Linzer cookies are a holiday classic - usually made with almonds and raspberry jam as a nod to the Austrian Torte which they are named after. I took a few liberties here - swapping deeply toasted walnuts for the almonds and fig and currant jams for the raspberry so this is definitely a cookie where you can have some fun. Don’t have walnuts and fig jam? Try pecans or pistachios with strawberry or cranberry jam. If you are a home canner, I bet you have a few jars open in your fridge already. Feel free to use what you have. I used a round cookie cutter, and a couple of different sized round cutters for the centers of my cookies, but you could certainly use something a little more decorative. I also liked the look of cutting the centers purposely off-center, but it made the cookies tricky to move and they shifted in the oven a bit so I can’t say that I’d recommend it.
Walnut Linzer Cookies
Makes about 30 sandwich cookies
Slightly adapted from Holiday Cookies by Elisabet der Nederlanden
This nut-filled dough is delicious and delicate. Make sure to use enough bench flour that it doesn’t stick to your surface and handle it carefully when you are transfering the cookies to the baking sheets. I found a small offset spatula to be helpful with this task. These will loose their crispness after the first day, but are still delicious after a few days on the counter. Store them in an airtight container and redust with confectioner’s sugar if necessary.
1 1/4 cups (105g) chopped, deeply toasted walnuts
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup (225g) cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup jam
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
In a food processor, combine the walnuts, sugar, lemon zest, and salt and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and pulse until well combined. Scatter the butter over the top and pulse until a few small pieces of butter remain. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Pulse until the dough just starts to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, pat it into a square about 1-inch thick. Refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 2 days.
When you are ready to bake position 2 racks, evenly spaced, as close to the center of the oven as possible and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cut the dough in half and keep half of the dough in the refrigerator while you work. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2- inch round cookie cutter to cut as many circles as possible. Carefully transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheets. Use a small circle or decorative cutter to cut the centers out of half of the cookies on the sheets. Gather up the scraps and repeat. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Chill the cut cookies for 10 minutes before baking.
Bake the cookies 17-19 minutes or until barely golden. Rotate the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Transfer the sheets to cooling racks and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely.
Use a fine mesh sieve to dust the cooled cookies with a cutout with confectioner’s sugar. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of the jam on each of the other cookies. Top the jammed cookie with the sugared cookie and serve.