Linzer cookies might be associated with Christmas. However, their heart shape and red colour makes them perfect for Valentine’s Day, too! These gluten free Linzer cookies are crumbly like shortbread. They are buttery and melt in the mouth. And the best part? The juicy jam in the middle of this gluten free cookie recipe! If you want a Valentine’s Day cookies recipe with all the flavour but none of the gluten, try these.
They might look seriously impressive but don’t worry – the recipe isn’t hard! And this is one of the best gluten free cookie recipe options for Valentine’s Day.
Tasty History of Linzer Cookies
These cookies have a long history – all the way back to 1653 in fact. They started off as a tart rather than cookies. Oh – and they are as Austrian as Arnold Schwarzenegger! Let’s find out how gluten free Linzer cookies came to be.
Countess Anna Margarita Sagramosa of Linz, Austria loved to bake. She was known for her pie-like tart. It featured a tasty almond crust and lemon flavours. It was filled with blackcurrant jam and a pretty lattice crust decorated the top.
This original recipe was also gluten free since nuts were more widely available than flour.
A cookie version of this tart was developed by bakers in the Linz region. They knew the cookies would fly off the shelves, especially around the festive period. Austrian bakers would prepare the dough in a similar way but rather than making one large tart, they cut shapes. Half of these shapes would get a second cut-out in the middle, called Linzer eyes.
After baking, a cookie with a center cut-out would top a cookie with no cut-out. In the middle would be the jam. Austrian and German immigrants introduced these cookies to America later on. Since then, gluten free Linzer cookies have only become more popular.
Today there are many recipes, each with slightly different ingredients and fillings. These Valentine’s Day cookies are well-loved. Their appeal has spread all over the world. Because they work perfectly as a gluten free cookie recipe, they are especially popular among gluten free eaters.
Linzer Cookie Variations
Although the original recipe used blackcurrant jam, and Austrian bakers of bygone times used blackcurrant or redcurrant jam, there are more possible fillings.
Modern bakers might use raspberry (like I did here) or strawberry jam. Lingonberry preserves or even Nutella would work! Any filling you can think of can peek out through the ‘Linzer eye’ to give the eater a tempting glimpse of the filling!
This gluten free cookie recipe can be made in any shape. Traditionally they were made round, but today the sky is the limit. Since we are making Valentine’s Day cookies, a heart-shaped cookie cutter would be perfect.
You will also need a little one to cut out the heart shape in the center. The center cut-out can be any size you like. It will probably depend on what size of heart-shaped cookie cutter you have! If you have a tiny cutter, you could even made three cut-outs instead of one. The choice is yours, so feel free to experiment.
Gluten Free Linzer Cookies: Tips and Tricks
Despite this gluten free cookie recipe being easy, it’s always worth knowing some handy tips and tricks. Especially if you plan to serve these to the object of your affections and win their heart!
The dough is quite forgiving and you can roll it out more than once. You might want to do this if you’re new to working with fiddly cookie cutters. Make sure you end up with the same number of hearts with cut-outs as hearts without.
The jam, jelly, preserves or whichever filling you use will soften the cookies over time. This means they will keep for a few days in an airtight container. However they are best enjoyed the day they are baked.
Since we are making gluten free Linzer cookies, nuts feature in the crust rather than flour. Almonds work, as do hazelnuts, so you can pick one or mix and match. If you’re using hazelnuts, rub off the skin between baking and grinding. Alternatively you can buy almond flour or hazelnut flour.
If you are grinding your own nuts however, resist the urge to over-grind. This is really important! Grind them too much and you will have nut paste. Go beyond that and guess what – you have nut butter! Which is very nice of course – just not what we need for these Valentine’s Day cookies.
More Tips for This Gluten Free Cookie Recipe
After baking, you need to add the filling, add the tops and finally sprinkle powdered sugar over the cookies. Refrain from pressing down too hard when sticking the top to the filling. You are working with baked Valentine’s Day cookies at this stage, not dough.
So press them on gently, else your gluten free Linzer cookies might break! Since you are baking these gluten free Linzer cookies though, you might ‘accidentally’ break one – cook’s privilege and all that! Eating your ‘mistakes’ can be fun!
Gluten Free Linzer Cookies Recipe
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder, set aside. In a food processor, pulse almonds with brown sugar until finely ground, set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together butter and powdered sugar on low speed until combined, then increase to medium-high and whip until creamy, about 1 minute. Mix in egg, then blend in vanilla and almond extract.
- Mix in almond mixture, then with mixer set on low speed, slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined. Form mixture into a ball and drop onto a sheet of plastic wrap, then flatten into a 6-inch round disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dust work surface with flour, cut disk in half and then evenly roll out each portion into 1/8 to 1/6-inch thickness.
- Cut into heart shapes using a cookie cutter, then using a smaller heart shape cookie cutter, cut smaller hearts into the centers of half of the hearts.
- Carefully transfer to Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets (you can run a sharp knife or pastry scaper under cookies to help lift them if needed. Also, chill dough that's not currently being rolled or baked, the hearts hold their shape better when cold), spacing cookies 1-inch apart.
- Bake in preheated oven 10 – 12 minutes until edges are lightly golden. Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Spread strawberry jam over whole hearts, dust cookies with heart cut centers with powdered sugar then place those cookies over over tops. Store in an airtight container.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
A special thank you to my friend Krista at Krista’s Cookies for helping with this recipe.
Let me know if you try out this recipe for Gluten Free Linzer cookies. These Valentine’s Day cookies will be a hit.