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It’s been quite a couple of years. We haven’t been posting recipes — or doing much of anything — during the pandemic, but cooking, being the necessity that it is, has been the exception. One could argue cookie-making is not much of a necessity, but I got a stand mixer for Christmas (after 3-and-a-half years bereft of one, my old one having broken midway through making my wedding cake) and trying it out was an imperative. Oh, how I missed having a stand mixer! I can make brioche again! I can cream butter and walk away from the mixer! I am once more whole.

I was compelled to commit this recipe to the internet out of fear that I might lose the paper printout I’ve been using for years (dated 12/17/10; this was back in the days where all my recipes were Food Network and Epicurious printouts, this one being the latter). It lives stuffed inside of the front cover of my copy of Bravetart and comes out every year the week before Christmas. It’s one of my most-made recipes, and I look forward to it every year. In fact, I’ve made very few other linzer cookies in my life mainly because I don’t have any reason to, as these include my favorite nut (hazelnut) and are perfect in every way: tender, with a soft, warm flavor cut by the brightness of raspberry jam. Not to mention they last half a month in the fridge and get better with age!

I follow the OG Epicurious recipe nearly exactly for the dough, and I used to just use store-bought jam for the filling, but this year I couldn’t find raspberry jam anywhere and decided to buy some frozen fruit and make my own. After this year, I am never going back: not only is the jam dead simple, but it elevates the cookies to a whole different plane. You can, of course, still use store-bought jam, but if you’re going to go to the trouble of cutting dozens of windows in finicky cookie dough, you might as well go all out, right?

linzer cookies

Adapted from a 2005 Gourmet recipe

4 hours, including 2 hours chill time

About 24 cookies, though it depends on what size cookies you make

You can certainly use store-bought jam, raspberry or otherwise. Feel free to swap out the hazelnuts for any other type of nut (I tried pecans one year and they were excellent!).

for the cookie dough

  • 2/3 cup (3 ounces) hazelnuts, raw
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar, packed
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour

for the filling

  • 10 oz. frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar

make the cookie dough

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toast the hazelnuts in a baking pan until fragrant and golden brown, about 5-10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, rub the toasted hazelnuts with a towel to remove as much of the skins as possible. Let them cool.

Combine the cooled nuts and about half of the sugar in a food processor and process until fine.

Combine the rest of the sugar with the butter and beat, in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, on medium-high speed until pale fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and the hazelnut mixture and beat for 1 additional minute. Beat in the egg and the vanilla just until combined, about another 1 minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing until combined.

Break the dough into two balls, form them into discs, and store them in the fridge (wrapped in plastic wrap or an alternative) for a minimum of 2 hours, or up to a couple of days.

make the raspberry jam

While the dough is resting, make the jam: In a small saucepan, combine the raspberries and sugar and heat over medium heat until the jam begins to bubble. Lower the heat to low and simmer until noticeably thick, about 10 minutes or so. Pour the jam into a small container and chill it in the fridge until you’re ready for it.

bake and assemble

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Working with one disc at a time, roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. (I like to do this between two sheets of parchment paper. You could also use wax paper, or thoroughly flour your surface and rolling pin. Also, the temperature is finicky here, so you may have to let the dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or so before you make significant progress, especially if you let the dough chill for more than an hour.)

Using cookie cutters, cut out the dough, making sure to create equal numbers of “windowed” and “non-windowed” shapes. I have never owned actual linzer cookie cutters (though if anyone’s reading and wants to get me a gift …) and accomplish this by using normal cookie cutters for the outside and using a paring knife to cut out the insides of half the cookies. They always turn out a bit uneven but nothing a dusting of powdered sugar won’t fix. 🙂

Place the cookies at least 1 inch apart (these do not spread, fortunately!) and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the edges are golden. If your cookies are particularly big or thick you may need up to 16-18 minutes total. Let the cookies cool.

To assemble, put a teaspoonful of jam on each non-windowed cookie, then gently sandwich the windowed cookies on top. Dust with powdered sugar, take a bunch of pretty pictures, then store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks (yet another reason these cookies are great). You can definitely eat one the moment they’re sandwiched, but I recommend waiting overnight to really go to town — like macarons, these cookies benefit from having time to meld in the fridge.