Spitzbuben – Raspberry Linzer Cookies

A version of traditional Spitzbuben , these Linzer cookies are an absolute Christmas tradition in my home – citrusy, nutty and jammy all in one! Made with almonds and sandwiched with raspberry jam, flavoured with cinnamon and clementines, it’s simple yet perfectly festive!

Winter is officially here in London and it’s finally Christmas Eve Eve (yes, that’s definitely a thing!)! It’s that time of the year where you’re enjoying holiday baking, being surrounded by an obscene amount of gift wrapping paper and ribbons, shopping for a whole lot of people and of course, binge-watching classic Christmas movies – I’ll admit I’ve probably watched Home Alone and Elf  a good few times already this December! And to make things better it even snowed a fair bit, nothing like a white Christmas! Or a dull, grey one with the weather in London. December is definitely the most wonderful time of the year and nothing beats baking your own batch of Christmas cookies to make the holidays more festive!

This year so far has been a fairly busy one for me so far since I’ve been studying pastry and boulangerie at culinary school. We’ve made plenty of incredible desserts, lots of loaves of bread (I genuinely mean lots!) and I’ve challenged myself  to learn a lot of new things. Nonetheless, I couldn’t wait to finally get back to my blog and christmas baking! Let’s just say it’s a lot easier baking when Michael Buble’s singing in the background and you’re in Christmas pyjamas unlike when you’re racing the clock to get done with class being circled by seriously experienced French chefs watching your every move.

Now, back to these Linzers! I’ve religiously made these cookies every Christmas but stuck with good ol’ traditional round cookies because let’s face it – it’s a whole lot faster.  Fancied a change from the usual and got my hands on these gorgeous snowflake cutters this year. And since everyone I know loves eating them just as much as I love baking them, (this years batch is all gone already) I decided to make these my first Christmas bake! If any of you read last years post, I struggled with the delicate snowflake shaped cutouts. Funny enough, here’s the secret to them – use simple shaped cutters and keep the cookie dough cold, works like a charm!

PREPARATION TIME : 2 hours

INGREDIENTS (makes approx. 24 cookies)

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 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 (clementines,tangerines)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon*(optional)
  • Hint of nutmeg *(optional)
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam, seedless 
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, for topping

You will also need : A large and small cookie cutter (for the cut-outs) of your choice.

METHOD

Cream 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.

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 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 shapes

Transfer the sheet onto your baking tray and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes before baking. 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 cookie cutter to make cut-outs 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-outs 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 jam in the middle of the solid cookies and sandwich them with the sugar dusted cookies on top.

PRESSURE POINTS 

If the pastry tears while rolling it out, bring together with your hands and it 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.

As tempting as it may be, do not over fill your cookies with jam!

Once baked be sure to store the cookies on parchment paper in an airtight container to avoid them softening up over the next few days.

If you’re short on time you could also make simple round cookies with a Christmas cut-out, like these Christmas tree linzers I’d made last year!

PS: I’m changing up my usual quick, just a recipe style blog to actually writing a bit more! It’s taken a fair amount of time to get adjusted to moving house and getting my blog requirements in place but after a few big shops for my usual baking setup and I’ll admit a few meltdowns, I’m going to try and attempt to keep up with it as much as I can but let me know if you prefer these kind of blog posts! Also, a lot of you have had lovely comments and sent me messages about my pastry and bread work at Le Cordon Bleu and I truly appreciate all the love!

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 Holidays!

Nikita xx

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