There is nothing quite as festive or elegant as a Linzer Cookie! This recipe is not for the faint of heart, it’s a project but a worthwhile one. The cookies are made from a browned butter hazelnut dough and filled with a zesty currant jelly. They’re beautiful, buttery, and just sweet enough.
What You’ll Need to Make Linzer Cookies
- Butter: You’ll need 3 sticks of unsalted butter for this linzer cookie recipe. If you only have salted butter on hand, decrease the added salt to ¼ teaspoon.
- Hazelnuts: Purchase raw hazelnuts and toast them yourself in the oven at 350ºF until they are golden and fragrant, 8–12 minutes. You’ll need 1 cup hazelnuts.
- Egg yolks: Use eggs labeled as “large.” Save the egg whites for your morning omelete or use them to make a New York Sour or Sloe Gin Fizz.
- Vanilla extract: You’ll need one teaspoon of vanilla extract. I recommend using pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Lemon zest: You’ll add grated lemon zest to both the dough and the jelly filling. It adds a nice brightness to the buttery cookies. Juice the zested lemon for a tangy Dill Vinaigrette.
- All-purpose flour: You will need quite a bit of flour for this recipe—3 ¼ cups. Make sure you measure flour by fluffing, spooning and leveling. This dough is already very crumbly, so if you over-measure the flour, it will be way too crumbly to work with.
- Kosher salt
- Nutmeg: Grated fresh is always best! Use a microplane to grate the nutmeg.
- Jelly: I prefer to fill these linzer cookies with red currant jelly (Bonne Maman makes a great one). Seedless raspberry jelly will also work. Avoid using jam which has too much moisture and will soften the cookies.
- Berry liqueur: Such as crème de cassis or Chambord. A few tablespoons are added to the jelly to give it more flavor and to slightly thin it out.
Linzer Cookie Cutters
You’ll need some kind of cookie cutter for this linzer cookie recipe. And while there are a lot of specialty cutters out there to use, I recommend keeping it simple by using basic shapes like circles, squares and triangles.
One thing to keep in mind, the main cutter needs to be 3-inches large. The secondary cutter for the center can be as big or as small as you like.
Here are a few options for cookie cutters:
- Round cookie cutter set: these stacking round cutters are an essential tool in my kitchen. They’re great for biscuits and scones as well as cookies. Plus, since a set features multiple sizes, you have everything you need for these cookies.
- Mini shape cookie cutters: for more variety, use this set of squares, stars, flowers, heats, triangles and more.
- Linzer Cookie Cutters: you can also buy cookie cutters that are designed specifically for linzer cookies.
How to Make Linzer Cookies
- Brown the Butter
- Process the Hazelnuts and Sugar
- Beat Butter and Hazelnut Mixture Together
- Beat in Wet Ingredients
- Mix in Dry Ingredients
- Chill Dough
- Roll and Cut Out Dough
- Bake Cookies
- Make Filling
Brown two sticks of butter (reserve the third for later). This does two things, it removes some of the excess moisture from the butter, which makes for shorter, more tender linzer cookies.
And second, it adds heaps of flavor to the cookies. Let the brown butter cool until solidified (I pop it in the fridge to move the chilling along).
In a mini food processor, process the toasted hazelnuts until minced, then add the powdered sugar and continue to process until the mixture is a fine powder.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter and hazelnut mixture together until light and pale in color. Add the solidified browned butter and beat to combine.
Add the egg yolks, vanilla and lemon zest and beat to combine.
Whisk together the flour, salt and nutmeg then add to the butter mixture and mix to combine. The mixture will be dry and crumbly, but should come together!
Divide the linzer cookie dough in half, form into disks and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for an hour before rolling out. If you chill this dough longer than an hour (it can be made and chilled for up to 4 days) you’ll need to allow it to sit out at room temperature for 20 minutes before rolling.
Roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper (or on a generously floured work surface) to ⅛-inch thick. Cut cookies out using a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Cut centers out of half of the cookies using a smaller 1 ½-inch cutter. Reroll scraps to use up all of the dough.
Chill the cut outs for 10 minutes in the refrigerator before baking.
Bake the linzer cookies until they are dry to touch, fragrant and golden brown. Let the cookies cool briefly on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cookies bake and cool, combine the jelly, lemon zest and liqueur in a small saucepan. Heat over medium until the jam has melted and mixture is combined. Let the jam cool before sandwiching the cookies.
Sprinkle hollow cookies with confectioners’ sugar. Spread jelly on all of the whole cookies then place hollow cookies on top. Fill in the holes with a bit more jelly and serve.
Pro Tips from the Test Kitchen
- This linzer cookie dough is crumbly! It’s annoying, but it’s also key to creating a very short, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookie. To make rolling out the dough easier, roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper.
- If your dough is far too crumbly to work with/roll out, you likely measured a bit too much flour. Add the dough back to the mixing bowl and add 1 more egg yolk and mix to combine.
- If you want to prep linzer cookies in advance you can make the dough up to 4 days ahead of time, or you can bake the cookies and the un-filled cookies in the freezer up to 1 month ahead of time. When ready to serve, allow the cookies to thaw for a few hours at room temperature before filling and serving.
How Long Do Linzer Cookies Last?
Once baked and filled, linzer cookies last 3 days. After 3 days, their texture will start to soften.
Does This Make 24 Filled Cookie Sandwiches or 24 Cookie Halves?
This recipe makes 24 filled sandwich cookies and 48 cookie halves.
Why is My Dough Dry/Crumbly?
This dough is inherently pretty crumbly. It will stay together, but not super well. This is why we recommend rolling the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper. If the dough is so crumbly you can’t roll it out, you likely over-measured the flour. In this case, add the flour back to the mixing bowl and blend in one additional egg yolk until the dough just barely comes together.
These Are More Like Shortbread Cookies?
Yes, these linzer cookies are essentially hazelnut shortbread cookies that sandwich a dollop of jelly.
If You Love This Recipe, Try These Cookies
Looking for another shortbread-style cookie? Try out chocolate dipped Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies. It’s a great way to use up any leftover hazelnuts you have from this recipe!
Another crisp cookie to try is our Peppermint Cookies! Made with coconut powder and finished with a white chocolate drizzle, theze peppermint cookies are absolutely addictive.
Linzer Cookie Recipe
- 3 sticks (340 g) unsalted butter softened and divided (24 tablespoons)
- 1 cup (135g) hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
- 1 ⅓ cups (152g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 large egg yolks (40g)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon minced lemon zest
- 3 ¼ cups (420g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 (10.5 oz.) jar red currant jelly
- 3 tablespoons Crème de Cassis liqueur or Chambord
- 1 ½ teaspoon minced lemon zest
- For cookies, melt 2 sticks (1 cup) butter in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, swirling pan, until brown specks appear, 5–8 minutes. Transfer brown butter to a bowl and cool until nearly solidified.
- Pulse 1 cup hazelnuts in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add 1⅓ cups confectioners’ sugar and process until it reaches a texture of a fine meal, about 30 seconds. Transfer hazelnut mixture to a bowl with remaining 1 stick (½ cup) softened butter; beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy (you can also use a stand mixer here).
- Beat in brown butter until combined, then beat in 2 egg yolks, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and ½ teaspoon lemon zest until combined.
- Whisk together 3 ¼ cups flour, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg; gradually beat into butter mixture just until blended.
- Divide dough in half; shape each into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill, 1 hour, or up to 4 days.
- Roll each dough half between two sheets of parchment paper to ⅛-inch thick (if the dough is too firm, let it sit out for 20 minutes before rolling).
- Cut dough with a 3-inch cookie cutter, then cut out centers of half with a 1½-inch cutter. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets, and chill until firm, 10 minutes.
- Bake cookies until golden, 12–13 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on baking sheets, 2–3 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- Reroll scraps and repeat cutting, chilling and baking until all of the dough is used.
- For filling, melt jelly with crème de cassis and zest in a saucepan over medium heat; let cool.
- Sprinkle hollow cookies with powdered sugar.
- Spread a heaping ½ teaspoon filling on solid cookies; top with hollow cookies, then fill centers with ¼ teaspoon more filling.