I don’t want to sound overconfident, but these Linzer cookies are simply the best. I have this recipe from my grandmother. She used to bake them every year and they have always been my favourite type of Christmas cookies.
Ingredients (for around 70 pcs)
- 630 g all-purpose flour (“hladká” in Czech shops)
- 420 g softened butter
- 210 g powder sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 pack vanilla sugar (approximately 12 g)
- lemon zest, I did not have any so I used juice from 1/2 of small lemon and it worked well (be careful not to add too much liquid)
- It is very important to have a good jam. It should ideally have a smooth, jelly-like texture, without any pieces of fruit. Otherwise, the lumps could cause that the cookie dough will start breaking during assembling.
- You can use any jam, or even completely different type of filling (e.g. Nutella). In my view, sharpness of red current jam balances the buttery taste of Linzer cookies the best.
- Also, if you are preparing the cookies in advance (recommended so that they have time to soften), the jam should not be too liquid. The cookies might soak up liquid too much and become too soft.
- Ready-made chocolate glaze
- Decorations like chocolate sprinkles etc.
Preheat oven to 170ºC (338ºF). You should have at least two baking trays, so that you can place the dough on one while the other one is already in the oven. No need to butter or place baking paper on it, the dough is buttery enough. You will also need cookie cutters and dough roller.
Make the dough
On a big (ideally wooden) desk, place the flour, add sugar and vanilla sugar. Create one big pile. Start mixing in the butter with your hands. Add egg yolks in the middle and lemon juice, mix everything together with your hands. Mixing everything with your hands needs quite some time and energy, but keep going until everything is perfectly blended together into a compact, quite solid, dough.
Wrap the dough with plastic foil and store in a fridge at least for one hour.
Cut out the cookies
Take the dough out of the fridge. Wait a while until the dough gets a bit warmer and softer. Cut off a piece, place it on a large work surface and roll a disc of dough. I prefer as thin pieces as possible. But a bit thicker pieces are easier to bake (not so prone to burning). When the dough is too sticky and difficult for rolling, place flour on the work surface (below the dough) as well as on the dough roller. Cut out cookies and place them on baking tray.
Bake the cookies
Once you have one tray full of cut-out cookies, place it in the oven. In the meantime continue with cutting out more cookies and placing them on the second tray etc. Bake for about 8 – 10 mins. Be carefull! At the end of the baking time, the cookies can get brown really quickly. Ideally, they should stay quite pale.
Assemble and decorate the cookies
Take two cookies of a same shape. Turn one cookie flat side up, place some jam into the center and spread it slightly with a knife. Top with the other cookie.
You can decorate the top with chocolate, use some chocolate sprinkles, sift sugar over the top or just leave the cookies as they are without any topping.
It is the best to bake the cookies at least several days in advance so that they have time to soak up some liquid from the jam and become nicely soft and delicious. But they should be very nice already one day after assembling.
Store them in cool and dry place (cellar should be ideal) in closed plastic or paper box.