Linzer cookies are a perfectly balanced treat. A cream cheese frosting is balanced by a tart apricot jam between two sweet shortbread cookies. This Linzer cookie recipe is a play on a classic but upped a level with the addition of the cream cheese frosting. Each bite brings a mouthwatering combination of sweet and tart that will leave you wanting more.
Linzer Cookie Recipe
Traditionally, the Austrian Linzer cookie consists of two almond shortbread cookie layers sandwiched with some raspberry jam. The cookies are a play on the Linzer tart, which is basically a tart made with the same dough, raspberry or black currant preserves topped with a lattice top.
My version of this cookie is a little bit different, but still oh so delicious. I added a layer of cream cheese buttercream in between to give it a creamy center that you’ll absolutely love! Also, I swapped out the raspberry jam for tart apricot jam. The combination of the buttercream and the jam makes these Linzer cookies so, so good!
I’ve been making a variation of this Linzer cookie recipe for a long time and it’s always a hit when I bring it over somewhere. Keeping stock of them is the freezer is the worst in the best possible way, haha! They freeze wonderfully, but it’s impossible not to reach into the freezer too many times throughout the day. But, if you have steel willpower make the whole batch and freeze half for a delicious treat any time of day.
Growing up in Ukraine, I remember eating something similar, although the version we had never had enough filling. This Linzer cookie recipe has plenty of filling to make up for all the cream I missed as a child! 🙂
Linzer Tart Cookie
The best way I can think to describe the Linzer tart cookie to someone who has never had one is it’s like a cross between a tart and a thumbprint cookie. The top cookie with the hole is filled with jam, similar to a thumbprint cookie. Then a layer of cream cheese filling is slathered on, then sandwiched with another cookie, similar to a tart.
So, just think of the Linzer tart cookie as exactly what it sounds like: a tart combined with a cookie. The best of both worlds, in my opinion.
Shortbread Cookies with Jam
Shortbread cookies on their own are not very exciting sometimes. But, add some jam and things get interesting! These almond shortbread cookies with jam work so well thanks to the apricot flavor from the jam. The layer of cream cheese cream, while not traditional makes these so, so good.
The moisture from the cream seeps into the shortbread making the cookie super tender instead of hard and brittle. The apricot jam is the perfect counterbalance to the sweetness, making each bite of Linzer cookie pure heaven!
Tips for Making the Linzer Cookies
- Half the recipe: This recipe makes a lot of Linzer cookies (30). If you are baking just for yourself and your family, you can halve the recipe to make the batch more manageable.
- Choose tart jam: I use apricot jam for this recipe. If you wish to go with the traditional choice, you can use raspberry jam instead. Make sure the jam you choose isn’t too sugary. I recommend apricot because it has that tartness to it that will counterbalance the sweetness of the Linzer cookies.
- Refrigerate the dough: After you mix the dough for the Linzer cookies, it will need to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour before rolling.
- Use parchment paper: The dough will be sticky and crumbly, so you will need to roll it between two layers of parchment paper to prevent sticking.
- Review the step by step pictures: If you need step by step pictures for making the Linzer cookie dough and the cream cheese buttercream see this recipe. This Linzer cookie recipe is pretty much the same as that Plum butter cookie, except for this one uses some almond flour in the dough and apricot jam instead of plum butter.
- Refrigerate the Linzer Cookies: the cookies need to be refrigerated so that all the layers mend together.
- Freeze extra: Once made, the Linzer cookies can be frozen for up to 2 months in an airtight container.
More Cookie Recipes to Try:
- Amaretti Cookies
- Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip
- Crispy Wafer Cookies
- Walnut Shaped Cookies with Dulce de Leche
Linzer Cookies (Shortbread Cookies with Jam)
Linzer cookies are similar to thumbprint cookies. A beautiful shortbread is filled with cream cheese filling and apricot jam, then lightly dusted with powdered sugar for a sweet treat.
Shortbread Cookie Ingredients
- 1/2 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tbsp vinegar
- 1/4 cup butter, unsalted room temperature
- 1/2 cup of Crisco Shortening – Butter Flavor 1/2 cup butter = 3 oz Crisco or 4 oz butter (115 grams), room temperature (find it in the baking section of your store)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 - 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup almond flour
Cream Cheese Buttercream Ingredients
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup cream cheese room temperature
- 1/4 cup heavy cream at least 33% fat content
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cups Apricot Jam
How to make the Linzer Cookies
Preheat oven to 350 F with the rack in the middle.
Combine baking soda with vinegar in a cup and stir until the foam subsides.
Cream together 1/4 cup butter with 1/2 cup Crisco shortening and 1/2 cup sugar for about 2 minutes with a mixer.
Add 1/4 cup of sour cream, 1 egg yolks, 1 egg, and the baking soda+vinegar mixture and mix until combined.
Now add 1 cups sifted flour and mix until it comes together. Once the flour is mixed in, add 3/4 cup almond flour and mix it in by hand. If the dough still sticks to your hands mix in up to 1/4 cup more of all-purpose flour. Split the dough into 4 equal pieces and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
Shape and Bake the cookies
The dough is somewhat hard to roll out in a traditional way, so we will need to use special techniques to keep the cookies from sticking to the rolling pin, falling apart, or losing shape as you transfer them from the rolling surface to the baking sheet.
To roll the dough out use two large pieces of parchment paper. Now put them inside your jelly roll baking sheet and bend the sides. This will mark how far you need to roll out the dough.
Remove the sheets and place the dough in the middle of the first sheet. Flatten it into a disk. Top it with the second piece of parchment paper and roll the dough to about 3/8" thickness (3/8" is a bit thinner then 1/4") making it the shape of the inside of the baking sheet and trying to stay within the marked lines. The parchment paper keeps the rolling pin from sticking to the dough.
Use a 2 inch round scalloped cookie cutter to cut out round cookie shapes spacing the cutouts about 1/4" of an inch between each cookie. The cookies don't expand much, so they will be ok. Now carefully remove the dough excess around the cutouts. Transfer the parchment with the cutouts to the baking sheet.
To make holes in the top cookies, use a smaller round object to cut out the hole in the middle of each cookie. As you bake, make sure you get equal quantities of both the bases and the tops with the holes in the middle.
Bake in the middle rack for about 7 minutes, or until barely golden in color, watch them closely as they burn very quickly. Setting a timer is the best way to keep them consistent color and not burn them.
Remove from the oven, peel cookies off the parchment paper and allow to cool. Use the parchment paper again to roll out the remaining dough and bake the rest of the cookies.
Make the Cream Cheese Buttercream Filling
Whip 1 stick butter and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract for about 5 minutes or until very white/pale in color and increased in volume.
Now cut the cream cheese into smaller pieces and add them into the whipped butter a couple cubes at a time, minimally whipping after each addition.
Separately whip the heavy cream, then carefully fold it into whipped butter and cream cheese mixture. Do not overfold, as the mixture separates easily. If the mixture does start to separate, take a couple spoons of buttercream and microwave it in 5 seconds increments, about 2 or 3 times, then fold it back into the rest of the buttercream. Do so, until the cream comes together. With heating the buttercream, you're just trying to bring it to room temperature, and not make it melt.
How to fill the Linzer Cookies
With a pastry bag: Fill two pastry bags with a 1/4 inch round tip each. Fill one bag with cream cheese buttercream and the other one with apricot jam.
Make a thick ring with the buttercream on the solid half of the cookie, leaving space in the middle for the apricot jam. Top with the other half of the cookie that has a hole in the middle. Now carefully pipe some apricot jam in the middle of the hole.
With a spoon: You can also use just a plain butter knife and a spoon to spread cream cheese buttercream and apricot jam on each half of the cookie, but it does take longer than using a pastry bag. Once you spread the buttercream on the bottom half, top with the cookie that has the hole and press together. Now drop a dollop of the apricot jam into the hole.
Add powdered sugar
Dust the cookies with powdered sugar before transferring cookies to an airtight container. Cookies should be refrigerated for at least 24 hours before consuming, this will bind the two cookie halves together and make them easier to hold and eat.
Cookies can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months. To thaw, transfer to fridge and leave there until no longer frozen.
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