One of the first desserts I made at Restaurant du Village was Linzer Torte. The blend of ground nuts and warm spices appealed to me then as is does now, the tart jam offset by the buttery crust. As a desert after a meal, a wedge of Linzer Torte is little heavy for the way we eat today.  That’s why I make these Linzer Torte Cookies instead, whether for the holidays or for a special occasion.

Fussing over cookies this late in the season may not be everyone’s cup of tea.  To make holiday cookie baking easier, I break the process into a series of steps.  Make the dough one day.  Roll and bake the cookies another. Fill and wrap them on a third day.  Although these cookies will stay fresh for up to two weeks, I make them within a week of serving. And, as a further time saver, you can refrigerate the dough for one or two days before using. Or wrap it in plastic and foil and freeze it for up to two weeks before baking.

Use ground almonds, ground hazelnuts or nut flour.  If you grind the nuts yourself to make the flour, use a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add a teaspoon of granulated sugar to the nuts before grinding.  This helps keep their oils from releasing and the whole mass from sticking together.  Grind the nuts into a coarse meal for the best taste and appearance.

Try to get as many cookies from the dough as possible. In other words, position your cutter for each cut.  Then carefully gather the scraps together without  kneading them too much. You’ll use these for the next batch of dough cut outs.  This step helps ensure that the dough doesn’t toughen.  (Use the rerolled dough scraps for the cookie bottoms because they won’t show any unevenness as the tops will.)

When baking cookies, I err on the side of baking at a lower temperature for longer. But I strive for a good even brown color, which means the sugar has caramelized and the nut flour has toasted to an even deliciousness.

You dust the tops with powdered sugar before placing them on top of the jam-smeared bottoms. Lifting up the sugar-dusted tops and placing them on top of the jam coated cookie bottoms requires a gentle touch so that you don’t mar the layer of powdered sugar.  And a very fine sieve.

Cutting out Linzer Torte Cookie

For the jam filling, I like a good quality tart seedless raspberry jam best.  Apricot is delicious too but if your jam has too many large pieces of fruit it won’t be suitable for the filling.  You can always grind the jam in a small food processor to make its texture uniform. Sour cherry jam would be perfect too but blend it in a food processor before using.

To keep the snowy white powdered sugar topping unblemished, I store the finished cookies in a single layer on a baking sheet or in small boxes I’ve saved.

Kitchen Notebook

Use the right tool for the job. These cookie cutters with interchangeable centers are great fun to use and give any cut-out cookie a little polish.

Linzer Torte Cookies

Yield: Approximately 3 dozen sandwich cookies

Linzer Torte Cookies


2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground mace

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

⅓ cup granulated sugar

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla extracts

1 cup coarsely ground almonds or hazelnuts or nut flour

Powdered sugar, as needed for garnish

1 to 1 ½ cups seedless raspberry or apricot jam


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the flour, cinnamon, mace, ginger, pepper and salt in a small bowl. Stir it together with a fork to distribute the spices evenly.
  3. Place the butter and sugar in to bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Cream on medium speed until well blended. Scrape the bowl. Cream again for another minute on medium speed.
  4. Scrape the bowl then beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, then add the vanilla. Blend in the ground nuts and the flour mixture into the butter on low speed.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill it for at least 1 hour.
  6. Roll out the dough ¼-inch thick on a well-floured work table. Cut the dough into 2-inch circles using a floured cookie cutter. Using a slightly smaller cutter, remove the center from half of the dough circles. These will be the tops of the cookies.
  7. Bake the cookies until evenly browned, for approximately 12 to 15 minutes.
  8. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.
  9. Dust the tops of the cookies with an even layer of powdered sugar using a fine sieve.
  10. Spread jam on the solid cookies. Carefully place the powdered-sugar-dusted tops on each jam-smeared cookie.