Mix it up: Linzer cookies in a snap

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Linzer cookies are some of the most charming you’ll find on any holiday platter. The jewel-like sparkle of the jam and the snowy dusting of confectioners’ sugar makes for a truly eye-catching cookie.

Linzers also have the reputation of being a very fussy cookie to make. Rolling the dough, cutting out intricate little shapes, baking and sandwiching, dusting and more dusting…

…it can drive the holiday spirit right out of sight. Even a dedicated decorator gal like me needs extra time and less hassle during the holiday season. So what’s the answer?

King Arthur Flour Cookie Mixes to the rescue! (Cue cheering crowd and clarion trumpeting.) Our gingerbread cookie and cake mix and vanilla sugar cookie mix both feature directions for making rollout cookies right on the package.  Once the cookie dough is made and chilling, it’s just a matter of gathering some cutters, some jam, and some sugar, and we’re off to the races.

**Don’t worry if you’re a bake-from-scratch purist. You can still follow along; just use your favorite rollout cookie dough**

After your dough is thoroughly chilled, roll it out to about 1/8” thick on a well-floured surface. Cut an equal number of bottom pieces (plain edges) and top pieces (scalloped edges). I like our new square cutter set because I can choose my own sizes for cookies, and choose the edge I want to use.

Transfer the squares to a parchment-lined baking sheet. It’s best to transfer the squares before cutting out the centers. Trying to move the fragile “windows” usually leads to tears and cussing.

If you need a little help getting the center squares out of the cookies, a toothpick or broom straw is very handy.

Voilà! I’ve shown both top and bottom together on the same sheet so you can easily see the components of one cookie, but it’s best to bake the bottoms on one sheet and the tops on another. The thin, fragile tops will bake much more quickly and would scorch if baked with the larger bottoms.

Well, it’s inevitable that some of the fragile tops will come askew as you’re working. No worries, it can be easily fixed.

Gently take the outer and inner cutters used and place them over the bent cookie. Wiggle slightly to re-shape the cookie and remove the cutter. All is well.

Bake the cookies as directed on the package, usually about 6 to 7 minutes for the tops and 8 to 10 minutes for the bottoms. The cookies should be lightly golden brown along the outer edges.  Cool the cookies on the baking sheet until you’re ready to fill them.

To assemble the cookies spread a thin layer of your favorite jam across the bottom cookie. Leave a small rim around the edges, but be sure to spread far enough so that the top cookie will cover the jam edges and the window will be filled with jam.

Over a sheet of parchment paper, sift a layer of confectioners’ sugar over the cookie tops. Some folks like just a light dusting, to show some of the cookie.

I prefer a heavier coating, to mimic snow. The choice is up to you.

Now, before  you look at the last picture of the blog, scroll to the top and take a look at the first photo (the beauty shot) again. Then, come back to the last photo.  What do you think the difference is between these two batches of linzers?

OK, I’ll tell ya. The cookies directly above are gluten-free. That’s right, GF linzer cookies for the asking. AND they’re made with our Gluten Free Cookie Mix! Andrea and Frank developed the recipe and PJ posted it online, so if you’re living the gluten-free life and want a special cookie for the holidays or any time of year, check out our recipe for Gluten Free Roll-Out Cookies.

Please bake, rate, and review our King Arthur Flour cookie mixes, our Gluten Free Cookie Mix and our recipe for Gluten Free Roll-Out Cookies.

P.S. Glad to hear folks are lovin’ the red plates in the photo. You can find them on our site here: Pretty Red Plates

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. buzzpgh

    By the time you buy the mixes, special cutters, extra ingredients, you have spent a small fortune. I will stick to my own recipe. Thank you!
    We do say “to each his or her own” absolutely, but hope that those who haven’t tried Linzers or are looking for a new way to use their favorite mixes will find inspiration. Thanks for sharing your feedback. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  2. cindiful

    Thanks for this recipe! I have been wanting to try these and found this to be very helpful in my decision to make them for Christmas this year. The folks at KAF obviously put in a lot of time and hard work to get these recipes and tips to us so why leave a negative comment – just keep it to yourself the next time!
    HI Cindiful,
    I really hope you do try linzers this year, there is something extra special about them on a cookie tray. Thanks too for your kind words. I know we all won’t always agree, but we can agree to disagree agreeably. All agreed? :) ~MaryJane

    Reply
  3. rose

    your blog is up there amidst the Absolute Top Ten in my book! it is so tutorial and eclectic and uses the KAF products so that we can see all the possibilities; it is, obviously, the passion of all of you who are part of this! Thank you for such great photos!
    Hi Rose,
    I love your phrase “tutorial and eclectic”. I think that describes our test kitchen team exactly! Never a day goes by in the kitchen that I don’t learn something from one of my fellow bakers and bloggers, and we’re so happy to bring that to all of you. P.S. Care to share the other 9 in the list? We love to see what others are doing online. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. fran16250

    I AGREE!
    I have always loved linzers, this post has inspired me to include them in my christmas cookie baking this year. I’ll probably use the KAF Linzer Butter Cookie recipe with my homemade blueberry jam. In fact I am making ONLY KAF cookie recipes this year as I have never met a KAF recipe that has failed me. I appreciate the tip about baking the tops seperately. I never would have thought of that.
    Keep on Blogging!!!
    The blueberry jam sounds delish, and the deep blue/purple color with the white sugar is sure to be a stunner. I hope we get to see pictures! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  5. SMJ

    So I can use any rollout cookie dough for these? Cool. Now I can make regular cutouts to decorate and linzers from the same dough, just by using different cutters. BRILLIANT!!!! My new year’s resolution for 2010 was to learn to bake from scratch and I have had so much fun doing it. I have become addicted to your blog and I will not use any flour that is not KAF. Every single one of the recipes I have tried from your site has been a hit. Thank you and Happy Holidays.
    Hi SMJ,
    While true linzer cookies are made with a nut flour dough, linzer type or linzer style cookies can be made with any dough and filling you choose. The variations are endless! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  6. piercesb

    Thanks for making linzer cookies seem doable and for all the extra tips. Do you have a suggestion for making the gluten free version without the cookie mix? Some of your GF flour blend is rolling my way and I would love to make these for my GF friend.
    I’d start with the basic GF chocolate chip cookie recipe from our site, leaving out the chips and nuts, then adding the additional nut flour from the GF Roll-out recipe. Add the flour some at a time, as you don’t want it to dry out too much. It will still need to be chilled to roll well. You’ll definitely need to tweak some, but I hope this gets you off to a good start.
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  7. elaine322

    This sounds good enough for me to give them a try this holiday season-probably with your linzer butter cookie recipe. I just wish that this help page could be added to my recipe box, as it’s very helpful and just about impossible to find it you search for it (must have exact wording or it does not come up). It seems to me that a very helpful change to your website in the future.
    Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll pass it along to the web team. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  8. milkwithknives

    Oh, my. I never make roll out cookies as it has always seemed too fussy for me, but maybe I can spend one of my Thanksgiving days off giving these a bash. They look so beautiful, and your matter of fact directions make me think they’re not as hard or fussy as I thought. Maybe a gingersnap dough and apple butter….

    Thanks so much for demystifying this and so many other baked treats. There are a number of things I have seen demonstrated and thoroughly explained here that I have dared to try, and I’m not sure I would have on my own. You’re in my top three!

    Reply
  9. huntspencil

    When I have used jam on cookies, like Thumbprints, I have found the jam to be ‘runny’ and, inevitably, make it to the front of my blouse with the first bite! Rather than wear a bib, perhaps you can suggest a type of jam, or method that will create the consistency needed to stay in place. The jam in your photos look like they have set firmer and look so beautifully enticing.
    Hi there,
    That’s a great idea, I’ll try to remember in future. The jams that I used for these were a store brand orange marmalade and a national brand Sugar Free strawberry. Marmalades tend to be a bit on the thicker side anyway. Solo also makes very nice canned fillings that are thicker than regular jams, you can find them in the baking aisle. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  10. Brenda

    I would guess that the first batch was made with sugar cookie dough, and the second maybe gingerbread dough?
    The cookies in the very top photo were made with our regular mixes, the cookies in the bottom photo were made with our Gluten-Free cookie mix. Hard to tell the difference, isn’t it? :) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  11. stillsanefornow

    Sometimes the cookies already filled will get a little too soft over time and it’s just as easy to save the cookies unfilled and fill when ready to serve. That way the cookies stay firm but not soggy. And I love the idea of using your mixes, people really can’t tell the difference.
    Great hint, thank you for sharing. Yes, I would only fill these the night before or the morning of your cookie swap or event. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  12. Margy

    Constructive criticism or suggestions–bring them on, we all might learn something new. As to runny jam, if I get a jar that seems too “loose”, I put it into a wide-bottomed pan over low heat and stir until it concentrates down to almost the consistency I want, cool (it thickens more on cooling), and then use to fill my baked cookies. I don’t do this if the jam is used on unbaked thumbprint cookies, as the jam “gels” and thickens in the oven.

    We love the exchange this forum allows and we foodies thrive on the sharing of recipes, variations, methods, products. Thanks for sharing your solution to the runny jelly dilemma. Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  13. lishy

    I have had the same problem as another commenter with runny jam. I solved it my mixing in some of your instant clearjel till it makes a firmer consistency, just don’t go too far, or you make a gumdrop consistency.

    Reply
  14. fran16250

    Speaking of gumdrops…a while back there was some discussion about a new product…jam baking bits I believe. What ever happened to them? I thought they were to be introduced for the holiday baking season. Did I miss them? If they have not arrived will they be coming soon? They sounded very interesting.

    Fran, check out the Jammy Bits- awaiting only your imagination…PJH

    Reply
  15. elaine322

    I’ve just completed a batch of these cookies-and I’ve never made Linzer cookies before. I must say that these are some of the best tasting cookies I’ve tasted. They were not difficult to make, although I only got 2 dozen cookies so, obviously, my cutter was much larger. Now for my question-what’s the best way to store these cookies? I did see the comment above to store them and fill them when ready to serve, but I’ve already filled the whole batch. Now what? Thanks for your help!

    Depends when you want them. If they’re for Christmas, they should be OK stored at room temperature, tightly wrapped; stack in a tin or pan with layers of parchment in between. If for after Christmas, you’d probably want to wrap well, and freeze. PJH

    Reply

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