Take your holiday cookie baking to the next level with these Dulce de Leche Linzer Cookies! Lightly spiced and filled with indulgence (aka dulce de leche), they are the perfect Christmas treat.
Baking a storm? We have some more cookie recipes you’ll like: Bem Casados (Brazilian Wedding Cookies), Amaretti Cookies, Swiss Chocolate Spice Cookies, Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies and Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies.
A fun twist on a classic Christmas cookie!
It’s official! I have a dulce de leche problem.
I mean, can you blame me? It is so delicious! So I can’t help but keep creating recipes with it.
And while I already have two dulce de leche cookie recipes here on the blog, I felt like Linzer Cookies + DDL needed to happen ASAP! And I am so glad it did.
Buttery cookies and creamy, caramel-y dulce de leche? A match made in heaven, for sure!
I must warn you though: these cookies are dangerous! You won’t be able to stop eating them.
Thankfully, it is Christmas season, so you can bake them, eat some and give the rest to friends and family! And, if you do end up losing control and eating the whole batch, it’s okay. Calories don’t count this time of year!
What are Linzer Cookies?
Linzer cookies are the cookie version of the Linzer torte, a traditional Austrian pastry that is named after the city of Linz. The Linzertorte is a form of buttery tart topped with fruit preserves (traditionally black currant) and topped with a lattice crust.
It is believed to be the oldest cake in the world and is part of Christmas traditions in countries like Austria, Hungary, Switzerland and Germany. In the United States, it is more popular in the cookie form, usually filled with raspberry jam.
In the cookie version, the dough is cut into rounds and two of them form a sandwich around the filling, with the top layer presenting a small cutout in the center that exposes the preserves. And while the traditional cutout shape is a circle, all sorts of shapes can be done, including hearts and stars!
Dulce de Leche Linzer Cookies Ingredients
To make this Linzer cookie recipe, make sure you have these on hand:
- Dulce de Leche
- All-Purpose Flour
- Almond Flour – Allergic to nuts? Use more flour instead.
- Egg Yolk
- Vanilla Extract
- Confectioners’ Sugar
If you don’t have access to store-bought almond flour, you can make your own by grinding toasted almonds in a food processor. Pulse, stopping to scrape the sides every now and then, until they are ground evenly.
How to make Linzer Cookies
While this recipe is not hard, you will need to account for chilling time (twice!) and will probably encounter a few obstacles when rolling and cutting the dough. Thankfully, I’ve made lots of Linzer mistakes so I can tell you what not to do!
Keep reading along and we’ll get to them!
If you do not own the Linzer cutters, you can use a 2-inch and 1-inch round or crinkle cutters.
To make Dulce de Leche Linzer Cookies:
- Cream the butter, sugar and cinnamon – Combine the softened butter, sugar and cinnamon in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed.
- Mix in the egg yolk and vanilla extract – Add the egg yolk and vanilla, and beat until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Add the flours – In a separate bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, almond flour and salt. Add the flour mix to the stand mixer and beat just until combined.
- Divide the dough in two and refrigerate – Divide the dough in half, pat each into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
- Roll the cookie dough – Place one of the discs in between two sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thick.
- Cut the Linzer cookie bottoms – Use a Linzer cookie cutter without the insert (or a 2-inch round or fluted cookie cutter) to cut out the bottoms. Transfer them to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. You can gather the scrap dough, roll it out and cut more cookies.
- Repeat with second disc and cut the tops – Roll out the second piece of dough. Use the Linzer cookie cutter, this time with the insert of your choice to cut the tops, detaching the cutout center. Or you can use a 2-inch cutter to cut the rounds and a 1-inch cutter to cut out the center.
Place the cut tops and the centers on another parchment-lined baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes.
- Bake ’em! – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are getting browned. Let them cool slightly before transferring to a wired rack so they can cool completely before filling.
- Dust the tops with confectioners’ sugar – Use a sugar wand or a fine strainer to dust the top cookies with confectioners’ sugar.
- Fill the cookies with dulce de leche – Spread dulce de leche on the flat side of the bottom cookies, about 1 teaspoon per cookie. Top with the top cookie and serve!
Tips and tricks:
- If the dough is too stiff after chilling, let it rest a little on the counter until it is pliable.
- Don’t skip the parchment paper for rolling. Sandwiched by the paper, the dough has no chance of sticking onto your pin or the counter.
- Dip your cutters into flour to make cutting easier. (You can brush the extra flour off before baking.)
- After you cut the cookies, release them gently from the paper with an offset spatula. This dough is quite buttery, so if it becomes too soft, it can easily fall apart. If you find that that’s happening, just chill the dough some more so you can get a clean cut and release the cookies without breaking them.
- Spread the filling on the flat part of the bottom cookie, the side that was in contact with the baking sheet, as it makes a tighter fit with the top cookie.
- I like to dust the top cookies with powdered sugar before placing them on the bottom cookies. That way the filling doesn’t get dusted and you can easily see that they are dulce de leche cookies!
Can these cookies be made ahead?
Yes, but I wouldn’t fill them until ready to serve.
The baked cookies are crisp, but they start to soften once filled. So I would bake the cookies (up to 2-3 days ahead) and fill them the day I plan on eating them. If you don’t mind slightly softened cookies, you can fill them the day before.
The cookie dough can also stay in the fridge for up to 5 days, tightly wrapped, before baking. Any longer than that, I would freeze it!
Can I freeze Linzer Cookies?
You have three options:
- Freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge and proceed with rolling, cutting, chilling again and baking.
- Freeze the cookies without the filling. Go ahead and make/bake the cookies. Let them cool completely and then freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 month. When ready to serve, thaw overnight in the fridge and then let them come to room temperature before dusting with sugar and filling.
- Freeze the assembled cookies. “But, Olivia, dulce de leche is made of milk and you always say that dairy doesn’t freeze well!” I know, I know. But in this case, there is such a high sugar content, and the milk is so reduced during cooking, that you can safely freeze (for up to 1 month) with minimal texture alterations.
Dulce de Leche is by far my favorite Linzer cookie filling. However, if you are looking for some other options, here are a few suggestions:
- The traditional: black currant preserves
- The popular: raspberry jam
- Guava paste
- Lemon or passion fruit curd
- Peanut butter
You can also play around with the cookie dough, using hazelnut or walnut flour instead of almond and/or adding some cocoa powder or spices.
How to store leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
- 3/4 cup butter (170g) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup (110g) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (147g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (100g) almond flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup dulce de leche
- Confectioners' sugar for dusting
- Make the cookie dough: Combine butter, sugar and cinnamon in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes, pausing every now and then to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat until combined, about 1 minute.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour and salt.
- Add the flours to the butter mixture and mix briefly, just until incorporated.
- Chill the dough: Divide the dough in half and pat each into a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour or up to 5 days.
- Roll the dough: Place one of the halves in between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll, using a rolling pin, to about 1/4-inch thick.
- Cut the cookies: If using a Linzer cutter, use the cutter without the insert to cut out 12 rounds. These will be the bottoms. If using a regular cutter, you can use a round or fluted 2-inch cutter to cut the bottoms.
- Transfer the bottom cookies to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Gather the scrap dough and roll it out to cut more cookies.
- Roll out the second disc and use the Linzer cookie cutter with the insert of your choice to cut out the tops, detaching the cutout center. Alternatively, you can use the 2-inch cutter to cut rounds and a 1-inch cutter to make a cut in the center. Place the cookies in another lined baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F for at least 15 minutes.
- Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden brown. Let them cool slightly and then transfer to a wired rack so they can cool completely before filling.
- Dust the cookies: Place the top cookies on a cookie sheet and dust them with confectioners' sugar.
- Fill with dulce de leche: Turn the remaining cookies flat side up (the side that was in contact with the baking sheet) and spread 1 teaspoon of dulce de leche into the center, spreading it.
- Top with the dusted top cookies and serve!
- Handling the dough - If the dough is too stiff and hard to roll, let it rest for a few minutes until it is pliable.
- Cutting the cookies - To make it easier to cut the cookies, I recommend dipping the cutters into flour. You can brush off the excess later, before baking.
- After you cut the cookies, carefully release them from the parchment paper with an offset spatula, to prevent them from breaking.
- Storing leftovers - Store at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
- Freezing - You can freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before rolling and proceeding with the rest of the recipe. You can also freeze the cookies (filled or unfilled) for up to 1 month.
- If making ahead, I recommend baking the cookies but not filling them until ready to serve.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 153Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 62mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 3g