Shortbread linzer cookies are a simple and delicious alternative to traditional linzer cookies. These small batch cookies are made with just 6 simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Plus, these cookie sandwiches are made without almond flour, so they're nut-free.
Linzer cookies are right up there with gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies at the top of the list of classic Christmas cookie recipes. The delicate cookies - dusted with confectioners' sugar and sandwiched with fruit jam - are as beautiful as they are iconic. These shortbread linzer cookies put a simplified spin on traditional linzer cookies.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Traditional linzer cookies are made with both all-purpose flour and almond flour, along with butter, egg, sugar, and flavorings like vanilla extract and citrus zest or spices. Shortbread, on the other hand, is made with just just 5 ingredients: all-purpose flour, confectioners' (powdered) sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and salt (plus raspberry jam for filling the cookie sandwiches). These cookies are delicate and delicious just like the original, but they're quick and easy to make with staple ingredients in a bakers' pantry. Anything I can do to simplify my holiday baking and to-do list is a win!
Another plus of this shortbread cookie version is that it has no nuts since it's made without almond flour. Almond flour is more expensive than all-purpose flour, and not every grocery store carries it. Besides the fact that I don't always have almond flour on hand, our son, Cameron, has a tree-nut sensitivity that led me to creating this nut-free version of linzer cookies. To make a long story short, after nearly 2 years of unexplained symptoms and tracking his food, we finally realized that almonds were the culprit after I gave him a linzer cookie last Christmas. Shortbread linzer cookies are our new favorite, and if you're looking for nut-free sandwich cookie this holiday season, this is it!
Unsalted Butter - Butter provides delicious flavor to the simple shortbread cookies and also holds together the egg-free cookie dough. I always recommend baking with unsalted butter so that you can control the amount of salt in the recipe. And be sure to use room temperature butter so that it can be blended smooth.
Confectioners' Sugar - Confectioners' sugar - or powdered sugar or 10x sugar - is much more finely ground than granulated sugar and creates a cookie that will melt in your mouth!
Raspberry Jam - Raspberry jam is the perfect complement to the buttery shortbread cookies. Jam isn't quite as thick as jelly and not as runny or chunky as preserves, making it the ideal fruit spread for sandwich cookies.
Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions
- Make the cookie dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth and well blended.
- Add flour and mix until combined and dough comes together.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- When the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 300°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Roll and cut the cookies. Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface (A). Use your hands to form the dough into a round disk (B). Then use a floured rolling pin to roll the cookie dough into a circle ¼ inch thick (C).
- Using a 2 inch fluted round cookie cutter, cut circles of dough. Then using a mini shape cookie cutter, cut shapes out of the center of half of the dough circles. Remove the cut out shapes from the cut cookies and transfer the cookie dough circles to the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches of space between each cookie.
- Re-roll the scraps and repeat Step #6. You should have 16 cookie dough circles (8 with shapes cut out and 8 without).
- Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes or until edges just begin to turn golden. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Assemble the cookie sandwiches when the cookies have cooled completely. Place cookie tops (those with cutouts) on a surface (a baking sheet or piece of parchment). Add a bit of confectioners' sugar to a sifter and sprinkle over the cookie tops.
- Turn cookie bottoms (those without cutouts) upside down so that the side that touched the baking sheet while baking faces up. Spread each one with a heaping teaspoon of jam.
- Top each cookie bottom spread with jam with a cookie top dusted with confectioners' sugar and enjoy!
Linzer Cookie Filling Ideas
- Fruit jam (any flavor you like!)
- Chocolate ganache
- Lemon curd
- Salted caramel sauce
- Dulce de Leche
- Marshmallow fluff
A linzer cookie cutter that includes a round fluted cutter for the cookies and mini shape cutters for cutting out the centers makes cutting these cookies a breeze, but it's not necessary. I used the Wilton linzer cookie cutter set, but you can use a round cookie or biscuit cutter for the cookies and any mini cookie cutter that you like for the centers.
The cookie cutter that I used is 2 inches in diameter. You can use a cookie cutter that is larger, though you will get fewer cookies out of a batch using a larger cookie cutter. I do not recommend using a cookie cutter that's smaller than 2 inches since you won't have enough room to cut a mini shape into the top cookies.
When it comes to storing the cookies, you have lots of options. Store filled sandwich cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Alternatively the unfilled shortbread cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days, so you could store the cookies separately and assemble the sandwiches when you're ready to serve them.
Shortbread cookies also freeze well, and these cookies can be frozen - either filled or unfilled - stacked in an airtight container for up to 1 month. It's best to freeze the shortbread cookies plain, then defrost them, sprinkle the tops with confectioners' sugar, and assemble the cookie sandwiches when you're ready to serve. However, it is possible to freeze the assembled cookie sandwiches. If freezing filled cookies, stack them between layers of parchment paper in the sealed container and know that the cookies will be slightly soft from the moisture of the jam when they're defrosted.
Linzer cookies originated in Austria and are inspired by the linzer torte, a pastry that's filled with fruit jam and topped with a lattice crust. The torte originated in the Austrian city of Linz.
Linzer cookies do not need to be refrigerated if filled with fruit jam. The jam's high sugar content makes it safe to store at room temperature for a couple of days. Check out my suggestions above in Recipe Tips for how to store these cookies.
The secret to delicious shortbread cookies is to use quality ingredients. With so few ingredients in the recipe, each one makes an impact on the cookies' taste and texture. Good quality butter is especially critical, so avoid butter alternatives or cheap butter that contains a low percentage of butterfat.
I always recommend baking with unsalted butter, since it tends to be fresher and allows you to control the amount of salt in the recipe. If salted butter is what you have on hand or if that's your preference then yes, you can use it in place of the unsalted butter in this recipe. In that case, omit the salt in the recipe.
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