Each year that the holiday cookie spreads come out in food magazines, the Linzer cookies catch my eye. Most often, they appear in bar form, constructed on a sheet pan, spread with jam, covered with a lattice top, and perhaps sprinkled with powdered sugar. Thinking about the attraction now, it was the pastry that caught my attention, and when I made them, they were always a favorite.
With that interest, I chose Hazelnut Linzer Cookies as my first choice for our holiday bake fest. Although nothing like the Linzertorte I’ve enjoyed in the past, these cookies are a pleasant combination of nutty crunch and sweet, tart jam.
If they’re so satisfying and the first to be baked, why not the first to be shared? My notes tell the story.
Hazelnut Linzer Cookies
- 1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar plus more for decorating
- 5 teaspoons (packed) finely grated orange peel
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1-1/4 cups hazelnuts, finely ground in processor (about 1-1/2 cups ground)
- blackberry jam
- I was so excited to make these cookies and unfortunately, they were the biggest disappointment. The dough is again a very soft one, and so I did make sure they were refrigerated well. In between gathering and re-rolling, for smaller quantities, I usually rely on the freezer which normally works quite well.
- The directions call for rack switching about half way through the cooking time and although I don’t normally do this (I almost always use convection settings on my oven — the heated air swirls quite effectively through the sheets) I decided to follow the directions exactly.
- Although I usually bake cookies on my well-worn jellyroll pans, I happened onto some Calphalon cookie sheets at a local discount store and thought, What the heck! They are more thin in their construction than my sturdy jellyroll pans, but I used silicone liners, and was switching racks, so never gave it a thought that I’d have to worry about anything burning.
- HALF the batch burned — burned as in a nice, rich shade of espresso which I am quite attached to on furniture and accessories, but cookies? Not so much. Duly noted that there may have been some inconsistencies in the thickness of the cut outs. Between batches, I did try the non-convection oven instead just to make sure my oven was calibrated correctly (although I haven’t had problems with anything else lately), and I reduced the temperature from 325 degrees F to 315 degrees F, and baking time from 22 minutes to 15. Unfortunately, the cookies still sported a high brown. I ended up with the nine whole cookies you see on the plate. Nine. Unbelievable. I’ll take the blame for the mishap, but at this point, I truly haven’t figured out what went wrong.
- To fill the cookies, I used lingonberry jam I found at IKEA of all places. It was tart and wonderful — almost good enough to make up for the waste of all those unusable halves.
- Let me know if these work for you. In the meantime, I’m off to consider a traditional linzertorte or perhaps another linzer cookie recipe just for comparison. Then maybe my ego will be restored.
Don’t forget to check out my fellow cookie bakers this holiday season. Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen, Courtney of Coco Cooks, and Judy of No Fear Entertaining who are all returning this year, and Michelle of Big Black Dog, Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook, Renee of Flamingo Musings, and Tiffany of The Nesting Project who will be joining us this year. A special nod goes to Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes who started the group last year, but cannot join in on the craziness this year.