Linzer cookies are a holiday favorite. These Gluten-Free Vegan Linzer Cookies are as good as the original. Fill them with your favorite jam or chocolate hazelnut spread.
I had so much fun making these Gluten-Free Vegan Linzer Cookies! Three years ago when I was baking with the Tuesdays With Dorie group, I made Dorie’s lovely Linzer Sable Cookies from Baking: From My Home To Yours. They quickly became a family favorite. Since then, my eldest daughter has been begging me to make them for Valentine’s Day, so we did. The recipe was easy to adapt to be both gluten-free and vegan. No one, not even my husband, could detect any difference between these and the “regular” ones. Success!
The cookies went quickly! We filled them with homemade peach rosemary jam, spiced plum jam, and homemade chocolate hazelnut spread. I’ve been trying to come up with a homemade dairy-free Nutella to put in the center. I think I’m going to need to keep trying. Tasty, tasty experiments, but still not perfect. :) Read below for answers to questions you may have regarding Linzer Cookies and any modifications to the recipe.
What is a Linzer Cookie?
Linzer cookies are from Austria and a smaller take on the classic Linzer Torte. The dough of a Linzer Torte is made with ground nuts. It is filled with fruit jam, usually a red one such as raspberry, and decorated with a lattice top. Linzer cookies really are just a miniature version of the popular dessert. The dough is made with ground nuts, flour, butter, and sugar. Jam is sandwiched between two cut-out cookies. The top of the cookie sandwich usually has holes or windows to allow the jam to peek through. The final dusting of powdered sugar gives them a pretty finish, and also melts into the jam so it can still be seen.
Can Linzer Cookies Be Frozen?
The short answer is yes. However, I recommend freezing the cookie tops and bottoms and filling them just before serving; though the assembled cookies can be frozen packaged carefully in layers with waxed or parchment paper in between to prevent the cookies from sticking together. In either case, because the cookies tend to be on the delicate side, it’s important to freeze them in a container that will prevent them from crumbling rather than a zipper lock bag.
The unbaked dough freezes very well. I recommend forming the dough in a flat disk that is about 1-inch thick then wrapping well with plastic wrap, waxed or parchment paper, then placing it in either a freezer-safe bag or wrapping well with foil to prevent freezer burn. Simply allow the dough to thaw in the fridge overnight or a few hours before you’re wanting to roll out and bake the cookies.
Which Cookie Cutters Should I Use to Make Linzer Cookies?
You can really use just about any cookie cutter you want, though a scalloped round or square cutter is most common. I like using heart and star cutters for Valentine’s Day and Christmas, respectively. The typical size is 2-3-inches in diameter. I tend to avoid cookie cutters with intricate designs, but it can be done!
To cut the small holes or windows for the top cookies, I use mini fondant cutters or piping tips, though a steady hand and a sharp paring knife also work well. I’ve also seen cookie cutters made specifically for Linzer cookies with holes that are part of the cutter. (Wilton has some that look great! See them here.) Fluted biscuit cutters work well as do smooth round biscuit cutters thanks to the graduated sizes.
Which Nuts Are Linzer Cookies Made With?
All of the Linzer cookie recipes I’ve seen use either hazelnuts or almonds (the most common), or walnuts. Pecans could also be used. The important thing is to make sure the nuts are finely ground. Check out the recipe notes for further information.
How Can I Make Nut-Free Linzer Cookies?
Nut allergies are so common and that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on these tasty cookies! I recommend using ground oats or oat flour for the ground nuts. If you are gluten-free, be sure that the oats are certified GF.
Sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, or other seed flours should work just fine in place of the ground nuts. I don’t recommend substituting coconut flour as it behaves very differently and should only be used in a recipe tested using coconut flour, which this one has not.
This recipe already calls for several gluten-free flours. I’ve had great success using amaranth, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, sorghum, corn (very finely ground cornmeal or corn flour), and cassava flour when making cookies. It may take a little tweaking to get it right depending on the recipe, but my version of Linzer Cookies is fairly forgiving.
- 8 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance, can use pure use vegetable shortening or butter)
- ½ cup evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed mixed with 3 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. water
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1½ cups finely ground hazelnuts (can use almonds or walnuts)
- ½ cup buckwheat flour
- ½ cup brown rice flour
- ½ cup all-purpose GF flour mix, plus a little more for rolling
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Pinch ground cloves
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- ½ to ¾ cup fruit jam, strained or chocolate hazelnut spread
- Confectioner's sugar, optional, for dusting
- Using a stand or electric mixer, beat vegan butter and evaporated cane juice with an electric hand or stand mixer until well combined. Add in the flax and water mixture. Continue beating and add in the vanilla extract.
- Stir together ground hazelnuts, flours and salt. Add a little at a time and mix just until combined.
- Form into a 1-inch thick flat disk and wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour, preferably several hours or overnight before rolling out the dough and cutting it into shapes.
- Adjust oven racks to middle and lower (but not the lowest) positions. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Roll chilled dough out on a lightly floured surface or between two sheets of waxed or parchment paper to ¼" thickness. (I rolled the dough out onto parchment and then carefully lifted the paper onto the baking sheet.)
- Use 2-3" cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes. Use small cookie cutters to cut holes in the centers of half the cookies. (I used the the large and small ends of a large piping tip.) Gather dough scraps and roll the rest of the dough and cut into shapes.
- Carefully transfer cookies onto the baking sheets. Bake for 11-13 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking time, or until cookies are lightly browned on the edges.
- Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
- To assemble cookie sandwiches: After the cookies are completely cooled, turn over the cookies without the holes. Spoon a little jam on each of the cookie bottoms and place the cookies with holes on top and gently press down. Dust tops with powdered sugar using a mesh sieve.
- Yield: varies depending on size of cookies, but will make about 24, 2" sandwich cookies
To finely grind the nuts for this recipe, use a food processor for best results. Or purchase pre-ground nut flours. They are available in most well-stocked grocery stores or online.
The buckwheat flour can be replaced with other gluten-free flours.
The flaxseed and water mixture can be replaced with 1 large egg, if needed, to make a non-vegan version.
I have not tried this, but I believe coconut sugar could be used in place of the evaporated cane juice.
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.