the dough is very stiff at first, but it’s going to warm up fast and become very soft and sticky to work with.

Cut out whole cookies andreroll remaining dough and cut out more whole cookies. Using a smaller cookie cutter, cut out the “window” on half of your whole cookies to make the tops.

Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.

Gently heat your jam until it has thickened slightly. Your basic assembly is to spread the jam on the bottoms of the whole cookies, and add powdered sugar to the tops of the window cookies. After putting them together you can spoon more jam to fill the window of the assembled cookie. It’s a bit of a process, but it’s simple to achieve.

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And your end result is a elegant, delicious, and fun cookie for the holidays.

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