You will love the taste of Cranberry Linzer Cookies

I like to plan my Holliday feasts in advance on paper. While listing all the delicious entrees and dishes, there is no way to you can miss the cranberry sauce. It tastes scrumptious with turkey and potatoes. And thinking about cranberries also brings back memories of delicious Linzer cranberry cookies.

Traditionally, they done for Christmas, but it will definitely be a hit for Thanksgiving dinner as well, especially when you put a cranberries on your shopping list in advance! Cranberries cookies will perfectly match and connect your dessert and dinner by sour and sweet taste.

They are also a very spectacular cookies for Christmas and go so well with all Christmas decors!

What the story behind the Linzer Cookies?

The history of Linzer Torte starts in 1653 or even earlier. The oldest known recipe is from a cookery book entitled (I have to write this old fashioned title in full): “Book of All Kinds of Home-Made Things, Such as Sweet Dishes, Spices, Cakes and also Every Kind of Fruit and Other Good and Useful Things, etc.” Even then, the book already included a few versions of the Linzer Torte, so it likely originated much earlier and become widely spread on the fancy tables of the Baroque.

The rich dough of the traditional Linzer Torte is made of a mix that includes ground almonds or hazelnuts. The crust is made by spreading the nutty goodness around a pan. The filling is typically some sort of fruit preserve, generally raspberry jam, or else red or black currant consomme. Sometimes, the same dough is used to make a lattice on top.

If you want to try Linzer Torte recipe, try the Strudel and Schnitzel video with recipe tutorial. The traditional of Linzer Cookies looks more or less like this:

photo: Wikipedia

The “Queen of Tarts” spreads wide world

The Linzer Torte gained popularity not only in Austria but also throughout the Habsburg Empire. It became a staple dessert during the holiday season and was often enjoyed during Christmas and other festive occasions. It was so popular and majestic, that The Linzer Torte is referred to as the “Queen of Tarts.” 

When The Linzer Torte has receipts spread widely in Europe, is came to America with Austrian and German immigrants. 

Of course this is true in Austria. But in other European countries and even in North America, plenty of Linzer Tortes or Linzer cookies tempt tourists, passersby or anyone with a sweet tooth.

The Torte Becomes a Cookie

At christmas time in Austria, in the city of Linz, bakers would mix up a batch of Linzertorte dough. However, instead of pies, they would cut out shapes. Half the shape would get a window cut in the middle. They were traditionally called “Linzer eyes”.

First, the cookies were baked until they were hard. Then, they constructed a sandwich, with the whole cookie on the bottom, the “Linzer eye” cookie on top with a red or black currant preserve between them. American bakers woulkd modify the recipe to use  raspberry jam, lingonberry preserves, or any kind of sweet filling. I mean, some would even use hazelnut chocolate spread!

As a crowning touch, the top cookie would be dusted with a ton of icing sugar or, more rarely, decorated with icing. After the cookie is put together, the filling peeks through the Linzer eye to make a beautiful dessert. In short, this is Christmas confectionery perfection.

Cranberry-Orange Linzer Cookies with stars in the middle
photo: Crochet Frog

Ok, but how to make such yummy looking cookies? All you need… (except love) are:

Linzer Cookies Cutters

There are lots of amazing Linzer Cookies Cutters, you can buy them in a kitchen equipment stores or on Amazon. While chosing your perfect set, don’t try to save your money and go cheap. Cheap cutters can deformate while cutting and linzer cookies dough is not so solid as other cookie dough. To get clean, neat edges, choose quality cutters form quality steel or thin plastic with sharpen edges.

photo: Amazon
All set with different inside shapes generally looks similar to this JOKUMO 11 Piece Round Linzer Cookie Cutter Set from Amazon which I have (see photo on the left).

Do I have to buy Linzer Cookies Cutters?

Of course not! You can use any cutters you already have, although its good to have them in different sizes – a small one and a bigger ones. A wider cutter should be approximately 2 1/2 inch wide and a mini cutter should be a 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide. Just enough to be clearly visible, but not too much to give a proper thin border which won’t brake while transferring into a baking sheet.

Dollar tree have some nice small cookie cutters and they will be perfect for an inside cutters as well!

Cranberry-Orange Linzer Cookies square
photo: Crochet Frog

If you don’t have anything like that, use just one size of a cutter, e.g. round one and skip cutting the center. Maybe it wan’t be so cute, but surely equally delicious.

I used a round cutter, a square cutter and a little star I have bought in Winners while ago. I really liked the sophisticated look of a perforated-border square cookies.

 

What if I don’t have any cookie cutters?

Think out of the box. Usually there is something in a house you can use. All my childhood I used to cut a round cookies using a top side of a glass. Or maybe you can find something useful in kids play dough set?

OK, now let’s dive in into the recipe.

Cranberry Orange Linzer Cookies

Prep Time 1 hr 10 mins Cook Time 10 mins

Total Time 1 hr 20 mins Servings 26 sandwich cookies

INGRIDIENS

Linzer Cookies:

▢ 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

▢ 1 cup granulated sugar

▢ 2 eggs

▢ 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

▢ 3/4 cup almond meal

▢ 1/2 cup cornstarch (or cornmeal)

▢ 3/4 tsp salt

▢ 2 tsp cinnamon, ground

▢ 1/4 tsp cloves, ground

▢  orange zest from 1 orange 

▢  10-15 drops of orange flavour (optional) 

 

Cranberry Orange Jam:

▢12 ounces fresh cranberries, (1 package)

▢3/4 cup granulated sugar

▢1/8 tsp salt

▢ 2 tbsp water

TIP: if you are in a hurry, you can use any favourite jam.

To make a Cranberry Orange Jam:

Cook cranberries, sugar and salt in a heavy-bottom saucepan stirring constantly until cranberries begin to burst and mixture is boiling. Reduce heat to low, and add 2 tbsp of water. Stimmer, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Let cool completely. 

To make a dough:

  1. I the bowl or a standing mixer beat butter with granulated sugar until smooth, it should take  approximately 4 minutes at medium speed. Stop in between to scrape sides and bottom of the bowl. Add eggs, and mix them well until combined. Then add flour, almond meal, cornstarch, orange zest, cinnamon, salt and cloves, and beat at low speed until dough comes together. 
  2. Linzer cookie dough is very sticky. To roll it, place the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll it to 3/16 inch of thickness.
  3. Refrigerate dough for at least 40 minutes. 
  4. Using only 2 1/2-inch round cutter (or any round or square cutter), cut the half of the dough. Then cut the matching number of cookies using a round Linzer cutter with mini insert cutter. If you don’t have it, cut all the dough with one bigger cutter and cut the center with a smaller cutter in the half of the cookies. 
  5. Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  6. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes. 
  7. Preheat over to 375 F (190 C). 
  8. Bake 10 to 12 minutes just until edges are beginning to turn golden. Try not to over bake. 
  9. Let it cool.
  10. Spread about 1 tsp of jam on the flat side of the solid cookie. Cover with a flat side of the cookie with cutouts and gently press together so they sick. Repeat with all cookies. 
  11. Garnish the top with icing sugar if desired and store in a airtight container for up to 3 days. 

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