These Linzer Cookies Are Perfect For The Holiday Season!
Searching for the perfect Linzer cookie recipe? You’re in the right place!
Traditional Linzer cookies – those cute little jam-filled sandwich cookies made into shapes – are always a hit around Christmas time.
A descendent of the famous Linzertorte, it’s hard to go wrong with a shortbread-like dough that melts in your mouth and a sweet, jam filling that glues it all together.
Don’t forget about a generous dusting of powdered sugar!
Popular in Germany, Austria, and parts of Hungary, Switzerland, and beyond, these sandwich cookies go by many other names.
A version of these cookies is the Linzer Augen (Linzer Eyes). It’s made with three dots in the middle of the upper cookie.
Depending on the region or the family recipe, you might also find them referred to Linzer Kekse or as Spitzbuben.
However, a small difference is that Spitzbuben cookies are often made with only egg whites and not egg yolks. The cookies themselves look almost identical though.
Sometimes, the cookie bears the name of the delicious jam/fruit preserve filling. This is why you’ll often find Linzer cookies called “raspberry Linzer cookies”. Apricot jam or a more traditional red currant are also popular choices.
Eric’s Hungarian grandmother used to make Linzer cookies with apricot jam. She grew up in a small town near the Austrian border and came to Canada decades ago.
He remembers her baking these buttery, soft sandwich cookies and them always having a bright orange circle in the middle.
The History of the Linzer Cookie
You can’t discuss the history of the Linzer cookie recipe without understanding the other classic recipe from which it came – the Linzertorte.
This pie-like, fruit preserve-filled tart was named after the Austrian city of Linz for reasons that aren’t exactly clear.
Either, the torte was produced in Linz in the 1820s and/or the baker was named Linzer. You choose the origin story you prefer!
In any case, Linzer cookies were apparently made from the left over Linzertorte dough which got made into smaller cookies.
The middles of some cookies would get punched out with small circles – usually three – which led to the alternative cookie name Linzer Augen or “Linzer eyes”.
Extra fruit preserved – usually red or black currant – was spread onto a whole base cookie and the top cookie with the eyes would get covered in powdered sugar.
Place them together and a small sandwich cookie – the Linzer cookie we know today – was formed.
The backstory of the cookie is the reason why some people even call Linzer cookies “Linzer tart cookies”.
How to Make Linzer Cookies – Step by Step
If you want to make this Linzer cookie recipe, you can check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Those that want to see what the recipe looks like each step of the way can follow the process photos right below.
This way, you’ll have an idea of whether or not you’re the right track with your Linzer Cookies!
First, cut up the cold butter into smaller pieces. That will make it easier to knead the dough.
Then add the flour, ground almonds, butter, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and egg into a large bowl.
The Linzer cookie dough is very similar to our German butter cookie dough – with the addition of ground almonds.
Use the spiral dough hooks of your electric mixer or your hands to knead the dough until you can easily form a ball without it crumbling apart again.
Wrap the ball of dough in cling film and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. This will make it easier to roll out the dough later.
When the 30 minutes are almost over, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove the ball of dough from the fridge and unwrap it.
Sprinkle some flour onto your countertop, then roll out the dough using a rolling pin. Make sure it is equally thick everywhere so the cookies will be done at the same time.
Use your cookie cutters to cut out the cookies. Remember that for each Linzer cookie you’ll need a set of two cookies (one bottom cookie and one top cookie).
So cut two of the same cookies, then cut out the middle of one of them using a smaller cookie cutter.
Place the cookies on the parchment paper with a little bit of space between them.
When you’ve used up all of the rolled up dough, gather the leftovers and form another ball. Then roll the dough out again, and cut more cookies.
Repeat these steps until you have used up all of the dough.
Bake your cookies on the middle rack of your oven for around 10-12 minutes until the cookies are lightly golden brown around the edges.
Depending on your oven and how thick your cookies are, the baking time might vary slightly.
When the cookies are done baking, remove them from the oven and place them on a cooling rack. Let them cool fully.
Once the cookies are fully cooled, spread the bottom cookie of each set with jam. This works well with a butter knife.
Popular choices for jam are raspberry, apricot, and black or red currant. We like using a few different flavors when making our Linzer cookies.
Keep going until all the bottom cookies (those without holes) have jam on them.
Then gather all the top cookies (those with the hole) and dust them with powdered sugar.
Then it’s time to match up the sets of cookies by placing a powdered sugar dusted top cookie on top of a matching bottom cookie.
Press down slightly. Make sure to only touch the cookie on the sides and not the part that is covered in powdered sugar to avoid fingerprints.
Keep going until you have matched up all the cookies. Let them sit for a bit to allow the jam to harden slighty.
These cookies probably won’t last long.
However, we would still recommend storing them in an airtight container with a lid in a cool and dry place (such as your basement or garage).
Enjoy these Linzer cookies! Be sure to check out other German holiday cookies if you’re feeling like baking up a storm!
- 3/4 cup butter, cold
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 medium-sized egg
- a pinch of salt
- powdered sugar
- Cut the cold butter into small pieces. Then add the flour, ground almonds, butter, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and egg into a large bowl. Use the spiral dough hooks of your electric mixer or your hands to knead the dough until it easily forms a ball.
- Wrap the ball of dough in cling film and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from the fridge. Sprinkle flour onto a smooth surface and roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Make sure it is equally thin/thick everywhere. Use your cookie cutters to cut out the cookies. Remember that you have to make a set of two cookies for each whole Linzer cookie (one bottom piece and one top piece). Cut out the middle of the top piece using a small cookie cutter. Place the cookies on the parchment paper leaving a little bit of space between them.
- Once you’ve used up the rolled out dough, gather the leftovers, form another ball, roll it out again, and cut more cookies. Repeat the process until you have used up all the dough.
- Bake your cookies in the middle rack of your oven for around 10-12 minutes until the cookies are lightly golden brown along the edges. Depending on your oven and how thick your cookies are, your baking time might vary slightly.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack. Let them cool fully.
- Once the cookies have fully cooled, spread jam onto the bottom cookie (the one without the hole) using a butter knife or small spoon.
- Dust the top cookie (the one with the hole) in powdered sugar, then place it on top of the jam covered "bottom cookie" and press down slightly. Be careful to only touch the top cookie on the sides and not the part that is covered in powdered sugar. Repeat the step with all pairs of cookies.
- Let the cookies sit for a bit until the jam has hardened slightly.
- You can make any shape you like for your Linzer cookies – stars, circles, flowers, hearts, etc. Just remember to always make a bottom and a top cookie using the same shape! Otherwise, you’ll have mismatched top and bottom cookies.
- You can use whatever jam you like to fill the cookies. We like apricot and raspberry but really any jam or jelly goes! Just be sure it doesn’t have any seeds or large chunks of fruit – these make the cookies sit weird on top of one another.
- This Linzer cookie dough is very similar to our German butter cookies. These Linzer cookies have a tad more almonds but the rest of the dough is very similar. Make both and tell us which one you prefer!
This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.