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.
Sandwiches are good, but COOKIE sandwiches are what dreams are made of. Linzer cookies are unique because they are light, crisp and buttery. They delicately crumble with each nibble, making them just right for spreading homemade jam in between. Go ahead and take a big bite!
I remember Jason’s mom telling me how she had craved them like crazy when she was pregnant with him, too cute. 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 are the best. Let’s get rolling and make these cranberry orange Linzer cookies!
A quick homemade cranberry orange jam is super easy. If you’ve ever made cranberry sauce for the holidays, you can make this filling. If not, you are going to be a pro after making this recipe.
I’ve merely simmered fresh cranberries with sugar, fresh orange juice, zest, and water, until the cranberries “popped”, about 20 minutes. To get the jam smooth, I strained the thickened mixture to get the spreadable sauce. Yep, that’s it! Of course, you can always use your favorite jam if you’re short on time.
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 taste, but you could always add more sugar if desired.
About 1 teaspoon of jam for each sandwich. A little more if you like your filling to reach the edges, or if you want 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 base of the cookie has a warm cinnamon spice, and the almond meal in the recipe adds a sweet, nutty flavor. If you can’t find almond flour, then almond meal can be used and sifted to remove the almond skin. If you don’t mind the speckled brown color, don’t sift.
The butter and powdered sugar make them melt in your mouth. Once the Linzer cookies have cooled, the tops get a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Each bottom gets matched up with its cookie soul mate with a gentle press together so that they stick.
I have lots of different cutters to create different shapes. Here I used fluted round cookie cutters; a 2 1/2 inch for the base and a 1 to 1-1/2 inch cutter to make shapes in the center. Hearts, candy canes, snowmen, whatever design you like in the center – go for it!
Just gorgeous. My baby James has been making me feel like a rockstar in the kitchen lately. As these cookies came out of the oven, then made into these wonderful sandwiches, his face lit up and “wow” was what he exclaimed. Thank you, baby, for giving it the gold star of approval.
These cranberry orange Linzer cookies are meant to be shared with people you love. They are also great without any filling at all, especially if you have any leftovers that you didn’t fill. You can make the cookie and filling a day ahead, but don’t assemble until the day you serve them. I hope you enjoy these cookies, and that they create memories that make you smile.
The center design lost its decorative shape after baking. Is there anything I can do?
I found that when the top cookies came out of the oven, the shapes lost some of their definition as the cookie spread during baking. If you want a clean cut out shape, 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 on top, no one will be able to tell that the shape was cut again. Don’t wait until the cookie cools, it will be much tougher to cut without breaking the cookie.
Cranberry Orange Linzer Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup confectioners sugar, plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 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
- If using almond meal, sift enough through a fine-mesh strainer to yield 1 cup. Remove as much brown skin as possible. Set aside.
- Using the paddle attachment on the mixer, cream together the butter, sugars, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla on medium-low speed about 30 to 45 seconds.
- On low speed, mix in the almond flour or meal, flour, and egg. Mix for about 1 minute until mixture comes together in a ball. Do not over mix.
- Divide the dough in half, shape into a 1-inch round flat disc, wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until dough is chilled. Towards the end of the chilling time, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Meanwhile, make the cranberry orange jam. Combine cranberries, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until most cranberries pop and mixture has thickened. Taste the jam and add more sugar if desired.
- Pour the jam into a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and scrape the jam to separate the pulp from the skins. Discard the skin and chill the strained jam.
- 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 pieces in between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll the dough 1/8" thick.
- 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-inch large cutter and 1 to 1 ½-inch small cutter. Save excess dough, form another disc, wrap and chill.
- Transfer the cookies parchment-lined 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. Transfer to a cooling rack.
- Allow cookies to cool fully before filling. Repeat process with the second portion of dough and any excess dough. Recipe yields 24 cookies, 32 if using the excess dough.
- Lightly dust the cookies with cutout centers with confectioners’ sugar. Spread the solid cookies with 1 teaspoon jam. Add more jam if you want the filling to reach the edges of the cookie sandwich.
- Place a cutout cookie on top of each filled cookie and lightly press down to seal.
- You can bake cookies the day before and store in airtight container, then fill when ready to eat. If you fill the jam the day before, the cookie will get soggy so wait until the day of serving.