Linzer Cookie Bars

We are in full cookie baking mode over here, and every cookie platter needs a good cookie bar.  Linzer cookies are some of our favorite holiday cookies, and we’ve made them even better (and easier) by turning them into bars.  And did you know we test out most of our baking recipes to provide substitution instructions for whole grain baking as well as gluten free?  Because we think everyone should have cookies in their lives.

From AnkarsrumUSA recipe developer, Carmi Adams:

I love Linzer cookies, but I do not love cutting out and meticulously sandwiching jam between all of them.  I have always admired people who intricately decorate and cut out cookies.  I, however, always get about halfway through and wonder why in the world I started such a baking project.  It does not give me joy or festive feelings at all.  So what better way than a cookie bar to get all the flavors of a favorite cut out cookie without all the work.

I have had a lot of different versions of Linzer cookies.  Sometimes the cookie is a sugar cookie, sometimes more of a shortbread cookie, and sometimes the more traditional kind that have ground up nuts in the cookie dough.  Linzer cookies are said to be a spin-off of the Linzertorte, a dessert that originated in Austria in the 1700s.  The torte dough was enriched with egg yolks and ground up nuts and flavored with spices.  It was then filled with jam and topped with a lattice crust.  For this recipe, I went with these more traditional flavors, which I prefer.

I use hazelnuts in this cookie dough, because they are one of my favorite nuts, and feel a little more special than some of the more commonly used nuts for holiday baking.  I also utilized the nut grater attachment.  Store bought nut meal can, of course, be substituted if you don’t have the nut grater attachment.  For a refresher on how to use the nut grater attachment, click here.  This attachment is also perfect for finely grating cheese or chocolate.

The hazelnuts can be replaced with any other kind of nut, if desired. Always use a large bowl underneath the nut grater attachment to catch all the freshly ground nut meal.

 

Shelled hazelnuts often have a papery skin on them which should be removed before grating.

A little bit of time in the oven and then a massage in a kitchen towel will remove most of that papery skin. The skin is edible, so don’t worry about removing every single little bit.

 

Because of the quantity of cookie dough needed for this recipe, I went with the stainless steel bowl for mixing.  When creaming butter and sugar in this bowl, turn the speed all the way up.  Soon enough the butter will start flinging off the roller and then fluffing up with the sugar.

Left to right: cream butter and sugar, add eggs, add dry ingredients. If needed, occasionally pull the arm towards the middle while mixing up the dough.

 

I wanted these bars to still have that Linzer cookie look so I used part of the dough to cut out a few cookies to top the bars with.

Press out part of the dough on a pan and chill. Press the rest into a baking pan.
Once the dough has chilled, use a rolling pin to smooth out the top. Use small to medium size cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes. Press cookie dough scraps from cutting out cookies into the dough in the baking pan. Top with jam and then cookies.

 

Powdered sugar is often used to decorate the top cookie for Linzer cookies, but I went with a mixture of Swedish pearl sugar and sanding sugar to top these bars so the jam could still be seen.

Once these bake they need to fully cool before being cut up.  Once they have cooled for about 30 minutes at room temperature, they can be placed in the refrigerator to finish cooling, in order to speed up the process.

Lining the pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil means that you can pull the entire section of bars out of the pan once cooled, allowing for more serving options.

 

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments about this recipe.  Happy baking, and happy holidays!

 

Linzer Cookie Bars

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Inactive Time: 30 minutes

 

188 g. (approximately 1 1/2 cups) shelled unsalted hazelnuts, roasted or unroasted

300 g. (21 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, room temperature

228 g. (1 cup) granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

5 g. (1 tsp.) vanilla bean paste or extract

6 g. (1 tsp.) kosher salt

3 g. (1 1/2 tsp.) ground cinnamon

0.5 g (1/4 tsp.) ground nutmeg

375 g. (3 cups plus 2 Tbsp.) all purpose flour

560 g. (1 3/4 cup) seedless raspberry jam

Swedish pearl sugar or sanding sugar for decorating, optional

 

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Spread the hazelnuts out on a rimmed baking sheet.  If already roasted, cook in the oven for 8 minutes.  If unroasted, cook for 15 minutes.

Let hazelnuts cool slightly and then place in a large clean kitchen towel.  Gather up and vigorously massage the nuts in the towel to remove the papery coating.  Let nuts cool.

Set up the Ankarsrum mixer with the nut grater attachment and place a large bowl underneath to catch nut meal.  Once cooled, run hazelnuts through the nut grater attachment on low speed (1 o’clock).  Set aside until ready to use.  Fresh nut meal can be made in advance and stored in a covered container in the fridge for several days or the freezer for several weeks.

Alternately, the freshly grated hazelnut meal can be replaced with 188 g. (approximately 2 cups) store bought hazelnut meal or another kind of nut meal.

Set up the Ankarsrum mixer with the stainless steel bowl and roller/scraper.  Cream the butter and sugar on the highest speed for 4 minutes, occasionally pulling the arm towards the center, if necessary, to help incorporate the ingredients.

Add the eggs and vanilla bean paste and cream for 1 more minute on same speed.

Whisk together the ground hazelnuts with the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour.  Reduce mixer speed to low (2 o’clock) and gradually add in the dry ingredients.  Mix until thoroughly combined.

Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Take about 1 1/2 cups of the cookie dough and use the palm of your hand to flatten it out on the half sheet pan to a 1/4 inch thickness.  Stash in the freezer for about 20 minutes to chill the dough.

Line a 9 x 13 x 3 inch baking pan with parchment or aluminum foil.  Pat out the remaining cookie dough in an even layer in pan.  Cover until ready to use.

Once the portion of dough has chilled on the half sheet pan, use small to medium sized cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes to top Linzer cookie bars with.  Press cookie dough scraps into the dough already in the 13 x 9 inch baking pan, making sure to press into an even layer.

Top the cookie dough in the baking pan with the raspberry jam, leaving about a 1/4 -1/2 inch border around the edges.  Place the cut out cookie shapes on top.  If desired, sprinkle with pearl sugar or sanding sugar.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until jam is bubbling and edges are beginning to brown.  Cookies will still feel soft on top but will firm up as they cool.

Let cool completely before cutting into.

Yield: 16 servings

 

GLUTEN-FREE VERSION

Recipe can easily be halved and baked in an 8 x 8 inch baking pan.  These were made with King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour.

 

-Replace all purpose flour with an equal amount of a measure for measure/cup for cup gluten free flour.

-Follow instructions above.

 

WHOLE WHEAT VERSION

Made with freshly milled hard white wheat and Sucanat with honey.

 

-Replace all purpose flour with 353 g. (3 cups plus 2 Tbsp.) whole wheat flour.  If milling at home, hard or soft wheat can be used.

-If desired, replace the sugar with 172 g. (1 cup) Sucanat with honey, aka honey granules.

-Follow instructions above.

 

 

Published by

Carmi Adams

Carmi Adams has loved cooking from a very early age; requesting fondue pots and cookbooks for birthdays as a child. She further pursued her passion for food at the Art Institute of Atlanta and obtained a degree in Culinary Arts. Carmi landed a job on the show Good Eats, which aired on the Food Network. For seven years she did everything from food research, recipe development and testing, product testing to feeding a hungry film crew. Now living in the central coast of California, Carmi enjoys the bounty of agriculture, vineyards and farmers markets at her culinary disposal. She has been using the Ankarsrum mixer for over 15 years and feels that it is hands-down the best on the market for home cooks.