Here you will find the classic shortcrust pastry recipe for Austrian Linzer Cookies ("Linzer Eyes").
I have also collected a few tips and tricks at the bottom of the article so that the cookies are sure to turn out well.
A description of all the individual steps including pictures and the most frequently asked questions about Linzer Cookies can also be found here.
You can go directly to the recipe here:
More traditional Christmas Cookie recipes:
Along with vanilla crescents and gingerbread, Linzer Cookies are one of THE classic Austrian Christmas biscuits. So that the biscuits are sure to turn out well, I have collected the answers to frequently asked questions about Linzer cookies here in this article.
In the detailed step-by-step instructions you will find a video about how to use the Linzer Cookie cutter (if you have one) and pictures that explain each step in more detail.
For classic Linzer Cookies you need flour, butter and sugar in a ratio of 3:2:1. Also 2 egg yolks. A pinch of grated lemon zest also refines the taste.
Ingredients for Linzer Cookies:
- powdered sugar
- egg yolk
- grated lemon peel
For the flour: just plain white wheat flour, no whole wheat (sticks too much).
The butter should be regular unsalted butter for baking.
In theory, granulated sugar can also be used, but with powdered sugar you don't need to knead the dough as long. (Which is desired with the shortcrust pastry).
You can substitute a whole egg for the yolks if you like, this will make the cookies a bit harder (or "crunchy") in the end, but you don't have to worry about what to do with the leftover egg white.
The lemon zest should come from an organic lemon. Alternatively, storebought grated lemon zest can be used (approx. ½ tablespoon). The recipe works just fine without lemon zest as well.
You can find the exact measurements further down in the recipe card.
Optionally (but not used here) you can add a pinch of vanilla flavour. Some traditional recipes also add ground almonds (approx. 50g-100g, depending on taste).
Time needed: 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Weigh the flour, butter and sugar. Separate egg white and yolk. The egg white is not needed. Cut the butter into small cubes. The butter should be cold while kneading.
Crumb butter and flour
Toss all the flour onto the work surface. Sprinkle the butter on top and mix the butter and flour with your hands until there are a lot of floury butter crumbs or lumps.
You can also do this step in a kitchen machine with a dough hook.
The result should look something like this (although the lumps in the picture are a bit too big, smaller crumbs of butter would be ideal).
Grate lemon zest
Using a fine kitchen grater, grate the lemon zest.
Mix in the sugar and egg yolks and knead into a smooth dough. Kneading should not take too long, otherwise the butter will become too warm and the dough will be sticky.
This step can also be done in a kitchen machine.
In the end, however, the dough should be kneaded together again into a large lump with your hands.
Chill the dough: Form the dough into a roll and wrap in a tin or in kitchen foil. Leave to rest in the fridge for approx. 1 hour.
Preheat oven to Preheat oven to 360°F (180°C)
The oven for the cookies should be preheated in any case. Otherwise the cookies can melt during baking (we don't want them to lose their shape...).
Roll out the shortcrust pastry
Flour the work surface. Roll out approx. one third of the dough until 3mm thin (⅛ inch). If the dough is still sticky, dust with more flour.
Cut out cookies: cut out the same number of top and bottom cookies 😉
Top cookies are the ones with holes: Traditionally with 3 small holes or "eyes", but also the use of a smaller heart or star shaped cookie cutter is very common.
You can cut out Linzer Cookies by using a traditional Linzer Cookie Cutter. (More information below)
Bake Linzer Cookies: carefully put on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Leave about 5 cm between each biscuit. Place in preheated oven and bake at 360°F (180°C) for about 7 minutes until golden brown.
Dust with powdered sugar
If desired, the tops of the Linzer Cookies can be dusted with powderd sugar before filling. This is usually done before pressing top on bottom, so that we don't dust the sugar directly on the jam filled holes.
Fill Linzer Cookies: Traditionally, apricot jam (apricot jam) or red currant jelly (seedless) are used for Linzer Cookies. The jam can also be mixed with a teaspoon of rum.
Spreading is even faster if the jam is filled into a piping bag. If you don't have a piping bag, you can use a freezer bag. Close well and cut a ½ inch (1 cm) hole in one corner.
How much jam for each Linzer Cookie?
To fill, mix the jam together in a bowl and place a teaspoon in the center of each bottom cookie. A teaspoon of jam is for larger biscuits, around 3 inch (6 cm) in diameter. For smaller Linzer Cookies, ½ teaspoon is sufficient.
The jam shouldn't cover the entire cookie yet, otherwise everything will spill out when you close it with the top. But neither should it be placed only in the middle. I would say leave about ¼ inch from the edge. (See pic below if you don't know what i wanna say ;).
Place cookie tops on bottoms
The cookie top (with the holes) is lightly pressed onto bottom. Ideally, the jam should "reach the edges" of the cookie. Also, the holes should be filled with jam until the edge. (See picture below)
For perfectionists: fill holes
If some of the holes do not have enough jam after, you can fill them up to the brim with a piping nozzle if you like.
Instead of a piping tip, you can also shape baking paper into a bag.
Video - How to use Linzer cutter with ejector
In this video I show you how to use the Linzer cookie cutter.
How does the Linzer cookie cutter with ejector work?
The best way to cut out the traditional Linzer Cookies with 3 holes is to use a Linzer Cookie Cutter. It consists of 3 components: a flower-shaped cookie cutter, the cutter for the 3 holes and a metal ring that holds the whole thing together.
The part with the three holes also has a button at the top. After cutting out the cookie, you press the button and the cookie can "eject" onto the baking tray.
With a lot of Linzer Cutters, the 3 components can be disassembled. This makes it easier to clean and you can use the flower-shaped biscuit cutter for the bottom side of the Linzer Cookies.
To cut out the Linzer Cookie tops, use the fully assembled cutter and cut out your cookie. Then press the ejector button. This releases the biscuit from the cutter and the holes that were punched out at the same time remain in there. The leftover dough in the holes can be removed with a chopstick, for example.
For the bottom side of the Linzer cookies you can take apart the Linzer cutter. However, if you're making a lot of cookies, it pays to get another cookie cutter of the same shape for the bottom, so you don't have to disassemble and reassemble the Linzer cutter over and over again.
What to do if you don't have a Linzer cutter?
No problem at all! Alternatively, you can pierce the typical three holes with the round metal attachment of a piping nozzle. (or any other round shape with about ½ inch/1cm diameter)
A very small biscuit cutter (heart, star,…) that fits well in the large flower-shaped cutter is the most popular alternative to the classic 3 holes.
- Linzer Cookie Cutter and cutter in the same size and shape for the bottom side
Some Linzer cutters can be disassembled so that you don't have to buy an extra part for the bottom.
In the recipe I used a Linzer cutter with a diameter of 2.5 inches (6.5 cm).
As an alternative to the Linzer Cookie Cutter, you can use the tip of a piping nozzle to make three round circles.
Or you can use any smaller cookie cutter (e.g. star, heart) to cut out a hole in the middle of your Linzer Cookie tops.
- rolling pin
- Dough board or clean work surface
- Dough card, optional
- baking tray
- baking paper
- plastic wrapping or box with lid for resting time
- cookie jar for storage
How are Linzer Cookies stored? Linzer Cookies are best kept in a cool place in a cookie jar. A dry basement or an unheated cool room is ideal. Alternatively, the refrigerator is also possible (the cookie jar should then be well closed.)
There should be a layer of parchment paper between each layer of cookies.
The cookies should be completely cooled down before putting them in the cookie jar. It's also a good idea not to fully close the jar for the first few days after baking to allow moisture to escape. (Only then put it in the fridge and close it)
How long do Linzer Cookies last?
Linzer Cookies can be kept for 2-3 months if they are stored cool and dry. However, the jam will make the dough softer and softer over time and will break down more easily.
My grandma makes all kinds of filled shortcrust biscuits no more than 2-3 weeks before Christmas. Alternatively, you can pre-bake the biscuits and fill them with jam just a few days before eating.
How to make Original Linzer Cookies
- Rolling Pin
- Dough board Or other clean work surface.
- Linzer Cookie Cutter with ejector If no Linzer cutter is available, see the post above. Check if cookie cutter is demountable to be used for cookie bottoms as well.
- Additional cookie cutter same size and shape as Linzer Cookie Cutter (optional)
- Dough card optional
- Food storage container or cling film
For the shortcrust pastry
- 300 g flour 2 cups, wheat flour, no whole wheat
- 200 g unsalted butter ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons, cold and cubed
- 100 g powdered sugar ¾ cup
- 2 egg yolks no eggwhite
- grated lemon zest of ½-1 lemon
- 200 g apricot jam or seedless red currant
- powdered sugar for dusting
For the shortcrust pastry
- Prepare ingredients:Weigh the flour, butter and sugar.Cut the butter into approx. 1 cm cubes. The butter should be cold while kneading.Separate egg white and yolk. The egg white is not needed.
- Crumb butter and flour:Toss all the flour onto the work surface. Sprinkle the butter cubes on top and mix the butter and flour with your hands until there are a lot of floury butter crumbs or lumps.
- Using a fine kitchen grater, grate the lemon zest and sprinkle over it.
- Knead dough:Mix in the sugar and egg yolk and quickly knead into a smooth dough.
- Store the dough in a box with a lid and let it rest in the fridge for 1 hour. (Use plastic wrap alternatively)
- Preheat oven to 360°F (180°C) circulating air. If you use top and bottom heat in your electric oven, turn to 390°F (200°C). About medum heat on your gas oven. Not all ovens are the same - depending on your oven, the temperature may vary.
- On a floured work surface, roll out the shortcrust pastry to a thickness of about 3mm (⅛ inch).
- Cut out Linzer Cookies. Make the same number of bottoms (no holes) and tops (holes).See blog posting above for more details on the Linzer Cookie Cutter and alternatives.
- Bake in preheated oven for approx. 7 minutes until lightly golden brown.
Fill Linzer eyes
- Dust the tops (with the holes) with powdered sugar.
- Place about 1 teaspoon of jam in the middle of the bottom cookies.
- Very carefully press the tops onto the bottoms so that the jam is evenly distributed and the eyes are filled with jam.