The festive season is not complete without a plate full of traditional German Plätzchen including my all-time favorites, Linzer sandwich cookies. These Linzer stars are a hugely popular Christmas treat in Germany and Austria and it’s not surprising why! Made up of two soft and buttery almond cookies, sandwiched together with red currant jam and finished off with a light dusting of icing sugar, they look picture perfect on every Christmas table.
Linzers can be enjoyed all year round but are traditionally eaten around the Christmas season in Germany and Austria. They are thought to originate from the city of Linz, in Austria and are typically filled with fruity preserves such as strawberry or raspberry jam. Linzer cookies are incredibly easy to make and can be filled with any jam or buttercreams, check out my Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies if you want to change things up a bit. My Linzer stars are filled with a red currant gelee which is a lovely bright and smooth jelly-like jam with a hugely intense flavour.
These cookies are one of my favourite recipes on the blog. After a lot of trial and error, experimenting with different flours and quantities, I finally managed to create a gluten-free dough for Linzers that hold their shape 100%! A no-spread dough is imperative for Linzers in order to preserve any intricate shapes and to prevent those holes in the middle from spreading into one misshapen cookie.
The dough is simple and quick to make in one bowl, with readily available ingredients. After chilling for 30 minutes, the dough can be cut out and the cookies can be placed straight into the oven to bake, for only 8 minutes! Let them cool, fill them with your favourite jam, buttercream or caramel and they’ll be ready to pop in your mouth in no time! Simple!
What special equipment do I need for these cookies?
- star-shaped cookie cutters in different sizes, at least 1 large (mine is approx. 10cm) and a size smaller to make the holes in the top cook
- Stand mixer with the dough handle attached (optional)
- Baking paper
- Small sieve
What ingredients do I need?
- Butter – Unsalted, cold is fine for the dough but you might want to take it out of the fridge a few minutes prior to baking
- Caster sugar – White refined caster sugar or fine caster sugar is preferred
- Eggs – Medium free range eggs at room temperature or cold
- Gluten free flour* – A gluten free flour blend such as Doves Farm Plain Flour with added Xanthan gum or Schär- Mix C is perfect for this recipe, otherwise a standard flour blend will work fine. The most important factor is that the flour blend does not contain baking soda or baking powder. This will make the cookies rise and spread too much!
- Vanilla paste – Vanilla essence, extract or vanilla paste can be used as long as it is gluten-free
- Ground almonds – Blanched ground almonds look better and leave the cookies looking nice and pale but unblanched will work just as good
- Xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is essential for most gluten-free recipes and there are no exceptions here
- Salt – A pinch of salt is always needed in order to offset the sugar
- Icing sugar – Standard icing sugar, sifted to avoid a lumpy frosting
- Red currant jelly – Any flavour jam such as strawberry or raspberry can be used for these Linzer, but I prefer to use a red currant jelly. Red currant jelly is brighter in colour, more intense in flavour and spreads evenly around the base cookie
Tips and Tricks
- Chilling the dough for at least 30 minutes to an hour before rolling out is imperative if you want to avoid a cookie that spreads and comes out of the oven all misshapen. I like to chill my dough between batches, gathering up the cut-offs and wrapping it in clingfilm again before placing in the fridge. Do this whenever you think your dough might be getting too warm to work with.
- Rolling the dough out between two sheets of baking paper will make it easier to cut the cookies after chilling and prevent having to use a floured surface to avoid the dough sticking which will many the dough drier.
- Heat up your red currant jelly in a saucepan before spreading onto the base cookie. This makes the jelly much easier to spread evenly and helps to avoid the jelly leaking out of the sides. Try to place a blob of jelly in the center of the cookie and leave a border around the edges to allow for the jelly to spread when you place the top cookie on top.
- I like my Linzers to be around 5mm in thickness but if you’d prefer slightly thinner cookies, just remember that they will bake more quickly and the baking time will need to be reduced accordingly.
These festive Linzer Stars are made up of two buttery almond cookies sandwiched together with an intense red currant jelly. Perfect Plätzchen for the Christmas season.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 8-10 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 25 cookies
Author: Sarah | Baked by Sarah, Gluten Free
For the linzer cookies:
- 250g gluten free plain flour *(See Note)
- 100g caster sugar
- 125g unsalted butter
- 1 medium egg + 1 egg yolk
- 100g ground almonds
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence or paste
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 200g red currant jelly
- Preheat the oven to 150°C Fan and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until combined.
- Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla paste and whisk until well combined. Try not to overmix as an over aerated mixture will give too much rise to the cookies.
- Add the flour, ground almonds, salt and xanthan gum and mix until a dough forms. If using a stand mixer, the dough handle can be used.
- Roll the dough out to a 5mm thickness between two pieces of baking paper so as to avoid using any extra flour as this will dry out the dough.
- Place the rolled out dough into the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Once chilled, cut out the cookies using a large star cutter for the base and top cookies, and a slightly smaller star cutter to cut a star out of the center of each top cookie. Then place on the baking tray at 1 inch intervals. Gather any cut-offs into a ball of dough and place in the fridge to chill during batches.
- Bake the cookies on the middle shelf for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will still be pale in colour but starting to turn golden around the edges.
- Allow the cookies to for several minutes before transferring them to cool completely on a cooling rack before filling.
- Before filling, dust each of the top cookies with a sprinkle of icing sugar.
- Heat up the red currant jelly in a saucepan on a low heat until it has a more spreadable consistency. Take care not to overheat, you don’t want a jelly that is too runny!
- Use a teaspoon to spread a small amount of jelly on the base cookies, taking care to leave a border to allow for spread.
- Place the top cookies on top of the base cookies and set aside to set before enjoying.
Tried this recipe? Let me know what you think!