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Chocolate hazelnut linzer cookies, with a cup of hot tea.

Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Cookies

Heather Smoke
These delicious linzer cookies start with buttery, flaky shortbread cookies, filled with creamy chocolate hazelnut spread, for a delicious holiday treat.

All recipes on Curly Girl Kitchen are developed for high altitude at 5,280 feet.

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Total Time 38 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 13 cookies

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus extra for rolling
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • ¾ cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 3 tbsp whole milk or cream
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼ cup sparkling sugar or granulated sugar
  • ½ cup chocolate hazelnut spread

Instructions
 

  • In a food processor, pulse the flour, powdered sugar and salt to combine.
    With the food processor running, drop the butter pieces in one at a time, pulsing until evenly dispersed.
    Add the vanilla and cream, then pulse until the mixture comes together into a soft, supple dough.
    Note that if you don't have a food processor, you can make the dough in a bowl, using a pastry cutter. I've done this many times, and it just takes a bit longer to work the butter evenly into the flour, and then work the liquid into the mixture until it forms a soft dough.
  • Dump the dough out and knead a few times just to bring together any stray floury bits. Shape into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • Get your cookie cutters ready. You can use a linzer cookie cutter set, or just match up small cutters with larger ones to cut the "window". My cookie cutters ranged from 2 1/2 - 3 inches for the large ones, and 1 - 1 1/2 inches for the smaller window cutter.
  • Flour a clean work surface, and flour the dough lightly as well. Roll the dough out evenly to about 1/8 inch thick.
    The dough will be delicate when rolled thin, so handle it gently. The reason for rolling it thin is because the cookies will be sandwiched together. You can certainly roll the dough a little thicker, if you like, to between 1/8-1/4 inch thick, but a thicker cookie will take longer to bake than the time noted below.
    Cut as many cookies as you can, and set the cut cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart. Make sure to cut an even number of each shape, since you'll need to match up the top and bottom cookies of your sandwich.
    With the cut cookies on the baking sheet, cut and remove the center window, and add that piece to your dough scraps.
    Gather up the scraps of dough, re-roll the dough, and continue cutting cookies.
    I was able to cut 26 cookies, for a total of 13 assembled sandwich cookies.
  • Refrigerate the cut cookies for 1 hour. Chilling the cut cookies helps to keep the cookies from spreading while they bake, so they maintain their shape.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
    Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the top cookies (the ones with the window) with the egg white, then sprinkle with the sparkling/granulated sugar. (If you like, you can skip this step and simply dust the cookies with powdered sugar after they've baked.)
    Bake the chilled cookies on the center oven rack. Depending on their size, they should take about 8 - 8 1/2 minutes. The baked cookies will still be very pale on top, with light golden edges. Since there's no leavening in the dough, the cookies will not rise, spread, or lose their shape, but it's normal to see little bubbles, since as the butter cooks, the water in the butter evaporates, and the pockets of steam create flaky layers and bubbles.
    Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for several minutes, and then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Remember, these are delicate, and they break easily, so handle with care.
  • Once the cookies are cooled, turn over the bottom cookies, so the bottom side faces up. Spread with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of chocolate hazelnut spread, stopping 1/8 inch from the edge. Place the top cookie with the window on top, and press down lightly.

Notes

  • Leftover cookies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or frozen for 3-6 months.
  • I'd recommend making a double batch of dough, since this recipe only makes 13 finished linzer cookies.
Keyword Christmas Cookies, Cookies, High Altitude, Shortbread
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