Linzer Cookies

Traditional linzer sandwich cookies, with roasted and ground hazelnuts. Perfect for the holidays! more »

I’ve wondered so many things about this space since last Friday’s unspeakable tragedy. I’m a parent of young (terrified) children, I don’t live too far from the town where it all happened, and most of all, I’m a person and that fact alone binds us one to another. You come here for the gf baked delights, and for the lighthearted yucks. I figure I shouldn’t disappoint. We may, indeed, need cookies and the holidays more now than we ever have before. And anyway I thought maybe you were thinking that Linzer Cookies were precious or scary or something. And I’m here to tell you that they’re Austrian, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and they’re only as scary as he is, and he’s only scary in the movies or if you’re married to him. And soon enough no one is even going to be married to him. See? Not scary at all.

Traditionally made with hazelnuts, you absolutely can make linzer cookies with almonds. Just sub them in 1 for 1 by weight, roast, and grind. But please please consider the hazelnut! The only thing is you have to rub off the skins. Big whoop! It’s a tiny little extra step and you can totally do it because even hot out of the oven the hazelnuts are just not really that hot and you can handle them in a towel right away right away. And when they are roasted they smell … divine. Promise me you’ll at least think about it.

Semi-Pro Tip #1: Please restrain your herculean strength and don’t press down on the cookies when you assemble the tops. You’ll break the cookies. True story.

Semi-Pro Tip #2: Please don’t grind the roasted nuts too much or they’ll become a paste, and then a butter.

Semi-Pro Tip #e: Your make-ahead-&-freeze option is to make & bake the cookies, and store them unassembled (& treat them with care!). You can also make the dough up to a week ahead of time, wrap it well in plastic and stash it in the refrigerator.  About 20 minutes before you’re ready to bake, place the dough on the counter to soften, and then follow the rest of the recipe as written.

I love you & I love your children. It’s okay to enjoy the holidays. I promise.

Prep time: 35 minutes       Cook time: 10 minutes       Yield: 24 sandwich cookies

5 ounces raw hazelnuts

1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar

2 1/2 cups (350 g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

16 tablespoons (224 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 extra-large egg (60 g unshelled)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

confectioners’ sugar, for dustring

seedless raspberry jam

  • Roast the hazelnuts. Preheat your oven to 350°F and set aside a clean tea towel. Place hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and place in the center of the preheated oven. Roast for 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove the hazelnuts from the oven and place them immediately in the center of the tea towel, cover the hazelnuts with the towel and rub vigorously from the outside of the towel to remove the skins of the hazelnuts. Place the peeled and roasted hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until finely ground (stopping short of creating a paste). Add the brown sugar, and pulse again until well combined, and set aside. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F.

  • Make the cookie dough. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and whisk to combine well. Add the ground hazelnut and brown sugar mixture, then the butter, egg and vanilla, mixing to combine after each addition. The dough should come together and be soft but thick. Divide the dough into two equal portions, cover one portion in plastic wrap and set it aside. Place the remaining portion between two sheets of unbleached parchment paper, and roll into a rectangle a bit less than ¼ inch thick. Place the rolled out dough, still covered in parchment, on a flat surface and place it in the freezer until firm (about 10 minutes). Repeat with the second piece of dough.

  • Cut out the cookies. Remove the first piece of rolled out dough from the freezer when firm, and cut out 24 rounds of dough with a 1 ½ inch cookie cutter. Place the rounds 1 inch apart on a rimmed baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper. Remove the second piece of rolled out dough from the freezer when firm and cut out 24 more rounds of dough with a 1 ½ inch cookie cutter. Place the rounds 1 inch apart on a rimmed baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper. From these 24 rounds, cut out and remove a small shape from the very center of the dough (here I used a small star cutter).

  • Bake the cookies. Place the first baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, until lightly golden brown (about 10 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool until firm on the baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Place the second baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, until lightly golden brown (about 9 minutes for the cookies with the center shapes cut out). These are the tops of the cookies. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool until firm on the baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Assemble. Once the cookies are completely cooled, place the cookie tops (with the cutout centers) face up on a clean sheet of parchment paper. Sprinkle evenly with confectioners’ sugar. On a separate sheet of parchment paper, lay out the whole, bottom cookies, face down, and place 1 teaspoon of jam on the underside of each cookie, spreading the jam into an even layer. Top with the sugared cookies. Do not use much pressure in assembling the cookies or the tops will break.



P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy! Take the stress out of gluten-free cooking and baking, and support the blog that supports you!

  • Jessica

    I’m allergic to nuts, how do you think these would be without nuts and would I need to sub in butter or oil to make up for the lack of nuts? 

    • Jennifer S.

      Jessica: I’m thinking these cookies are not for you as they are based on a “nut” (and no I’m not calling Nicole a nut).  But there are SOOOOOO many other cookie options on here….like the chocolate thumbprints and cutouts, etc… give those a try!

  • Jennifer S.

    I love your kids too! : )  The more love the better, right? like it will form a shield around them or something.  Thankfully my oldest (8 yrs) doesn’t have a clue about it and I hope it stays that way.  Though I did tell her on the way to the before school program that we would no longer let anyone in the locked with a code doors unless we knew them. She just said, “ok”.  Hugs to you all and happy holidays – it is ok to celebrate – in times like these, it is necessary.

    • Jennifer S.

      oh and thanks for all the cookie recipes! : )

    • gfshoestring

      Well said, Jennifer! And thanks for handling that nuts question below. Couldn’t have said it better myself!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Margaret S.

    Thank you for the distraction of my favorite cookie. Its lovely and promises to be fun to make…love and peace and cookies forever.

  • Mylesjacobsmom

    Oh Nicole…you are my GF Rockstar.  Hugs to you and your family…MY little one is gonna love these!!  (Me too)!!

  • kclark

    Good blog Nik. I do feel a little guilty about enjoying the Holidays with so many families suffering.  But you are right, it is ok.  In fact, maybe it honors them in some way.  I don’t know.  I will stop now.

    I made the Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies yesterday and they were delicious. My little neighbor (6 years old) came knocking on my door to see if I was “cooking” anything special.  He said I am the best “cooker” ever and asked me to make cinnamon rolls for him again.  How in the world do you say no to that? The Linzer Cookies look so good! Thanks!

  • Sloluckystyle

    Hello, I was fearful that you might be close to that area and am glad you and yours are safe. Praying for all, and there can never be enough love or cookies.

    Thank you for the chocolate chocolate chip and Nutella cookies….family, friends and husband’s work mates love them and most have no idea they are gluten free….they just know they are delish.

    Thank you.

  • Bren

    On my blog I said that we shouldn’t necessarily NOT feel our joy because if we allow the horror and grief and sadness over what happened to those heartbroken families in CT force all the good out of the season, we are letting the evil win.  BUT – while we are feeling some of our joy and gratitude – I believe if we could each send  a wish, a prayer, a blessing to the heavens we might be able to buoy the spirit for them.

    That said, ITA about hazlenuts!  I “rediscovered” them recently – WHY did I stop buying them??? – and roasting them sort of changes them in a way I don’t experience with other nuts.  I always have to roast double because I know that half of what I do roast will be SCARFED up or crushed and sprinkled over a salad, grilled chicken or some brussel sprouts!  My mom is sort of passing out because I listed for her all the cookies I am bringing – I guess I should maybe keep these a secret?

    • gfshoestring

      I really agree, Bren. It isn’t disrespectful to live our lives, but every single person who is a parent or a child (so, all of us) can’t help but be affected by what happened. And our hearts ache. How could they not?
      I say keep the linzers a secret!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Speedysue59

    God bless you and your family. When I need to cheer up. I always do my baking. it reminds me of when my five kids were little. And the fun we had! My heart goes out to all those families in CT. Ihave been GF for 2 years now. So my baking has changed. Since I am also dairy free. I find it hard to find a butter replacement. my stores sell earth balance in the soft tub. But not the baking sticks. Any other suggestions for a butter replacement? Have a beautiful Christmas! sue

    • gfshoestring

      Hi, Speedysue,
      I don’t generally bake dairy-free, but when I do, I use nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening (I use Spectrum brand), not a nondairy butter. Nondairy butter has a pretty distinct flavor, and a much higher moisture content than butter. It tends to make cookies spread quite a bit.
      Merry Christmas!
      xoxo Nicole

This recipe was brought to you by Nicole Hunn of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring:
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