Light and buttery Linzer cookies filled with homemade cranberry jam. These beautiful cookie sandwiches are wonderful for sharing during the holidays.
Table of Contents
This cranberry linzer cookie recipe is unique because they are light, crisp, and buttery. They delicately crumble with each nibble, making them just right for spreading homemade jam in between. They are similar to slices of buttery and jam-filled linzer torte, but perfectly portioned handheld cookie versions. Go ahead and take a big bite!
I remember Jason’s mom telling me how she had craved when she was pregnant with him. Jason was born the day after Christmas, so I’m sure the bakeries in New York had these seasonal sweet treats flying off the shelf. I’m making these for you, mama Joan, and Jason because sometimes a recipe that reminds you of cherished memories is the best.
Make the cookie dough
Cream the butter to create a light, crisp, and tender cookie. Use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to whip in the granulated sugar, powdered sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. All-purpose flour, almond meal, and eggs are mixed to give the cookie structure. If you can’t find almond flour, then almond meal can be used.
Alternatively, use a food processor to make your own almond flour. Make sure you don’t chop it too much, or you’ll get almond butter! Sift it first to remove the almond skin. You can skip that step if you don’t mind the speckled brown color. The butter and powdered sugar make the cookies melt in your mouth.
Chill the dough
Before rolling, it’s important to chill the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes. Divide the dough in half, press into a 1-inch disc, plastic wrap, and refrigerate. This gives time for the butter to firm up. Cool butter makes the cookies spread less in the oven, retaining the cutout shape.
Make the filling
I make a quick and easy homemade cranberry orange jam for the cookie filling. If you’ve ever made cranberry sauce for the holidays, it’s the same process. Simmer fresh cranberries with sugar, fresh orange juice, zest, and water, until the cranberries pop, about 15 minutes. To get the jam smooth, strain the thickened mixture to get the spreadable sauce. Yep, that’s it!
Of course, you can always use canned cranberry sauce or your favorite jam if you’re short on time. Strawberry, apricot, raspberry jam, orange marmalade, lemon curd, or nutella are delicious options.
Roll and cut
Instead of flouring the work surface, I find it easier to roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll the dough out until it reaches about 1/8-inch thickness. Since the cookies will be stacked on top of each other, you don’t want to go as thick as sugar cookies. Work quickly to cut the cookie dough into shapes.
I use 2 1/2-inch fluted cookie cutters and a smaller 1-inch flute and heart-shaped cutter for the center. Use your favorite cutters to customize the design. Transfer the cutouts to large baking sheets with parchment paper. Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the remaining dough while the first tray bakes. I have lots of different cutters to create different shapes.
Bake the cookies at 375ºF (191ºC) until the edges are lightly browned. The process is quick, with about 10 minutes of baking time. Keep on the warm pan for three minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Make sure that the cookies are room temperature and not warm before filling.
Once the Linzer cookies have cooled, dust the tops with powdered sugar for an extra hint of sweetness.
Fill the linzer cookies
Each cookie is filled with jam, with about 1 tablespoon for each sandwich. A little more if you want your filling to reach the edges or the jam to peek out of the cutout a bit more in the center. Test one out to see the right amount of filling needed so it’s just right for you.
The cranberry orange jam is not overly sweet, with a nice zing of tartness naturally from the cranberries. I thought the cookies would be sweet enough to balance the taste, but you could always add more sugar if desired.
Make the cookie sandwich
Each bottom gets matched up with its top piece. Gently press the cookies together so that they stick, but the jam doesn’t ooze out of the center or sides.
The cookie dough can be made up to two days ahead or frozen for up to one month. Bake the cookies the day before filling them, store them in an airtight container at room temperature, or freeze them for two months. The cranberry jam can be made up to three days ahead of time. Do not add the jam until ready to serve!
These cranberry orange Linzer cookies are meant to be shared with people you love. They are also great without any filling, especially if you have any leftovers you didn’t fill.
If the center design loses its shape
If the center shape loses some of its definition during baking, you can do the following: Once the cookies come out of the oven, immediately use the cookie cutter to re-cut the center design. Once you add the powdered sugar, no one can tell that the shape was cut again. Don’t wait until the cookie cools. It will be much tougher to cut without breaking.
Pin this recipe to save for laterPin This
Cranberry Orange Linzer Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup almond flour, or meal
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup cranberry orange jam, or other pre-made jam
Cranberry Orange Jam
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries, (1 package)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest, freshly grated
- ½ cup orange juice, fresh, about 2 medium oranges
- ¼ cup water
- Make the Dough – Using the paddle attachment on the mixer, cream the butter, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt on medium-low speed for about 30 to 45 seconds.On low speed, mix in the almond flour or meal, flour, and egg. Mix for about 1 minute until the mixture comes together in a ball. Do not over-mix.
- Chill the Dough – Divide the dough in half, shape it into a 1" round flat disc, wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Make Cranberry Jam – Combine cranberries, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until most of the cranberries pop and the mixture has thickened. Taste and add more sugar if desired.Pour the jam into a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and scrape to separate the pulp from the skins. Discard the skin and chill the strained jam.
- Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the center position. Preheat to 375ºF (191ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll the Dough – Remove the chilled dough from the fridge. Allow it to come to room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes, until the dough is cool and pliable and doesn’t crack when rolled.Place one of the dough pieces in between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll the dough 1/8" thick.
- Cut Out Shapes – Cut the dough into shapes with large cookie cutters. Use small cutters to cut a design out of the center of half the cookies. I used a 2 ½" large cutter and 1 to 1 ½" small cutter. Save excess dough, form another disc, wrap and chill.
- Bake the Cookies – Transfer the cookies to the baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned on the edges. Remove from the oven, and cool on the tray for 3 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack.Allow cookies to cool fully before filling. Repeat the process with the second portion of dough and any excess dough.
- Fill the Cookies – Lightly dust the cookies with cutout centers with confectioners’ sugar. Spread the bottom cookies with about 1 tablespoon of jam. Add more if you want the filling to reach the edges of the cookie.Place a cutout cookie on top of each filled cookie and lightly press down to seal.
- Recipe Yield: 24 cookies, 32 if using the excess dough.
- Using Almond Meal: Sift enough through a fine-mesh strainer to yield 1 cup. Remove as much brown skin as possible.
- Make Ahead: Cookie dough can be made two days in advance or frozen for up to 1 month. The cookies can be baked the day before, stored at room temperature in an airtight container, or frozen for 2 months. Cranberry jam can be made 3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
- Storing: Store jam-filled cookies for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
Tried this recipe?
Tag me on Instagram. I'd love to see how it turns out!