Linzer cookies are some of the most charming you'll find on any holiday platter. The jewel-like sparkle of the jam and the snowy dusting of confectioners' sugar makes for a truly eye-catching cookie.
Linzers also have the reputation of being a very fussy cookie to make. Rolling the dough, cutting out intricate little shapes, baking and sandwiching, dusting and more dusting...
...it can drive the holiday spirit right out of sight. Even a dedicated decorator gal like me needs extra time and less hassle during the holiday season. So what's the answer?
King Arthur Flour Cookie Mixes to the rescue! (Cue cheering crowd and clarion trumpeting.) Our gingerbread cookie and cake mix and vanilla sugar cookie mix both feature directions for making rollout cookies right on the package. Once the cookie dough is made and chilling, it's just a matter of gathering some cutters, some jam, and some sugar, and we're off to the races.
**Don't worry if you're a bake-from-scratch purist. You can still follow along; just use your favorite rollout cookie dough**
After your dough is thoroughly chilled, roll it out to about 1/8” thick on a well-floured surface. Cut an equal number of bottom pieces (plain edges) and top pieces (scalloped edges).
Transfer the squares to a parchment-lined baking sheet. It's best to transfer the squares before cutting out the centers. Trying to move the fragile "windows" usually leads to tears and cussing.
If you need a little help getting the center squares out of the cookies, a toothpick or broom straw is very handy.
Voilà! I've shown both top and bottom together on the same sheet so you can easily see the components of one cookie, but it's best to bake the bottoms on one sheet and the tops on another. The thin, fragile tops will bake much more quickly and would scorch if baked with the larger bottoms.
Well, it's inevitable that some of the fragile tops will come askew as you're working. No worries, it can be easily fixed.
Gently take the outer and inner cutters used and place them over the bent cookie. Wiggle slightly to re-shape the cookie and remove the cutter. All is well.
Bake the cookies as directed on the package, usually about 6 to 7 minutes for the tops and 8 to 10 minutes for the bottoms. The cookies should be lightly golden brown along the outer edges. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet until you're ready to fill them.
To assemble the cookies spread a thin layer of your favorite jam across the bottom cookie. Leave a small rim around the edges, but be sure to spread far enough so that the top cookie will cover the jam edges and the window will be filled with jam.
Over a sheet of parchment paper, sift a layer of confectioners' sugar over the cookie tops. Some folks like just a light dusting, to show some of the cookie.
I prefer a heavier coating, to mimic snow. The choice is up to you.
Now, before you look at the last picture of the blog, what do you think the difference is between these cookies and the first batch of linzers?
OK, I'll tell ya. The cookies directly above are gluten-free. That's right, GF linzer cookies for the asking. AND they're made with our Gluten Free Cookie Mix! Andrea and Frank developed the recipe and PJ posted it online, so if you're living the gluten-free life and want a special cookie for the holidays or any time of year, check out our recipe for Gluten Free Roll-Out Cookies.