Hazelnut-Chocolate Linzer Cookie Recipe

Hazelnut-Chocolate Linzer Cookie Recipe

Inspired by this recipe

Hazelnut-Chocolate Linzer Cookie Recipe | https://saltandwind.com If you hang around here enough, you know that we have major love for the Italian flavor of gianduja (aka hazelnut and cocoa). We plan trips to its...
Skill
Course
Cuisine
Ingredients
11
Hands-On Time
15 minutes
Total Time
1 hour, 45 minutes
Yield
50 cookies (25 sandwiches)
Servings
25
Diet
Season
Hazelnut-Chocolate Linzer Cookie Recipe | https://saltandwind.com
Skill
Intermediate
Course
Dessert
Cuisine
American, Italian
Ingredients
11
Hands-On Time
15 minutes
Total Time
1 hour, 45 minutes
Yield
50 cookies (25 sandwiches)
Servings
25
Diet
Vegetarian
Hazelnut-Chocolate Linzer Cookie Recipe | https://saltandwind.com

If you hang around here enough, you know that we have major love for the Italian flavor of gianduja (aka hazelnut and cocoa).

We plan trips to its origin region of Piedmont just to eat it (and many other local regional specialties), we use the combination for one of our favorite homemade ice creams, and we'll always say "yes" to a bicerin! So when we decided to make a twist on the classic linzer cookie we once again turned to this flavor combination. The result is a bit sweet, crunchy, salty, crispy cookies, and they're pretty much perfection. 

Linzer Cookies 

Linzer cookies just might be our favorites: what's not to like about two buttery cookies sandwiched around a sweet filling?

And clearly we're not alone because they've been around for a long time. The linzer cookies comes from the linzertorte of which some form or another of the recipe has been around for over 300 years. It's commonly agreed that the tart recipe was discovered in an Austrian abbey in the mid 1600s and by the 1800s the recipe had been introduced to the United States. 

The cookies first appearance isn't quite as clear cut but now you can find the linzertorte or linzer cookies in bakeries across Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and into Eastern France and Northern Italy. They cookies are known as occhio di bue (pronounced "oh-key-oh dee boo-eh") in Italian, which translates to ox eyes because of the fact that the top cookie has a hole that reveals the filling (which is traditionally preserves or jam). 

Here we decided it was time to give it an update with some of our favorite flavors of all-time: chocolate and hazelnut. 

Tips To Make These Cookies

The key is to get high-quality whole hazelnuts and make the meal yourself so that the final cookie has a bit of a crunchy texture. Also, you want to make sure you use a top-quality gianduja paste (no Nutella as it has palm oil!) so that you have a clean, pure, not-too-sweet hazelnut-cocoa flavor. The brand that's easiest to find stateside is Rigoni di Asiago and can be foudn in gourmet stores or online.

  • Make The Hazelnut Meal A Bit Coarse: Like we said, you don't want the hazelnut meal to be too finely ground or you'll lose out on that delicious toasted nut crunch. Pulse the nuts until they're about the size of polenta.
  • Roll The Dough As Thin As Is Reasonable: Then you want to roll the dough really thin (at most 1/4-inch thick) so that they get even crispier as they bake. Another reason to do this is because the cookies get sandwiched so they'll be too bulky if you roll them any thicker.
  • Chill The Dough Adequately: The dough is wet and delicate (which is why it's so delicious) so this is more of an intermediate recipe. A way to make it easier to work with is to chill the dough adequately before you roll it and after you stamp out the cookies (which will also reduce spread as they bake). 
  • Don't Overdo The Gianduja: Resist the urge to add more hazelnut-cocoa paste that we call for in the recipe as it will just fall out the sides once you sandwich them. 
  • Let The Sandwiched Cookies Sit Before Serving: Finally, once you've finished assembling the cookies, let them sit for at least an hour before serving them or packing them in a cookie box so that they can set up nicely.

Go stock up on all your cooking essentials then head into the kitchen, make this, and share it with us by tagging @saltandwind and #swsociety on social!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole hazelnuts

    toasted

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

    room temperature

  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks

    room temperature

  • 1 teaspon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread

Instructions

Make The Nut Meal: Add the nuts to the bowl of a small food processor fitted with a blade and pulse until finely ground (it should look like meal and be powdery). Set aside.

Tip

Don't overprocess the nuts or they will become hazelnut butter!

Mix The Dry Ingredients: Combine the ground hazelnuts, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until aerated and any lumps are broken up.

Cream The Butter: Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle and mix on medium speed until airy and light, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix until well combined.

Chill The Dough: Turn off mixer, scrape down the sides, and add the flour mixture. Mix on low until just combined. Divide the dough in two pieces, place each in a square of plastic wrap or parchment, pat into a square that's 1-inch thick, and wrap tightly. Place in the refrigerator to chill, at least 1 hour.

Tip

The dough can be made up to 1 month in advance and stored in an airtight plastic bag or container in the freezer.

Roll Out The Dough: When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350°F and arrange racks in the upper and lower thirds. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let warm up until easy to roll and pliable, at least 10 minutes.

Stamp Out The Cookies: Place half the dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment or wax paper, and, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, stamp out cookies. Using a second smaller cookie cutter, stamp out the centers of half of the cookies to make stars or rings.

Freeze Before Baking: Arrange cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze briefly, at least 5 minutes, before baking. Gather dough scraps into a ball and refrigerate until ready to use.

Bake The Cookies: Bake 2 sheets of cookies at a time until the undersides are golden and the tops are set, switching the sheets halfway through baking, about 12 to 15 minutes total. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack then repeat with remaining dough to bake off all the cookies.

Assemble: To assemble, spread 1 teaspoon of the chocolate-hazelnut spread on the solid cookie then top it with a ring or star-shaped cookie. Repeat to assemble all the linzer cookie sandwiches.

Footnotes

High Altitude Adjustments (tested at 8,000 feet): Make cookie dough with just 1/4 teaspoon baking powder (not baking soda) and add in 1 large egg yolk (so 3 egg yolks total). Shape the dough and chill overnight. Then shape the cookies as directed but let them chill in the freezer for 5 minutes before baking. Bake at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes then let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing. These cookies will spread a tad more than in the photo but turn out great at high elevation with these adjustments!

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