Cranberry Linzer Cookies

4.91 from 22 votes
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Light and buttery Linzer cookies filled with homemade cranberry jam. These beautiful cookie sandwiches are wonderful for sharing during the holidays.

Linzer cookies with cranberry filling.

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.

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

A mixture of cranberry and orange jam for the linzer cookies.

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 time

White powdered sugar being sprinkled over cookies on a paper lined sheet tray.

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

Compilation of two photos showing the process of spreading cranberry jam onto a linzer cookie.

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.

Fingers placing the top half of a linzer cookie over the cranberry jam filling.

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.

Linzer cookies with cranberry jam filling placed on a black wire rack.

Make ahead

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.

A stack of four linzer cookies with a red fruit filling.

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.

Cranberry Orange Linzer Cookies

Light and buttery almond flavored Linzer cookies recipe filled with homemade cranberry orange jam. These beautiful cookie sandwiches are wonderful for sharing during the holidays.
4.91 from 22 votes
Prep Time1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Course Dessert
Cuisine French

Ingredients 
 

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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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. 

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 24 cookies
Calories 163kcal (8%)Carbohydrates 28g (9%)Protein 2g (4%)Fat 5g (8%)Saturated Fat 2g (10%)Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 9mg (3%)Sodium 65mg (3%)Potassium 44mg (1%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 18g (20%)Vitamin A 100IU (2%)Vitamin C 2.5mg (3%)Calcium 30mg (3%)Iron 0.7mg (4%)

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.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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18 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Raquel @ My California Roots says

    These look so cute, Jessica! I was wondering how you got the center cutouts to look so perfect 😉

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you Raquel! I cut out the shapes in the center before they baked. But then found that they spread a little after baking. So immediately after I baked them when still warm, I used the same cutter to re cut the center shape. Worked perfect! You can’t wait to do this once they’ve cooled, otherwise the cookies will break.

  2. Nicoletta @ sugarlovespices says

    They look so beautiful and I know they taste amazing. I used to make a Linzer Torte with raspberry jam and I loved it. Those cookies are a great addition to the Holiday Desserts!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Manjula- Yes, once you fill the cookies you would need to eat them within the same day. I would either wait to fill them until you give them to your friend, or perhaps you could use a store bought jam that has more sugar and may not get soggy as quickly. I only recommend this because you are thinking to give this as a present and the homemade cranberry orange jam is fresh and has less sugar than normal commercially produced jams. Thanks!

  3. Molly says

    I just made these cookies and I’m really happy with how they turned out! I found the recipe because I had a batch of cranberry orange jam I made for a different recipe (that failed miserably) and was looking for a way to use it up. These cookies are delicious! The dough rolled out better than any I’ve tried recently and the cookies and cutouts didn’t spread at all whether the batch was chilled or not. Admittedly I’ve never had a Linzer cookie before, but the almond flavor was really nice and tempered the sweetness of the jam I had made! I’m excited to try them again and use the jam recipe provided here. Overall this was a very beginner-friendly cookie recipe that I’m so happy to have found.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I’m so glad that you made the Linzer cookies! What a wonderful way to use up your cranberry sauce. Happy baking!

  4. Kim R. says

    I made these last year and just loved them (so did everyone that tried them!). I want to make them again this year. Can I sub regular flour for the almond flour/what quantity? With grocery prices so high at the moment, I’d prefer to stick with all purpose.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I haven’t tested making Linzer cookies using just flour. The nuts give it that crisp and crumbly texture. May I suggest you try my vanilla bean shortbread cookie instead if you want shortbread-style cookies, but not using almond flour?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I haven’t tried using all almond flour for the linzer cookies. My guess would that it would be very dense, a bit greasy, and more deliciate. I would substitute the flour with a gluten-free baking flour if that works with the allergy restriction.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      If using a food processor I would pulse to cream the butter and sugar together. Scrape down the sides as needed to get the ingredients incorporated together. Let me know how it goes!