Nothing beats a Linzer sandwich cookie for beauty on a holiday cookie tray. Vary the jams and shapes and you can create a fun assortment of gorgeous cookies with a single batch. The recipe is quite easy. The rolling and cutting takes a little time, but it's well worth it. We bought a set of special Linzer cookie cutters, which made the process very easy, though they're certainly not necessary. You can easily create the effect with two similar shaped cookie cutters in different sizes. The kids enjoyed helping too --- picking the jams, shapes, and stacking the cookies.
This lovely cookie dates back to 1653 in Linz, Austria. First came the Linzertorte, which became so popular that Linzer cookies and tartlets were created. The basic idea of the Linzer cookie is two cookies with a layer of jam that peeks out the middle of the top cookie.
So now that we've had the history lesson, let's bake the cookies! First, just mix the butter, sugar, and vanilla until it's nice and creamy.
Then, add the flour and you'll have a somewhat crumbly dough that you can easily press together.
Now, divide the dough in half and shape each half into big thick pancake shapes. Wrap them in plastic food wrap and put them into the fridge for an hour.
While the dough chills, wash your dishes, gather up your decorating and filling ingredients, and kick back with a glass of egg nog or hot tea. We used the time to spread our jams on a white plate to see what color they'd be in the cookies.
We had apricot fruit spread, chokecherry jam, raspberry jam and orange cranberry marmalade. The colors were all very pretty, so we decided we'd try a few different ones in our cookies.
After an hour or two, pull your dough out of the fridge. Roll it out, working fast (but not rushed!) as the dough is easiest to work with before it gets too soft. If you have the fancy Linzer cutters, you just press the button to 'eject' the outside cookie and then press the 'middle' piece out with your finger. Again, this works best when the dough is firm. If your dough gets too soft, just wrap up the remaining dough and put it back in the fridge while you move on to the second piece of refrigerated dough.
Here's a picture that shows how the button works to 'eject' the cookie top.
The photo below shows how the middle is separated. After ejecting the outer ring, just gently push out the middle piece. Zoey saved all the middles to decorate and bake them for fun! If you want, you can add them back to the dough when you're re-rolling.
To make the outside rings, you just pop the insert out and cut a scalloped edge cookie shape. Read the directions on your package of cutters as they may work differently from mine. As I rolled out cookies, Zoey had fun decorating the tiny cookie middles and getting them ready for the oven.
She also decorated some of the big cookie tops too. We thought we'd do some according to the recipe with powdered sugar, and others with decorator sugars just for variety, perhaps because sprinkling decorator sugars is simply a fun activity.
When they're ready, bake your cookies! They will be just barely brown around the edges when done.
Once the cookies were completely cooled, we used our 'jam sample plate' to test how the various cookies would look with the different jam middles.
Apricot looked nice with the red sugar. Raspberry looked good too.
It was easy to see we had a lot of winning combinations!
So choose your jam and spread it on! We found the raspberry jam was a little thinner than the others and it made it easier to spread smoothly. Leave some room at the edges, as the jam will spread out when the top cookie is added.
Then, dust the cookie tops with powdered sugar by tapping the sugar lightly through a small strainer.
Now, assemble the cookies by placing the top cookie on the bottom cookie spread with jam. Press gently so the jam peeks out.
We ended up with three varieties of very pretty cookies with different flavors of jam.
And, Zoey had a plate of adorable middles to share with friends!
This is such a great holiday cookie! So festive and, well, the taste is simply divine. Buttery rich yet light and flaky, with a tang from the jam. All in all, fun to make and fantastic to eat!
I recommend you try these Linzer Sandwich Cookies for holiday gifts and parties. I'd love to hear your comments on this recipe!
Christmas is almost here and on Monday Becky will be making one of Land O'Lakes most requested cookie recipes.
Liz is paid to write for the Land O'Lakes Recipe Buzz™ Blog.