These spiced linzer cookies with clementine marmalade are great for anyone who doesn’t like their sweets too sweet, and they make a wonderful foil for any extra-sweet treats in a cookie box or holiday baking spread. They have a light crumb, from the almond flour, that softens as they sit and their spice mix of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves provides a warming, gingerbread flavour that balances out the bitter and tangy notes of the marmalade.
Although linzer cookies are not quite as time consuming as decorated sugar cookies, they are not a quick-and-easy cookie. But, the bit of extra effort that goes into the rolling, cutting, and assembly results in attractive and festive cookies without the finicky work of using your piping bags and tips.
Like a gingerbread house or any decorated or more elaborate cookie or cake, I suggest you do not attempt to make these from start to finish in one day - especially if you plan to use homemade marmalade. This sort of baking is more enjoyable if you spread it out into a Multi-day process. Unless, of course, you are looking for an all day baking project. Make these with friends and family, listen to Christmas music, or do what I did and bake while watching old episodes of gardener’s world, and tidying up the house while the dough is chilling.
Working with Linzer Cookie Dough
Linzer cookie recipes online tend to be accompanied by many comments from people who had trouble working with the dough. It can be difficult to roll out and can sometimes get stuck in the tiny linzer cookie cutter centers. The trick is to work only with cool dough. Only work with the dough for a few minutes at a time, until it begins to soften, then transfer it over to the freezer or refrigerator for 2-3 minutes and resume the process with the cooled dough. This adds some time to the baking process, but ensures that the dough is a breeze to work with!
Instead of attempting to dig the dough out of the small center-cutters, pop it out of the back with a chopstick or the bottom of a spoon. If the dough is cool enough it should come out easily, and produce cute mini cookies.
If you want to freeze these cookies, I suggest freezing either the dough disks or the baked cookies without the sugar and marmalade. Bake and assemble when you are ready to eat them. Dough can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 3 months.
Spiced Linzer Cookies with Clementine Marmalade
These spiced linzer cookies with clementine marmalade are great for anyone who doesn’t like their sweets too sweet, and they make a wonderful foil to the extra-sweet treats in a cookie box or holiday baking spread. They have a light crumb, from the almond flour, that softens as they sit and their spice mix of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves provides a warming, gingerbread flavour that balances out the bitter and tangy notes of the marmalade.
Makes: About 3 1/2 dozen 2” cookies
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoons nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 - 1 cup marmalade (I used a homemade clementine marmalade, but store-bought will do)
- Confectioners sugar, for dusting the cookie tops
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, almond flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until pale and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes), scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat each one into the mixture. Add the vanilla and beat again to combine, scraping down any batter from the sides of the bowl to incorporate.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix together just until combined.
- Using a digital scale, divide the dough into two equal portions. Pat each into 1” thick disks and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 5 days. You can also freeze the dough at this point, if desired.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325. Working with only one disk at a time, roll out the dough on a piece of parchment paper until it is 1/8 inch thick. (Use a ruler, this might be thinner than you expect it to be!) *See note above for the trick to working with this finnicky dough*
- Using a 2” diameter cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles, transfering them to parchment -lined baking trays with a bench scraper or thin spatula. Gather, re-roll and cut any dough scraps until you have used it all. Divide the circles in half and, using a linzer or other small cookie cutter, cut the centers out. These will be the top cookies. You can re-roll the center scraps or save them to make adorable mini-cookies.
- Bake cookies on parchment-lined trays spaced 1” apart for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire-rack to cool.
- Bake the mini center cutouts separately for 7-10 minutes.
- To assemble, sprinkle the top cookies with confectioners sugar. Be generous, the cookies themselves are not overly sweet and they are filled with a tangy marmalade. They can take a bit of sweetness on top. Turn the bottom cookies so that their flat sides are facing up. Dollop 1/2 teaspoon of marmalade onto the center of each cookie and spread it out slightly. Top with a sugar-dusted cutout cookie. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Recipe adapted from Alison Roman’s NYT Cooking Linzer Cookie Recipe