Dec 19, 2010

Heart-Loving Holiday Recipe: Linzer Macaroon Sandwich Cookies

I found this Linzer Macaroon cookie recipe on Epicurious a few years ago, and it’s become my go-to holiday cookie. While they are very sugary and not really low fat, the fat comes solely from almonds rather than butter or eggs, and that makes me feel better. (C’mon, let me have my holiday delusions!)  These cookies are also great for anyone following a gluten-free diet, as they contain no flour. They’re basically just almonds, sugar, egg whites and raspberry jam.

This is an example of a good cookie with a poorly written recipe, so I’ve corrected the problems here. First, the original Bon Appétit recipe called for cooking them for 18 minutes, which turns them into hard crunchy discs rather than chewy macaroons. Second, it called for watering down the raspberry jam too much. You just need to add enough water to make it more easily spreadable on the delicate cookies. Third, you really must rinse your hands between every couple of cookies you form – otherwise you’ll have a hard time making the gooey dough into balls. Relax, it’s easy. Just follow the instructions and you’ll end up with simply irresistible cookies.

I recommend using a raspberry jam that’s not overly sweet – or you could substitute lemon juice for all or part of the water when making the jam filling. I haven’t tried that, but I bet it would make for a nice tangy contrast with the sweet cookie. Oh, I guess I’ll just have to make another batch and find out.

Linzer Macaroon Sandwich Cookies
Adapted from Bon Appetit

1 2/3 cups blanched slivered almonds
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon almond extract (I like half almond, half vanilla, but if you love almond flavor, go for all almond)
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1 tablespoon water (see note above for alternate suggestion)
Powdered sugar

Put the jam and the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about five minutes, then cool completely (place in the refrigerator if necessary – the filling should not be too runny.)

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Put the slivered almonds and the sugar in a food processor and grind well. Add the egg whites and extract(s) and process until very well blended.

Dampen your hands and form teaspoons of dough into balls and place them on the sheets an inch apart, flattening just slightly so that the diameter is about 1 1/4″.( Be sure to rinse your hands with warm water between every couple of cookies so the dough is easy to handle.) Press a couple of sliced almonds onto the top of each cookie.

Bake until just barely golden, about 13-14 minutes. Slide the parchment paper off the baking sheets and cool. Use a metal spatula to remove the cookies to a work surface, arranging them flat side up. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of jam onto one cookie, then top with another. Repeat until finished. Sift powdered sugar over completed cookies.

Makes about 20 cookies

Some other holiday cookie recipes I can’t wait to try:

Crackly Spice Cookies from She’s In the Kitchen

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles from M Loves M
(Note: I discovered that the original recipe is actually from the book Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Treats)

Life-Changing Vegan Thumbprints from The Kitchn


  • Love the idea of the linzer cookie recipe..question, if I have ground almonds already from the store how much would that convert to if 1 2/3 cups of blanched almonds (whole) is required? Also, will it make much of a difference if my ground almonds were ground with the skins on. Thanks

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Hmmm, challenging question. From what I can gather searching for equivalents online, it should be 1.45 cups of ground almonds to equal 1 2/3 cups of slivered! So just a tad less than a cup and a half of your ground almonds. Not sure about the skins but I would go ahead and take the chance. Or freeze your ground almonds and get blanched ones for this recipe!

  • Linda

    these sound utterly delicious. the lemon juice substitute would bring the sublime. i
    know a young mother whose son has celiac’s disease and i am forwarding this recipe immediately. my daughter may like this a lot. she and her 4 children make cookies
    every year…i am unable to bake and cook, due to a disability…but that does not
    prevent me from tempting those near me to make them. perhaps i shall get a bite or two. all of your recipes are wonderful.

  • Cathy I tried the Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies you linked to, but instead of white flour used org. whole wheat pastry flour. I also added cardamon (although I don’t really notice it), used more org. cocoa than the recipe called for (for richer flavor) and added two spoonfuls of homemade applesauce (for the heck of it). the recipe did not say how wet or dry the dough was meant to be; I found it very dry and added a bit more liquid (maple syrup and applesauce.) I worried because the rolled up balls were literally leaking oil (olive oil in this case) while they waited to be pressed down, so I feared disaster. I am very out of practice with cookies. I am pleased to say they came out splendidly; every body who has tried them adores them, and I’ll probably make some for the Fiddleheads Co-op third birthday celebration on Feb 5th. They came out crispy at first, then after I put them in a container they became chewy by the next day, and people seemed to love that, and they loved the lingering hint of spice. I also added organic chocolate chips, which was a challenge when rolling the balls but they melded into the cookies quite nicely, I thought. Thanks again for providing the link!

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Wow, you are adventurous! I also used whole wheat pastry flour and found that it worked well. Glad you liked them!

  • Louise

    I loved these cookies when you made them and couldn’t wait to make my own batch. But I made another modification — completely by accident. Instead of using plain egg whites, I whipped them into stiff peaks. Then, I folded the egg whites into the sugar and nut mixture. Needless to say, I couldn’t form balls with this delicate batter. So, I used a teaspoon to make drop cookies. The cookies weren’t as puffy as yours, but they had a wonderful light and chewy texture. Next time, I want to use hazelnuts and have a dark chocolate filling.

  • Teal

    Hey Cathy, I am new to website (old college friend of Tim’s) but am very excited about it. I am always on the look out for a vegan lintzer tart – and also felt it was too ambitious to bake. Going to try this. Thanks for having such great ideas and recipes on line.

  • Hi Teal. Welcome and thanks! Let me know how the cookies come out.

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