Citrus, spice and everything nice is all you need at Christmas! Almond shortbread infused with orange zest and cinnamon, put together with a heavenly tart raspberry preserve and dusted with icing sugar make for a perfect combination of flavours for the Christmas edition of these Linzer cookies. These are an adaptation of Linzertorte, a traditional Austrian dessert and one of my absolute favourites. You can experiment with the flavours in the shortbread or use different fruit preserves and you’ll end up with different combinations every time. Let’s say these are my go-to batch of cookies to bake in times of need. Let the festive baking begin!
PREPARATION TIME : 2 hours
INGREDIENTS (makes approx. 24 cookies)
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 cup almond flour (Note: Personally, I prefer using 1/2 cup store-bought almond flour and 1/2 cup finely ground whole almonds. This adds little flecks of brown to your cookies and also adds texture)
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Zest of one orange
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon*(optional)
- Hint of nutmeg *(optional)
- 1/4 cup raspberry preserve, seedless
- 1/4 cup icing sugar, for topping
You will also need : A large and small cookie cutter of your choice. Since this ones a special Christmas Edition I’ve used 3″round and smaller Christmas tree cutters for the cut-outs.
Start by whisking the butter and caster sugar together in a mixing bowl until it turns pale and fluffy in texture. Add in the vanilla extract, orange zest and gradually add the egg yolks one at a time while whisking.
Next, sift all the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl, plain flour, almond flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and the salt. Slowly mix until it just comes together forming a dough in the bowl.
Divide the dough in half, press each half into a disc shape with your hands and cover it in cling wrap. Set the discs in the fridge for about 30 minutes in order to firm up.
Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F) while you prepare the cookies.
Roll out one disc of dough onto a sheet of parchment paper about the size of your baking tray. Using the larger 3″ round cookie cutter, cut out the cookies and pull away all the excess dough.
Transfer the sheet onto your baking tray and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. This ensures that the cookie retains its shape while in the oven. Place the cookies in the middle of the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
Repeat the entire process with the second disc of dough, except this time once you’ve cut out the larger shape use the smaller Christmas tree cookie cutter to cut out the insides of the shape and bake the same as the previous batch.
When baking Linzer cookies something I love is to try and cut out a clean centre and you can bake the little cut out trees as well. They make an additional batch of a Christmassy bite sized treat!
Once out of the oven, leave the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack. Dust the batch of hollow cookies i.e. the ones with the cut out, with icing sugar and leave the solid cookies as is. Spread the raspberry preserve in the middle of the solid cookies and top them with the sugar dusted cookies. And voila! You’re done!
If the pastry tears while rolling it out, bring together with your hands and should come together nicely.
While cutting the cookies out, it works best to roll out the pastry onto a baking sheet in order to retain the perfect shape of the cookie without having to transfer it.
Remember the simpler the better! I’ve tried these with small snowflake cut-outs and let’s say wasn’t too happy with them, didn’t look as festive to me once I was done! You could try it with stars, bigger snowflakes, trees, candy canes, gingerbread men, all work great!
Once baked be sure to place the cookies on parchment paper in an airtight container to avoid them softening up over the next few days.
If you give this recipe a go, I’d love to see how it turned out. Leave a comment below and share your pictures on Instagram using the tag #thecookbooklife!
Happy Christmas baking to all you lovely readers!