These Nut-Free Linzer cookies are great for the holiday season or Valentine’s Day. They are extra buttery cookies sandwiched with raspberry jam. They’re great with a cup of tea or even a nice cup of dark coffee. You will love making these cut-out cookies at home! Many Linzer Cookie recipes have ground nuts in the form of almond flour, almond meal or other types of nut flour. That’s why I decided to make this version of Nut-Free Linzer cookies! The result is as delicious and pretty as the original.
Ingredients for the Nut-Free Linzer Cookies Dough
These Nut-Free Linzer Cookies are made with really simple ingredients that you commonly find in many baking recipes. I’m sure you have encountered these ingredients in other cookie recipes that you have made before:
- Unsalted butter: You want your butter to be at room temperature to make the most buttery and smooth cookies. They will melt in your mouth as you eat them!
- Salt: a bit of salt always brings balance to sweet desserts and in this recipe, it’s needed because of the jam.
- Granulated sugar: The sugar will bring sweetness to the dough.
- Egg: The egg will help us bind the dough together.
- Vanilla extract: A bit of vanilla is always welcome and adds a subtle taste and a lovely smell to the cookies.
- Milk: The milk will add moisture to the dough and keep it from becoming overly dry.
- All-purpose flour: The flour adds structure to the Nut-Free Linzer Cookies.
- Baking powder: A tiny amount of baking powder helps the cookies melt in the mouth instead of being solid.
How to make the cookie dough
Making these shortbread Linzer cookies is quite simple. They’re made from an uncomplicated dough, following instructions that I’m sure you have followed for other cookies as well. First, in a medium bowl, you will use a whisk to cream the butter, the sugar and the salt. Then, repeat with the egg until it’s fully incorporated. After that, it’s time to add the milk and the dry ingredients. At this point, your cookie dough will be ready! Before rolling it out you need to refrigerate wrapped in plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes. During this time, the butter in the dough will harden, making it easier to roll out.
Shaping and baking Nut-Free Linzer Cookies
Once the cookie dough has chilled, you’re ready to roll it out. Use a rolling pin to get it to 2-3mm thick on a lightly floured surface. Make sure to dust more flour if needed so it doesn’t stick. Now it’s time to use a small cookie cutter to make the base of the Nut-Free Linzer Cookies. Usually, we use round cutters that could have a solid edge or go for a fluted one that also looks really cute. When you’re done, you should have lots and lots of round cookies, although you can also go for different shapes. Squares look really good, too!
Now, you will use a mini cookie cutter to make the windows in half of the circles. The bottom cookies of the sandwich will be solid cookies and the top cookies will have a window through which you can see the filling. For the windows, you can use any shape you like: heart shape, stars, circles, etc. Place the cookies on a prepared baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for 8-10 minutes or until they’re cooked and ever so slightly golden around the edges. You can roll out the remaining dough again to make more cookies. If it’s too tough to put back together, dampen your hands as you knead it.
When they come out of the oven, let them cool down for a couple of minutes before removing them from the baking sheet and placing them on a wire rack to cool down. You need the cookies to be completely at room temperature to prevent the jam or other fillings from melting. Once they have cooled down, you will finish your Nut-Free Linzer Cookies by applying about a teaspoon of jam onto the base cookie and then covering it with a cookie with a window, applying a very slight pressure. To fill the cookies I like to use a piping bag to have extra control over what I’m doing. To finish, dust them with powdered sugar/confectioners’ sugar.
How to keep your Nut-Free Linzer Cookies fresh
Once you have all your assembled cookies, you will want to keep them fresh for as long as you can. For that purpose, your best option is to place them in an airtight container at room temperature. By stacking them the sugar on the ones at the bottom will shift but I guarantee they will still be lovely to eat. They will keep like this for up to 5 days. Just don’t do what my husband did when taking it to his friends’ football game and place them in a bag, shake them all the way there and then wonder why there was jam all over the cookies, lol! If you want to freeze these cookies, I think it’s best to freeze the dough before rolling it out. To thaw, keep it for a couple of hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge. It will make for the best result and you will have freshly baked cookies that really make all the difference in the world.
Filling options for the cookies
Now that you know how to make a more classic version of these Nut-Free Linzer Cookies, you will be wondering what else could be an option as a filling. The most classic will be, of course, to fill the cookies with fruit jam. My personal favourite is definitely raspberry jam because of its acidity. Other favourites include strawberry jam, apricot jam and blackberry jam. However, you can choose your favorite jam flavour as long as it’s thick enough to stay on the cookie. Of course, there are plenty of other options apart from jam that you can use and here are some of them:
- Ganache: I love a good chocolate ganache and you can use either that or even whipped ganache for a lighter texture when eating them.
- Dulce de Leche: Dulce de leche, manjar or manjar blanco are all great options for filling as they will add a delicious texture to the cookies. They will feel more like alfajores.
- Lemon Curd: Another favourite filling of mine is lemon curd. Its acidity is so satisfying that it just makes me have more and more. You could also use other types of curds like raspberry, passion fruit and strawberry.
- Caramel: You can fill these cookies with a thick caramel, similar to dulce de leche but the texture will be a bit more sticky.
- Chocolate spreads: Chocolate is always a good idea and if you have a chocolate and nut spread that you like, you can definitely go for that instead of the classic jam.
More Christmas Cookies
Making cookies is one of those activities that really makes me fill in the season’s spirit. These Nut-Free linzer cookies definitely are up for the part! Making the dough, rolling it out, cutting it and baking the cookies really feels so relaxing and perfect for the season. It’s a fun activity to do as a family or even in a group of friends and makes for a lovely gift as well. Other cookies can also be up for the part, depending on your preference. Here are some of my favourite holiday cookies that you could try at home! Let me know if you make any of these:
Nut-Free Linzer Cookies Recipe
For the dough
- 180 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 tsp salt
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp milk
- 300 g all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
For the filling
- 250 g jam I used raspberry jam. Try to find one that's thick.
- Icing sugar / confectioners' sugar
For the dough
- Place the butter, salt and sugar in a bowl. Whisk them together using a whisk or you can also use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Whisk until they look very creamy. If you're using a stand mixer, remember to pause every couple of minutes to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is mixing correctly.
- Add the egg and whisk again until it's creamy once more.
- Add the mix and vanilla and mix.
- Add the flour and baking powder and mix using a spatula if you're making it by hand or keep using the whisk attachment on your stand mixer.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the fridge. If it's too cold and hard, let it come a bit to room temperature beforehand.
- First roll half of the dough using a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface and keep the other half in the fridge, unless it's rock hard. Roll it out until it's 2-3mm thick, adding more flour to the surface if needed.
- Cut the cookies using a cookie cutter. First, cut out the edges of all the cookies. Then, count them and use a smaller cookie cutter to remove the centre of half the cookies. Gather the extra dough and roll it back out. If it has dried out too much, damp your hands to knead it together. Repeat the same with the other half of the dough until you have used up all of it.
- Bake the cookies in a preheated oven at 180°C / 350°F for 10 minutes or until they are very lightly golden on the edges.
For the filling
- Place a bit of jam at the centre of the solid cookies and spread it lightly. Cover it with a cookie with a window and press down slightly.
- Dust the cookies with icing sugar.