Though these Einkorn Linzer Cookies take several steps to make, they're actually very easy, and absolutely delicious. These are a wonderful cookie to make with children!
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Making these cookies is every kid's baking dreams come true. When else do you get to use cookie cutters (including itty-bitty cute cookie cutters), and a sifty-shaky contraption with powdered sugar, and rolling pins, and JAM...all in one glorious cookie making extravaganza?
I always love baking with my kids. But taking an afternoon to make traditional Linzer cookies is one of those precious experiences that I (and they!) are likely to remember for a good long time. Not because the process is tedious or difficult, but because making them is a multi-step experience, and it's fun.
We of course use Einkorn flour for all of our baking, but you can absolutely use regular unbleached wheat flour in place of it.
Linzer cookies are a traditional Austrian treat, based on the Linzer Torte, a nut-flour cake filled with jam. The earliest known recipe for Linzer Torte is actually from all the way back in 1653!
My understanding is that the most authentic choice of jam for these darling little cookies would be apricot or black currant. For this batch though, we went with cherry jam, since Valentine's day is right around the corner and we thought the little red hearts would be cute!
Also, Washington's Birthday is on February 22, and the cherry jam seemed a subtle homage to our great founding president. (It also turned into a great excuse to do a George Washington coloring page with the kids while the dough chilled!)
The dough for Linzer cookies is a fairly stiff one. It needs to be chilled to roll out nicely, but chill it too long, and it gets very firm and wants to crumble rather than roll. I've found that half an hour in the fridge is really just about right.
Please don't let the long instructions and multiple steps scare you away from making these Linzer cookies! Once you get going, they're actually SO darn easy and fun. They do take a little while, but they're very forgiving and not at all hard to make.
I have a feeling these will become my new go-to holiday and celebration treat, because they're every bit as festive as a cake, but honestly easier and more fun than making and decorating a cake. Plus, I'd rather eat these than cake any day. Hope you love them as much as we do!
Einkorn Linzer Cookies
- food processor
- stand mixer (NOT necessary, but helpful)
- baking sheets
- parchment paper
- Rolling pin
- large round cookie cutters - about 2.5 to 3" in diameter. (Other "roundish" shapes work well too, like like large flowers, and circles with fluted edges.)
- small cookie cutters - about 1 to 1.25" in diameter.
- small flour mill, or sieve with spoon, for dusting powdered sugar
- A thin-bladed spatula for transferring cut out cookie dough to sheet pans
Cookie dough ingredients
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup unbleached organic sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups all-purpose Einkorn flour (plus extra for rolling the dough)
- 1 cup organic blanched almonds
Ingredients for assembly and decoration
- 2 Tbsp confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 cup seedless jam
Toast & grind the almonds
- Unless almonds have already been roasted, toast them lightly by spreading in a single layer on a baking sheet, and toasting in a 300° oven until lightly fragrant - about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.
- Add almonds to the bowl of a food processor, and process until they're finely ground. (This takes about 30 seconds in my food processor.)
Make the cookie dough
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. A stand mixer is great for this recipe, if you have one.
- Add vanilla and egg yolks, and beat together well with the butter and sugar.
- Add cinnamon, flour, baking powder, and ground almonds. Slowly mix well, until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. This will be a sturdy, heavy dough.
- Place dough in a covered container, and chill in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
Make the cookies
- Pre-heat oven to 350°.
- On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough until it's a little less than 1/4" thick. (I find that about halfway between 1/8 and 1/4" thickness is really perfect for these cookies.)
- Using the large cookie cutters, cut dough into circles, and transfer to cookie sheets, leaving 1" spacing between cookies. For 3" cookies, it works well to bake 6 at a time.
- With the small cookie cutters, cut out and remove the centers of half the dough circles. You can either gather the cut-out bits of dough, and roll them out together for making a few more cookies, or bake them just as they are into adorable little cookies.
- Bake cookies for 6-9 minutes, just until they're set and lightly brown. The timing varies depending on your oven, and the thickness of the dough, so watch closely for the first batch, and you'll quickly find out exactly how long it takes your cookies to perfectly bake.
- Remove from the oven, and allow to cool completely. Working in batches, cut and bake all remaining cookies.
Assemble the cookies
- Using the flour sifter or sieve, gently sprinkle confectioners' sugar over the half of the cookies with the cut outs.
- To assemble the cookies, take one solid cookie, and place a scant teaspoon of jam in the center. Spread the jam just slighly, taking care not to press down and break the cookie. Cover with a matching cookie that has a cut-out center.
- Repeat with all remaining cookies.
- These cookies can be made and assembled up to a day ahead (I actually think they're even more delicious on the second day!) They store very well in an airtight container for one day at room temperature, or up to two days in the fridge.
- Can you freeze these? Most linzer cookie tutorials suggest that cookies may be baked in advance, and frozen unassembled, without the jam. They can then be thawed, and assembled when ready to serve. I have actually found that these freeze and thaw quite well, even when assembled. I wouldn't recommend it for long term storage, but they do freeze and thaw quite gracefully. Just take care not to jostle them too much, since they are rather a delicate cookie and prone to breaking if handled too roughly.