One dough, two cookies. This is another of my husband’s family’s recipes. Big Linzer Hearts, which are made from this same dough, have been on the blog for quite a while but I can’t leave out Traditional Linzer Cookies or Austrian Jam Thumbprints. We love these tender and buttery shortbread cookies and they are an absolute MUST at Christmas.
Most of the Austrian home bakers I know don’t have a problem with rolling out cookie dough for hours on end and cutting out tiny cookies, baking, filling and glazing them. I hate to admit it but I have no patience for such things. (Just ask my family.) But Linzer Cookies are worth it – they are so good! Linzer Cookies are a true labor of love. Filled with tart-sweet homemade jam, there is nothing better. They look really pretty too, don’t you think?
However, if you’re looking for super quick and easy butter cookie recipe, you’ve come to the right place! Austrian Jam Thumbprints (sometimes called “Engelsaugen” – angel’s eyes) are easy peasy to make and are done in no time. They are every bit as tasty as Linzer Cookies and I think that they look cute too.
Traditional Austrian Linzer Cookies & Jam Thumbprints
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons (300 g) flour
- A pinch of salt
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (200 g) butter cold and cubed
- 1 cup (110 g) powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 1 envelope vanilla sugar or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 egg yolks
- 7 oz. (200 g) seedless red currant, raspberry and/or apricot jam
- Rum if desired
Make the dough: Toss the flour and salt together on your work surface. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips (or use a pastry cutter). When there are only little shreds of butter remaining, make an indentation in the center of the flour and put the powdered sugar, vanilla or vanilla sugar and egg yolks into the center. Using a fork, mix the egg yolks with the powdered sugar, making a thick paste in the center of the flour. Bring all the ingredients together with your hands and knead until smooth dough is formed.* Do not over-knead! Cut the dough in half, shape into disks, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days. 30 minutes to 1 hour is ideal. The dough should be cold when you roll it out.**
For Linzer Cookies: Preheat oven to 350°F (170°C). Roll out the dough to 1/16 inch (2-3 mm) thickness on a well-floured work surface. Using a Linzer cookie cutter*** (1 ½ inches or 4 cm), cut out cookie tops (with holes) and place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cut out the same number of cookie bottoms (without holes). Knead the scraps together and repeat rolling out and cutting out the cookies.**** Bake for 8 minutes, or until cookies are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and carefully pull the parchment paper with the cookies off the tray and onto a countertop to cool. Gently warm the jam until it is a little runny and stir well. A little rum (1-2 teaspoons) can be stirred into the jam for flavor! Using a spoon, spread the bottoms of the cookies without holes generously with jam and top with the cookies with the cutouts. Dust with powdered sugar and store cookies tightly sealed for at least two days to allow them to become tender.
For Thumbprint Cookies: Preheat oven to 350°F (170°C). Roll the dough into 1-inch sized balls, each weighing about 15 g, place on a parchment lined baking tray and make an indentation in the middle of each cookie with the floured end of a wooden spoon handle. Gently warm jam until it gets runny (stir in 1-2 teaspoons rum for flavor), pipe or spoon jam into the indentations. Bake for about 8-10 minutes or just until the edges of the cookies start to brown. Remove from oven and carefully pull the parchment paper with the cookies off the tray and onto a countertop to cool. Dust with powdered sugar if desired and store cookies tightly sealed for at least two days to allow them to become tender.
*Be patient, the dough will crumble in your hands at first but keep kneading.
**If the dough is very hard when you take it out, you may need it to let it stand at room temperature for an hour or two before you can roll it out.
***Instead of a Linzer cookie cutter, any cookie cutter can be used and holes cut out of the cookie tops using a smaller cookie cutter.
****The dough often sticks to the work surface. Carefully slide a thin, flexible knife under the dough to release it.