These Hazelnut and Prune Jam Linzer Cookies are a great flavor combo. The hazelnut pairs perfectly with the sweet homemade prune jam. The cookie has a strong nutty flavor and the jam reminds you of sweet plums with a touch of maple syrup. Thank you to California Prunes for partnering with me to present this Christmas classic with a California twist for your Holiday Baking.
Why This Recipe Works
Linzer cookies are a Christmas classic from Austria. The original is made with almond flour , but I added my own twist by using Bob's Red Mill hazelnut flour which adds a nutty aroma and taste. Prunes make a great filling because of their tart taste and versatility in being paired with other ingredients.
Why California Prunes Make a Great Dessert
The first dessert I made using California prunes was this Prune Clafoutis with Apple Caramel Sauce. I will admit that up until that point I wouldn't have considered prunes as a dessert ingredient, but once I started thinking about it, all kinds of ideas came to mind.
Prunes are a year-round fruit, so they are perfect for any dessert where you would normally use dried fruit or a jam filling, which makes them great for holiday baking. So I decided to make prune jam for these yummy hazelnut Linzer cookies.
Maybe you're thinking - I've never heard of prune jam, how unusual. But you've heard of plum jam. Jam made with California prunes has a deeper, more intense tart flavor than plum jam because the prunes have a more concentrated flavor from the drying process.
In addition, the prunes still retain a lot of their moisture and natural sweetness, which means that you don't need to add a lot of liquid or sugar when cooking them. The jam is ready in almost no time and the prunes pair well with almost any flavor that you might want to add to them.
When I was developing the recipe for this jam I decided to pair the prunes with maple syrup, cinnamon, and apple. So not only does this cookie taste delicious you could consider it a little healthy because prunes have dietary fiber (12% of daily requirements per serving), potassium, and several antioxidants that support healthy bones.
California produces 99% of this country's prunes and 40% of the world's supply, which is pretty impressive. If you want to learn more about prunes check out this site California Prunes for information and more recipe ideas. And if you want to learn more about where your food comes from, check this guide: How Do You Know it's From California.
Prune Jam Ingredients
The nice thing about making a prune jam is how easy the prunes pair with other ingredients. In this instance I paired it with Granny Smith apples. The ingredients for this jam are:
- California Prunes
- Granny Smith Apple
- Apple Cider
- Maple Syrup
- Star Anise and Ground Cinnamon
This recipe is very versatile so feel free to make your own adjustments. Maybe you want to try a different spice or add a little orange zest.
How to Make Prune Jam
For Christmas I go through a lot jam when making cookies. I'm usually using jam that I made during the summer, or received from a friend. However over the past few years I've started making quick homemade jams to take advantage of fall and winter flavors. This prune jam is one of the quick jams.
Start by pureeing the pitted prunes and chopped Granny Smith apple together in the food processor. Add them to a 3 or 4-quart saucepan with the other ingredients.
Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce it to medium-low heat. Stir the jam frequently and cook it until the mixture starts to stick slightly to the bottom of the pan. Remove it from the heat, place a lid on the saucepan and let it sit for ten (10) minutes). Process the jam in the food processor for about 1 minute until it is smooth.
Place the prune jam in a container, allow it to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate it until you're ready to make the cookies.
Hazelnut Linzer Cookie Ingredients
In my research for a Linzer cookie recipe I learned that the traditional cookie is made with almond flour and cinnamon. But in my recipe I replaced the almond flour with hazelnut flour and added cardamon and nutmeg to the cinnamon.
If you read through my blog you'll see that I love hazelnuts and use them a lot especially in the fall. Some of my favorites are Hazelnut Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie and Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread Cookie. I'm sure you see the pattern.
The ingredients for this cookie are:
- All-Purpose Flour. Provides the structure for the cookie.
- Bob's Red Mill Hazelnut Flour. I specifically call out Bob's Red Mill hazelnut flour because of the quality of this ingredient, but there are instructions in the recipe notes for making your own hazelnut flour.
- Unsalted Butter. If you like your cookies a little salty you can use salted butter, but leave out the salt called for in the recipe.
- Egg Yolks. Egg Yolks add moisture and additional softness to the cookie
- Ground Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Cardamom. Spices are key to the flavor of these cookies.
How to Make the Cookies
The cookie dough is easy to make. The key to producing a soft cookie is not overmixing the dough once the flour is added.
Start by mixing combining the flour and the hazelnut flour in a bowl and whisking until they are well combined. Separate the eggs and place the egg yolks in a small bowl
Place the butter, sugar, salt, spices and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Start by mixing on low and once the ingredients are combined increase the speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes.
Since we aren't using a chemical leavener like baking powder we want to make we introduce air into the cookie dough by thoroughly beating the sugar and butter together.
Add the egg yolks and beat on medium speed until well combined. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are incorporated into the dough. The dough may look a little crumbly
There may be some flour-nut mixture on the sides of the bowl. Use your spatula to mix that in as your scrape the dough from the bowl.
Divide the dough into two even pieces. The dough will weigh about 730 grams, so each piece will weight about 365 grams. Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap and use your hands and plastic wrap to shape the dough into a 1-inch thick round disk.
Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour before rolling and shaping the dough.
How to Bake the Cookies
Now is the time to let your creativity shine. I use 2-inch round cutters and 3-inch star cutters for this cookie. The typical Linzer has the middle of the top cookie cutout. I use either a small round or star cutter to cut out the center.
Roll the cookie dough out on a well-floured surface. I use guides from DoughEZ. They're perfect for ensuring that your cookies are even thickness throughout and take the guess work out of the process.
I use one-half of the dough for the top of the cookie and the other half for the bottom. It is easier to keep track. Make sure you count repeatedly to enure you have an even number of tops and bottoms. But if you end up with an uneven number just eat the extra.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. I like the cookies when the edges have turned a little brown. Make sure you watch the first batch to know when the cookies are done in your oven. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
The cookies will be really tender so you don't want to move them too soon or they will fall apart. If you are not filling the cookies right away, stored the completely cooled cookies in an airtight container.
Assembling the Linzer Cookie
Lay the top half of the cookie on a sheet pan or a piece of parchment and sprinkle with powdered sugar using a fine mesh strainer until the top cookie is completely covered.
Spread the bottom half of the cookie with 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons of the prune jam. The amount of jam will depend on the size of the cookie. A 2-inch cookie will take about 1-1/2 teaspoons and a 3-inch cookie will take about 2 teaspoons of jam.
Serve the cookies right away or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. The cookies actually taste better the next day. After two days store the cookies in the refrigerator.
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this cookie with almond flour?
Yes, you can make this cookie with an equal amount of almond flour. The original Linzer cookie is made with almond flour.
What if I don't have hazelnut flour?
If you don't have hazelnut flour you can make your own. Place 140 grams of toasted hazelnuts in a food processor along with 1/2 cup of the flour. Process until the nuts are fine. The addition of the flour will keep the nuts from turning into nut butter.
What if I don't have cardamom?
The great thing about this cookie is that you can easily adjust the spices. You can use all cinnamon; just cinnamon and nutmeg; or replace the cardamom with ground ginger.
Other Holiday Treats
If you're looking for more ideas for your holiday baking, check out these delicious treats on the blog:
- Pecan Caramel Chocolate Bars
- Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
- Cocoa Molasses Spice Cookies
- Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookies
Please leave me a note in the comments below and let me know what you think about these cookies or let me know if you have any questions. If you make this recipe I would love to see your pictures and if you post it to Instagram tag me @bakesbybrownsugar and #bakesbybrownsugar.
Hazelnut Prune Jam Linzer Cookies
- 8 ounces (227 grams) pitted prunes
- 1 medium 4 ounces Granny Smith apple, chopped
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup apple cider
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 star anise
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Hazelnut Linzer Cookies
- 2 cups (250 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour sifted
- 1 1/4 cups (140 grams) hazelnut flour
- 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 (40 grams) large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Peel and chop the apple into 1-inch pieces. Place the apples and the prunes in a a food processor and processor until the fruit mixture resembles a really thick jam.
- Scrape the mixture into a 3-quart saucepan, add the apple cider water, sugar, star anise and ground cinnamon and stir to combine the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and then cook for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally until the jam is very thick and is starting to stick to the bottom of the saucepan.
- Remove the pan from the heat, cover it with a lid, and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Remove the star anise and place the jam back in the food processor and process it until the mixture is smooth. Scrape the jam into a container and cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator or using in the cookies
Hazelnut Linzer Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the hazelnut flour on a baking sheet lined with parchment and toast it for 5 minutes. The edges should turn a little brown. Allow to cool to room temperature before using in the recipe.
- Place the flour and hazelnut flour in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Place the butter, sugar, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and vanilla in the bowl of stand mixer and with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds and then increase speed to medium and beat the dough until it is light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add the egg yolks and mix on medium speed until combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl. Add the flour-hazelnut mixture in two batches and mix on medium-low speed each time until the flour is combined into the dough.
- Divide the dough into two equal portions, about 360 grams each. Flatten each piece into a 1-inch disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. One half of the dough will be the top of the cookie and the other half will be the bottom.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Remove half of the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. On a lightly flour Silpat, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use a 2-inch cookie cutter and cut out the top half of a cookie. Use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the center of the cookie. Reroll the dough and cut out more cookies. If the dough becomes too soft to work with, refrigerate it for 15 minutes.
- Place the cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, 2-inches apart and bakes the cookies for 10-12 minutes. The cookies will be slightly brown on the bottom.
- Repeat the above steps for the other half of the cookie dough, but do not cut a center out of the cookies. These cookies will be the bottom of the cookie sandwich.
- When the cookies are completely cool, place the cookie tops (with the cutouts) on a board or piece of wax paper and sprinkle with powdered sugar using a fine mesh strainer. Place 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons of jam on the bottom half of the cookie, spread it to the edges and place the top portion on top.
- The cookies keep for 2 days at room temperature in an airtight container. Store them in the refrigerator after 2 days.
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