Linzer tarts are made with a nut rich dough and have a simple jam filling that adds sweetness and color to the dessert. Almonds and hazelnuts are the most common nuts to use for linzer dough, but just about any nut can be used. The dough also doesn’t need to take a tart form to be enjoyable. Since the dough is so rich, you can easily work it with your hands without it getting tough. I took advantage of this to turn my most recent batch of linzer dough into linzer tart cookies. They’re soft, satisfying and look like mini linzer tarts – complete with crosshatching.
These linzer cookies are easy to make because the whole dough can be prepared in the food processor. Start well in advance because the dough will need to chill for at least 6 hours before you roll it out. You can freeze the unrolled dough for a couple of weeks, too, so this is great to prepare in advance of a party. The cookies are fantastic!
The dough for these linzer cookies is quite sticky, so you will have to flour your work-surface liberally and chill the dough. I found it helpful to divide the dough as I rolled it and keep all extra pieces in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes. A spatula or a bench scraper will help you move the dough from your work-surface to your baking sheet. I worked by hand to create the small lattice tops for my cookies, but it is much easier to simply use a smaller round cutter and punch a hole in the center of each round to make the top “window”. Don’t forget that you can reroll the scraps several times, so you don’t have to waste any of the dough, either.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups hazelnuts (toasted and peeled is optimal, but not required)
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp dutch process cocoa powder
Zest of 1 lemon (1 tbsp)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
14 tablespoons butter, softened
2 large egg yolks
1 tbsp lemon juice
Filling: 1/2-3/4 cup good raspberry preserves
In a food processor, process flour and hazelnuts into a fine powder. Add sugar, cocoal, lemon zest, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture is crumbly.
In a small bowl, stir together yolks and lemon juice. Add to flour mixture and pulse until dough comes together. Divide dough into two discs, cover well with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight (or freeze 1-2 hours, until firm).
Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Working with 1/4 or 1/2 of the dough at a time, roll out on a well-floured surface, dusting the top of the dough with flour, until it is 1/4 inch thick. Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds and arrange on your baking sheet. Cookies will not spread much. Using a smaller round cutter, remove a circle from 1/2 of your cookie rounds (these will provide the cookie tops). Combine scraps and reroll until all dough is used.
Bake for approximately 12 minutes, until cookies are just starting to brown at the edges (you may need an additional minute or two depending on the thickness of your cookies). Cool completely on baking sheets.
When cookies are completely cool, spread an uncut round with preserves and top with a cut round. Store in an airtight container and dust with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
Makes 2 1/2 – 3 dozen.