Big day ahead of us. This is week 2 and day 6 of Sally’s Cookie Palooza AND it’s national cookie day! I’m giving away a copy of my cookbook and a stand mixer to celebrate, so make sure you go enter. 🙂
Did you bake this weekend? Make a huge ol’ mess in your kitchen? Accidentally drop an open bag of flour on the floor then 10 seconds later spill royal icing all over the counter? No? Just me?
I’ve been in MAJOR baking withdrawal, so I rolled up my sleeves for a few hours, made 4 dozen cookies, and created an epic disaster in the process. Good times.
We have a classic beauty on today’s menu: linzer cookies. Have you ever made them before? They look a lot more complicated than they actually are, so I want to walk through the process together.
Linzer cookies are made from a nutty cookie dough. It’s traditionally almond based. (But we’re doing pistachios! I’ll get to that in a sec.) This deliciously nutty dough is rolled out and cut into shapes and baked, just like sugar cookies. Then the cookies are sandwiched together with sweet jam. A light dusting of confectioners’ sugar finishes them off. These stained glass window-esque cookies are easily some of the prettiest cookies around!
But the best part of all is their unique texture. Linzers are crunchy right out of the oven, but after sandwiching jam in the center, they begin to soften. And on day 2, the jam settles into the cookies so the whole sandwich is tender, soft, and deliciously crumbly. So linzer cookies taste BEST made ahead of time!
So you get an idea of the process, here is a video for making them.
I published my favorite traditional linzer cookie recipe in Sally’s Cookie Addiction, so we’ll make a spin-off today. You’ll start with 3 bowls:
- bowl 1 = ground up pistachios + brown sugar
- bowl 2 = dry ingredients like flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt
- bowl 3 = wet ingredients like butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla
You’ll divide the brown sugar in half. Some will be ground up with the pistachios and the rest will be creamed with the butter, like a traditional cookie recipe. I grind a little up with the pistachios to really break them down. I like using salty pistachios to pair with the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon flavors. I love the texture of these cookies and all… but MAN ALIVE. These raspberry pistachio linzer cookies boast remarkable flavor.
Then combine all three bowls into one. Look at this gorgeous dough!
Divide the dough in half and chill it in the refrigerator. Without chilling, the dough is impossible to roll out and the cookies will spread into a massive mess on your baking sheets. A worse mess than my flour explosion and royal icing spill on Saturday. If that’s even possible.
Linzer cookies can be cut into any shape, but I love the scalloped edge look. You’ll need a cookie cutter about 2 inches in diameter and another that’s 1 inch. Here are the cookie cutters I used: fluted edge cookie cutters (the 2 inch and 1 inch sizes). I always make the cookies round, but the center looks super cute as a little heart, star, diamond etc.
All of the cookies will be cut with the larger 2-inch cookie cutter, then half will be cut again into a “donut” cookie. That’s what I call the cookies with holes in the center!
Bake the whole cookies and “donut” cookies on separate baking sheets. The donut cookies take a minute less because of their smaller surface area. Once the cookies are baked and cooled, begin sandwiching.
I chose raspberry jam, but honestly… any flavor works! Apricot jam or even lemon curd would be SO good with pistachios. Or I just thought of this: use hazelnuts instead of pistachios and fill with Nutella. OMG why didn’t I do it this way. Oh well, all the more reason to pull out my cookie cutters and make another mess this holiday season!
Don’t forget to dust the tops with confectioners’ sugar!
Nerd alert! Do you know where linzer cookies originate from? I learned that they’re based off of an Austrian treat called Linzertorte which is filled with black currant preserves and topped with a lattice design.
See all cookie palooza recipes.
Raspberry Pistachio Linzer Cookies
- 2/3 cup (65g) shelled pistachios*
- 2/3 cup (135g) packed light or dark brown sugar, divided
- 2 and 1/2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks; 240g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (160g) raspberry jam or jelly (or any flavor!)
- 2 Tablespoons (16g) confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Place the pistachios and 1/3 cup (67g) brown sugar in a food processor. Pulse into a very fine crumb. Set aside.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and remaining 1/3 cup (67g) brown sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla 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.
- Add the flour mixture AND the ground pistachio mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. It will be crumbly at first, but will come together after a couple minutes of mixing.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal portions, 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). If chilling for longer than 3 hours, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling because the dough will be quite hard.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
- Remove 1 disc of chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator. Generously flour a work surface, as well as your hands and the rolling pin. The dough may become sticky as you work, so keep extra flour nearby to use as needed. Alternatively, the dough may crack when rolling out. Wait a few minutes for it to soften back up. The more you work with it, the softer (and easier to work with) it will become. Roll out the disc until 1/4 inch thick. Using a 2-inch round or fluted cookie cutter, cut dough into circles. Reroll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with the second disc of dough. You should have about 64 circles.
- Using a 1-inch round or fluted cookie cutter, cut a hole into the center of 32 of the circles. Let’s call these 32 cookies the “donut cookies” because of that center hole.
- Arrange the whole circles and the donut cookies 2 inches apart and on separate baking sheets (because the donut cookies take 1 less minute to bake).
- Bake the whole circles for about 11 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges, and bake the donut cookies for about 10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets halfway through the bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Dust the “donut cookies” with confectioners’ sugar, then transfer all of the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before assembling.
- Spread 1⁄2 teaspoon of jam on each whole cookie. Carefully top each with a donut cookie and press down gently to create a cookie sandwich. Dust each with confectioners’ sugar.
- Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Make ahead tip: 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. Cookies freeze well for up to 3 months; thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.
*You can use salted or unsalted pistachios. I prefer to use salted for a sweet/salty flavor.
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