Linzer Heart Cookies

These classic cookies are a little time-consuming to make, but the results are so beautiful and delicious that you won’t mind the extra effort. The cinnamon-scented hazelnut dough is cut into heart shapes, then baked and sandwiched with raspberry preserves. This lovely cookie is reminiscent of the finest Linzertorte. These cookies bake up crisp but soften when they come in contact with the preserves, and soften even more if stored in an airtight container. The dough is on the soft side, so handle it with care.–Sarabeth Levine

LC Heart's In the Right Place Note

These are no ordinary cookies. Not in flavor, not in texture, not in aroma. And not in the coming together. They’re a little something of a labor of love, given that the dough can be a tad crumbly if the barometric pressure at that moment isn’t on your side. So if, perchance, the dough rips as you roll it out, simply pat it back into place. And not to worry if what results appears to be slightly imperfect. A sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar hides all manner of sins. Besides, even if your Linzer Hearts aren’t quite the perfect shape, your heart most definitely is in the perfect place.

Special Equipment: You'll need a 2 1/4 -inch heart-shaped cookie cutter (measured across its widest point) to make these little lovelies.

Linzer Heart Cookie Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 3 H
  • Makes about 36 heart cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) raw hazelnuts
  • 2 1/2 cups pastry or unbleached cake flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, as your love of cinnamon dictates
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions

  • 1. Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350ºF (176°C).
  • 2. Spread the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until the skins split, about 10 minutes. Working quickly, place the warm hazelnuts, a handful at a time, in a kitchen towel and rub together to remove the skin (some skin may remain on the nuts; this is okay). Repeat. Let cool completely and turn off the oven.
  • 3. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the cooled nuts with 1/2 cup of the flour until the nuts are finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and combine with the remaining 2 cups flour, the cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  • 4. Beat the butter and superfine sugar with a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light in color and texture, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the egg. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture. The dough will be rather moist. Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap it loosely and shape it into a 1-inch-thick rectangle. Refrigerate until chilled, 1 to 2 hours.
  • 5. Adjust your oven racks to the center and top third positions and preheat the oven to 350ºF (176°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • 6. Divide the chilled dough in half. Place one portion of dough on a lightly floured work surface, and sprinkle the top with flour. Return the other half to the refrigerator. Roll the dough into a 1/8–inch-thick rectangle. Using a 2 1/4 inch-heart-shaped cookie cutter dipped in flour, quickly cut out the cookies and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets. The dough is delicate, so you’ll probably find it easiest to move the hearts with a floured offset metal spatula. Gather up the scraps of dough and set them aside. Repeat rolling and cutting out the cookies with the other half of the dough from the fridge. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator. Combine the dough scraps into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until lightly chilled, about 10 minutes. Repeat the rolling and cutting with the scraps until all of the dough has been used. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 30 minutes.
  • 7. Bake the cookies straight from the refrigerator, switching the position of the baking pans from top to bottom and front to back, until the edges are lightly browned, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and allow the cookies to cool completely on the pans.
  • 8. Arrange the heart cookies from one of the baking sheets with their flat undersides facing up. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of raspberry preserves in the center of each cookie. Sandwich with one of the remaining cookies, flat sides facing. Cover with parchment and let stand at least 8 hours or overnight to set. (The heart cookies can be stored in an airtight container, with the layers separated by parchment paper, for up to 5 days. Note, they will soften considerably when stored.) Just before serving, sift confectioners’ sugar over the cookies.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Holly Z.

Feb 10, 2011

I found these cookies to be tender, and absolutely delicious. My cookie dough wasn’t as moist as described in the directions, however—it was on the dry side, and had to be hand-mixed. I used the full amount of cinnamon called for in the recipe, and it was delightful—not at all overpowering. I though the dough would crack when I rolled it, but it was moist enough that it rolled out smoothly. I baked my cookies at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. (I have a convection oven, and this was the perfect temperature and time.) I filled my cookies with raspberry jam and Nutella. My family was eating these as fast as I could make them. I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe—it’s a hit at our house exactly as written!

Testers Choice
Leanne Abe

Feb 10, 2011

I’m not sure if all Linzer recipes use ground nuts, but I liked the ground hazelnuts in the dough. I recommend weighing the nuts instead of measuring by volume, just to make sure you use the right amount. There’s also a sweet spot to look for with the chilled dough: when it’s too cold, the dough is hard and crumbly, and when it’s too warm, it rolls out smoothly, but is too soft to transfer the cutouts. The cookies baked in 15 minutes and were easy to sandwich with the preserves (I also used some blueberry and apricot preserves, which tasted great). I only got 2 dozen sandwich cookies, and the cookies themselves didn’t soften that much after sitting overnight. The cookies alone aren’t very sweet or buttery—not a great cookie for snacking—but with the preserves, they’re just the right balance of cookie and sweetness.

Testers Choice
Karen Taylor

Feb 10, 2011

These cookies were a little crispy on the first day, but softened gradually after the second—though both textures were delicious. They’re good-looking, too: The cookies are a rich dark brown color that contrasts nicely with the raspberry jam peeking out from the hole I cut (using the wide end of a pastry tip) in the middle of the top heart. Interestingly, the cookie on its own didn’t taste like much, but with the jam and a bit of time, the wonderful hazelnut aroma bloomed to result in an sophisticated, not-too-sweet cookie. The confectioner’s sugar I thought, while traditional, was gilding the lily.

So yes, I enjoyed these cookies, and yes, the recipe worked as written, but the dough was extremely crumbly and dry, so it was difficult to roll out without making a huge mess. Despite my careful handling and experimentation with rolling it out at different temperatures, I still ended up with cracked cookies that had to be delicately patched. For the record, the dough was easiest to roll out when it was still cold to the touch but very pliable, and in very small batches to ensure easy handling and minimal mess. As they were already warmish, I popped the cut cookies into the freezer for a few minutes before baking to prevent them from losing their pretty shapes.

Testers Choice
Sandy Hill

Feb 10, 2011

These Linzer Hearts took more time to assemble than traditional mix-and-drop cookies. That said, they’d be best as cookies served to company, or party cookies. This type of cookie isn’t supposed to be overly sweet and gooey, and they weren’t. They definitely need the dusting with confectioners’ sugar before serving—which makes them prettier on the plate, too. I only used 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, because I thought the 1 1/4 teaspoons would overpower the hazelnuts and preserves. Also, the dough wasn’t as fragile as I thought it would be. I’ll remember these for a cookie platter in the future!

Testers Choice
Niharika S.

Feb 10, 2011

This recipe is definitely a keeper. I tried it with Ener-G egg replacer powder, and it worked very well. Since I halved the recipe, I added 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder, plus two pinches more to suit my tastes. As noted, the dough was soft and needed thorough chilling. It helped that the author mentioned the dough should be rolled out to a 1/8-inch thickness. I used a round 1.5-inch cutter and ended up with 14 sandwich cookies, plus a few more from the dough scraps. The amount of spread required can be a bit more or less, depending on personal taste. This recipe seems open to a lot of flavor experiments.


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