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Christmas-tree shaped iced cherry almond linzer cookies on white plate with frozen cherries in frame.

Cherry Almond Linzer Cookies

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 5 reviews
  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 4 hours (includes chilling)
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 22–25 3-inch sandwich cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These iced cherry almond linzer cookies are as lovely to look at as they are to eat, and there’s no special cookie decorating skill required. You can use any small cookie cutters you have to cut the almond cookie dough into your choice of shapes, and the filling is simply store-bought cherry preserves. Take your time with these cookies, especially when handling the dough and sandwiching the cookies together. 


Ingredients

Dough

  • 2/3 cup (100g) salted roasted almonds (see Note if you use unsalted)
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled), plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (16 Tbsp; 226g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract

Filling & Topping

  • 1/2 cup (160g) cherry preserves (or other flavor; see Note)
  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 12 Tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract or pure vanilla extract (or 1/4 teaspoon each)

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: Place the almonds in a food processor. Pulse until the almonds are finely chopped, but not so finely that it’s turning into almond flour. See photo above for a visual.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the chopped almonds, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt until combined. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract, and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until combined. The dough will be thick and crumbly, and weigh about 850g.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions (about 425g each, or just eyeball it), gently flatten into discs, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill the discs in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (and up to 4 days). 
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  7. Cut out and bake the cookies: Remove 1 disc of chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator. After chilling, the dough will be very hard. Let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes (or 30 minutes, if the dough chilled for longer than 3 hours) before you try to roll it. Generously flour a work surface, as well as your hands and the rolling pin. Roll out the disc to about 1/4-inch thickness. If the dough is cracking a lot when rolling out, wait a few more minutes for it to soften up a bit more. The more you work with it, the softer and easier to work with it will become. Using a 2-inch or 3-inch cookie cutter, cut dough into shapes. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with the second disc of dough. You should have about 44–60 cookies, depending on the size of cookie cutter you use.
  8. Using a small (1-inch) cookie cutter (see Note if you don’t have one), cut a hole into the center of half of the cookies. Let’s call these the “top cookies,” and the ones without a hole the “bottom cookies.”
  9. Arrange the cookies 2 inches apart on lined baking sheets. Bake the cookies for about 11–12 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before assembling.
  10. Make the icing: In a small bowl, whisk together (I usually use a fork) confectioners’ sugar, 1 Tablespoon milk, and extract(s) until smooth. If the icing is too thick to whisk, add a little more milk, a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches desired consistency. You want to keep it on the thicker side.
  11. Lightly dip the surface of each top cookie into the icing, and let any excess icing drip off. Place the iced top cookies on a wire rack or parchment paper. It’s ok if the icing is not completely set before sandwiching the cookies.
  12. Assemble the cookies: Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of cherry preserves on the bottom side of each bottom cookie. Carefully top each bottom cookie with a top iced cookie and press together very gently to create a cookie sandwich. Icing will set in a few hours, so you can stack, store, transport, and gift the cookies.
  13. Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (see step 5), but you can also freeze it for up to 3 months. If you opt for the latter, allow the dough to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before rolling out in step 7. See How to Freeze Cookie Dough for more information. Iced sandwich cookies freeze well for up to 3 months; thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links):Food Processor | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk | Baking Sheets | Silicone Baking Mats or Parchment Paper Sheets | Rolling Pin or Adjustable Rolling Pin | 2- to 3-inch cookie cutter, such as the small tree from this set, or this fluted-edge cookie cutter set | Linzer Christmas Cookie Cutter Set | Cooling Rack
  3. Almonds: I love using salted roasted almonds in this dough, and I recommend them for extraordinary flavor. If you only have raw and/or unsalted almonds, that’s fine, too. An extra pinch of salt in the dough is great if you’re using unsalted almonds.
  4. Cherry Filling: For the cookies pictured here, I used the Bonne Maman brand of cherry preserves, and gave it a few pulses in the food processor to smooth out some of the chunks. You can really use any preserves/jam in these cookies such as raspberry, apricot, or strawberry. If what you’re using is particularly chunky, pulse a few times in a food processor to smooth out. Lemon curd is also delicious in linzer cookies!
  5. If You Don’t Have a Small Cookie Cutter for Center: If you don’t have any small (1-inch) cookie cutters for the center, don’t worry! Try using the end of a straw to make a small round hole in the center, or use a small paring knife to carve a few tiny holes (which would look like red ornaments on tree-shaped cookies!).
  6. Can I Skip the Icing? Yes, absolutely. Instead of icing the top cookies in steps 10 and 11, dust the cooled top cookies with 2 Tablespoons (16g) of sifted confectioners’ sugar.