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I’ve been making Linzer tortes for ages. In the 1970s, when I had a dessert shop in Berkeley, California, Austrian visitors used to say that my Linzer torte was better than what they could get back home. (I never admitted that I had never tasted the real thing!)
My Linzer cookies borrow the spices, citrus, and blend of almonds and hazelnuts from my original Linzer torte. This new version looks relaxed and modern—not quite so prim—but still pretty as a picture. I love that the they melt in your mouth and are not too sweet to fill with jam. Over the years, I have fiddled with the ingredients and played with the method. There is only one problem with Linzer cookies: Everyone admires their pretty jam windows with sugar-dusted frames, but most of us don’t love the finicky business of rolling out and cutting the dough into various shapes. The solution is to make them a slice and bake operation. Put away the rolling pin and simply shape the dough into a fat log, chill it, and slice it. Then cut holes from half of the slices for the windows (you can bake the little cutouts, too).
After experimenting with nut flours instead of starting with whole nuts in my food processor, I find that the cookies are more tender than ever and that less nut flour (by weight) than nuts are needed for the best flavor! Go figure. Unfilled cookies keep well and are filled with jam at the last minute to maintain their delicate crunch. (At least that’s my party line.) I find day old filled cookies surprisingly good because, with time, the jam and cookies merge into something a little softer and more like an actual Linzer torte!
It’s a win either way. Try different preserves and jam, even chutney or peanut butter. Switch it up. Have some fun. Little kids (of all ages) will enjoy the tiny cutouts, and the cookies themselves will be gobbled up in an instant.
- 2 1/4 cups (285 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (55 grams) finely ground hazelnut flour
- 2/3 cup (55 grams) finely ground almond flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 16 tablespoons (225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 small unsprayed or organic lemon
- 1 medium unsprayed or organic orange
- 2/3 cup cup preserves/jam or fruit spread, strained if very lumpy
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
Baking with alternative flours has never tasted better: Bob's Red Mill's various flours, from their 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour to their hazelnut and almond flours, are high quality and all-natural. See all their flours here.