Nothing holds a candle to my mom’s Christmas cookies. I’m completely biased here, but I feel fairly confident putting my mom’s line up of Christmas cookies against any other bakes. But there is one cookie to rule them all. One cookie reigns supreme. The Linzer Cookie.
Quick History of the Linzer
This famous cookie has its origins as the Austrian Linzertorte (from the city of Linz). Apparently the Linzertorte can be traced all the way back to 1653. While many believe the cookie variation began in Linz as well, it really took off when immigrants from Austria and Germany came to the United States around the 1850s. Since that time, Linzer cookie variations popped up in places all over the country and can be found in many traditional bakeries – and homes – today. We make our family recipe with almonds, but some people go the hazelnut route. I stick with the classic raspberry jam, but feel free to use whatever you prefer here.
Why the Linzer Rules
Here’s my dish on the Linzer. The dough has so much flavor and texture due to the nuts, which IMO is a much-needed break from all the sugar cookies one typically finds during the holidays. It is crispy, crumbly, with a slight chew where the jam comes into contact with the cookie surface. The powdered sugar gives a slight hit of that extra sweet, while the jam counters with tartness and acidity.
A key to make the proper Linzer is to get the right thickness. Too thick of a cookie will result in the sandwiched layers being out of proportion with the jam layer. Too thin, and the sandwich will easily crack and crumble. Aim to roll your dough out to about 1/8 inch.
Don’t be too stingy with the jam, either. You want a nice layer but not so much that when you put the top on, jam spills out over the bottom. No pressure.
I’m still working to replicate my mom’s cookies, between the rolling of the dough and the jam layering and the sugar powdering, there’s a lot to get technically correct here. But they’re totally worth the pursuit of perfection!Print