Like rum balls, Linzer cookies are one of the cookies I must make every December for the holidays. They are fantastic any time of the year, and can be made with varying combinations of ground nuts and fillings.
Usually I will fill mine with seedless raspberry jam, sometimes I will use apricot jam from the summer too. Fill them with whatever preserves you like best or have on hand. The possibilities are endless!
If I have one recommendation, it’s to make your linzer cookies earlier than you want to eat or serve them. After a few days they will start to soften, the flavours will blend together, and they will melt in your mouth.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup ground hazelnuts
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg (or ground)
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon Austrian spiced rum (optional)
- ½ to ¾ cup seedless raspberry jam (or any other jam or preserve you like)
- 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon Austrian spiced rum (optional, to taste)
- ⅓ cup icing sugar
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, ground hazelnuts, baking powder, spices and salt.
- In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg, vanilla extract, and rum (optional). Beat until well combined and scrape down bowl.
- Stir in dry ingredients and mix until combined. The dough should be slightly sticky.
- Shape the dough into one or two discs and wrap. Refrigerate 15 to 30 minutes until firm but not hard.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare several baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
- On a well floured surface, roll the dough out to approximately ⅛ inch thick. Use a Linzer cookie cutter or a 2 ½ to 3-inch cookie cutter to cut out all the cookies. Use the small side of the Linzer cutter or a small ¾-inch cookie cutter to cut out the centre of half the cookies.
- Once cut out, place cookies on prepared baking sheets at least 1 inch apart. Put sheets in the fridge for 10 minutes before baking.
- Bake 12 to 16 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until lightly golden on the edges. The bottoms will typically take longer than the cut out tops and cut outs.
- Remove and let cool a couple minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Once cool, lightly dust the tops of the cookies (with the cutouts) with icing sugar.
- If adding rum to the jam, mix in until well combined.
- Pipe jam onto the cookie bottoms using a pastry bag, approximately ½ to 1 teaspoon per cookie.
- Gently place the tops to sandwich the cookies.
- Make sure ingredients are at room temperature mixing. To warm the egg to room temperature, place it in a bowl of hot water.
- Only refrigerate the dough until it is firm enough to roll. If it's too hard, you will have a hard time rolling it out. If you can't roll until the next day, you will need to let it sit out at room temperature until it becomes soft enough to roll.
- Bake 1-2 test cookies to adjust the baking time or the temperature of your oven.
- Use whichever jam you like best or have on hand. Preferably seedless if using raspberry jam.
- Ground almonds can be used instead of hazelnuts.
- These cookies are best the next day, once they have absorbed some of the moisture and flavour from the jam.
Where do you find ground hazelnuts?
I live in Canada, so I have never found ground hazelnuts at the store. My dad sends me bags of ground hazelnuts straight from Austria every now and then, which I tend to use sparingly. For ground hazelnuts where they are not available for purchase, you can buy whole hazelnuts, which you then roast in the oven, remove the skins, and grind in a food processor. If you’re doing this I suggest making them the day before.
Why bake the cutout tops separate from the bottoms?
The tops with the cutouts typically bake faster, usually two minutes less time in the oven by my count. To avoid over-baking the tops, bake them on a separate sheet and be sure to watch them when nearing the 10 minute mark.
How do you get exactly the right amount of jam in each cookie?
I like to pipe my jam onto the centres of the bottom cookies using a pastry bag. I line all my cookies on a tray and move left to right. It only takes about a minute, which is much faster than using a teaspoon or scoop.
You can use whichever tools you have at your disposal, but I recommend using a pastry bag or a food storage bag to dispense the jam onto your cookie bottoms. Once you get into a rhythm it’s easy to ensure you have an even amount of jam on each cookie.
Why let them sit for a few days?
Like I mentioned above, the flavours really start to come together when you let them sit for a few days. When fresh, you’ll notice the cookie is more crisp and the sandwiched cookies slide around. This is especially true if you’ve used too much jam. Leave them for a few days, and they will start to absorb some of the moisture from the jam. Once they start to soften they’re ready to go into your cookie tins. Perfection!