OK - I haven't been this excited about a Gluten-free cookie since I made the Black & Whites. Now we have -- the Gluten-free Linzer Cookie.
I've been making Linzer Cookies over the holidays for the past 25 or 30 years using a recipe I think I found in a magazine. I don't even remember. It really is the best Linzer cookie I've ever had. I make 100's every holiday season - and give them as gifts. It's the only recipe I have that I have never shared with anyone. Today I going to share the Gluten-free version :-)
Since I hardly eat any wheat these days, I knew that this cookie had to go Gluten-free. Finding the time would be tricky, because this is no cookie recipe for the faint of heart - it's not the easiest recipe, and it's time consuming. But it simply had to be done.
So late one night I made the dough and stuck it in the refrigerator overnight (a must for these cookies), and figured I'd find an hour here and there to bake a few at a time to see if they worked. Well they did work! In fact, if you handed them to people without telling them they are Gluten-free, they'd never know. The taste is that close :-)
I consider this a fairly low-sugar recipe when you consider it's 1 cup of sugar (not including the powdered sugar top) to 6 - 2/3 dry ingredients. Still, I'll probably be trying it with Splenda soon, just to see what happens. I've also used good quality Raspberry Fruit Spreads that are sugar-free (naturally sweetened) and that has worked well. A good option if you're trying to cut back on sugar.
The fun thing about Linzer cookies is that you can make them for any occasion, in any shape. These are actually the regular Linzer cookies I made last year for Valentine's Day, but could be done with the Gluten-free version just as easily.
I wouldn't attempt this recipe without a good strong stand mixer. It's a very stiff dough and difficult to mix well with a wooden spoon. I did it back when I first started making them (pre-Jazzercise days, obviously), and I have to say I hated when the last ingredient got added and I had to blend it. I didn't have a mixer back then (I have two now - LOL).
As I said, you can make them any shape you want - but traditional Linzer cookies are round with a hole in the middle. I have a set of Biscuit cutters that come with several sizes that work perfectly. I usually make these into 2" cookies, using my smallest cutter for the center hole, but you can make them any size you want. I also have a set of Heart cutters. This is my favorite one. Not part of the set - you can't tell from the picture but it's only about 3/4" high and 3/4" wide. Really small.
OK - enough shmoozing. On to the recipe!
Gluten-free Linzer Cookies
Makes about 60 2" cookies (120 bottoms and tops)
- 1 1/2 cups Butter (3 sticks), slightly softened
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 Egg + 1 Egg Yolk
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 3 1/3 cups Ground Almonds
- 3 cups of your favorite Gluten Free Mix
- 1/3 cup Sweet Rice Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Xanthan Gum
- 1 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 Jar Raspberry Jam (good quality - I like Mary Ellen Brand)
- Powdered Sugar
Directions for making the dough and baking
- Mix the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and xanthan gum together with a whisk and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until blended.
- Add the ground nuts and mix on low speed until completely blended.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients at low speed and mix until completely blended. The dough will be stiff.
- Shape the dough into a round disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill overnight.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Break off about 1/4 of the dough (it will be very hard) and roll between two pieces of wax paper OR between a Silpat mat (love mine) and wax paper, to about 1/8" to 1/4" thickness. Do not use the rolling pin directly on the dough - it will stick! Also, in order to hold the shape of your cut out cookies, the dough must be cold or cool. If it starts to warm up and becomes hard to handle, put it back in the refrigerator for a while.
- Cut an equal amount of tops (with the center hole) and bottoms.
- Bake approximately 12 minutes, until the edges just barely start to get golden.
- Let cookies cool on cookie sheet for about 3-5 minutes before moving to cooling rack.
- Repeat with remaining dough and scraps.
Cool cookies to room temperature before assembling. If you're not going to assemble the cookies now, they keep at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days, or you can freeze them until you are ready to assemble.
Directions for assembling the cookies
- Set up two long sheets of wax paper or parchment paper.
- Line your cookie tops on one sheet (close together), and the cookie bottoms on the other. For the cookie bottoms, the bottom of the cookie (flat size) should be facing up. That will be on the inside of the cookie when you assemble it.
- Put the jam in a small saucepan and heat it up, stirring occasionally to thin it out.
- Meanwhile,using a sifter or hand strainer, liberally sprinkle the tops with powdered sugar.
- When the jam is thinned, spoon a little onto the cookie bottoms, spreading over the cookie to within about 1/8" of the edge (it will spread when you put the top on it.
- Immediately put a top on it, and repeat until all cookies are topped. If the jam begins to thicken, heat it again to thin out.
- Once the cookies are all assembled, use a small spoon to carefully drop a bit of the jam in the center of each cookie
- Allow cookies to set for several hours, before wrapping as gifts (however, they are ready to eat as soon as they are assembled :-)
Any leftover jam can be poured back in the jar and used later. I also usually gather up the excess powdered sugar on the wax paper and pour it back into the bag - no need to waste it!
These cookies are a bit of work, but your friends will love you for it!