We have a legitimate Christmas obsession in this family.  I inherited the gene from my mom, who decorated, cooked and shopped herself into a two week-post holiday exhaustion for years.  Our family hosted, and still does, the traditional Italian 7 fish Christmas Eve dinner every year, and dessert was always piles of Christmas cookies, struffoli (a dessert of fried dough balls coated in honey), nuts (no longer with that!) and fruit.  The cookie mania began a week or two before Christmas, we never make them too far in advance, so they will stay as fresh as possible.  For many years my father served in the local volunteer fire department.   On a night a few days before Christmas they would drive around the neighborhood with Santa on the biggest truck, blaring the lights and sirens, waving to the families that came running out to catch the Big Guy in Red.  Inevitably the company would wind up back at my house and my mom, being a natural-born hostess, would watch as dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies got annihilated (along with a whole lot of spirits!).  And then, the baking started again the next day.  It was my absolute favorite thing to do. 

One particular cookie, linzer tarts, are a cornerstone of the Martino family Christmas.  My mother got the recipe from a dear friend of hers, a woman who was one of the kindest souls you could ever meet and a fabulous baker.  A real linzer tart is actually called linzer torte, and is a traditional Austrian tart made with a rich crust of hazelnut flour and hard-boiled egg yolks and baked with a raspberry jam filling.  Over time it has evolved into a sandwiched cookie with many incarnations.  Some make it with nut flour, like walnut or almond, or like our recipe which is a simple, melt in your mouth flaky cookie.  I’ve adapted them to be made to suit so many needs, and I’m truly thrilled with this recipe. 

Recreating this to be Casey safe was terrifying and met with much doubt and scrutiny with my family, who do not mince criticism of my baking at all!  It was a wonderful moment when my oldest brother, who needs to be physically restrained from eating a whole batch of linzers, deemed them as good as the original.  Casey immediately loved them, and we all enjoyed on Christmas.  I also make them for Valentine’s Day for my boys to give to their teachers.  They are so perfect for Valentine’s with the beautiful red jam filling and snowy white confectioner’s sugar on top.  Enjoy!! ❤️ 🎄

**As always, please check which brands are safe for your needs**

 Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Flour – As always, I use a gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum, however, if regular flour is safe for you than you can absolutely use that.  Please note that gluten free flour is more drying than regular wheat flour because of the nature of the flours and starches (like rice) and should be used sparingly when rolling out. I prefer to roll out between two silicone mats or parchment paper to limit the amount of flour and risk drying out the dough.  If your gluten free blend does not have xanthan gum, then add ¼ tsp. per cup of flour.

  • Shortening/Vegan Butter – This is an awesome recipe because I managed to cover options for all safes out there.  However, please make a note!  If you are using shortening, vegan or regular, the amount needs to be cut down than if you use vegan butter or regular butter. Shortening is much softer and the dough will be extremely difficult to work with otherwise.  I have note of the amounts in the recipe.  Regardless of which fat you choose to use, the dough needs to chill at least an hour or two.  If the fat is soft it will melt out in the oven quickly and there will not be flaky layers or clean edges on the cookies.

  • Jam filling – Use whatever you like!  At Christmas, I use apricot and raspberry, for Valentine’s Day I like rich red cherry or strawberry, and July 4th might get blueberry or blackberry.  I love Crofter’s jam; it is safe for Casey and not too sweet.

  • Stained glass candy – Any color or safe hard candy or lollipop will work here.  Just put some candy or pops in a zip top bag and whack with a heavy kitchen spoon or measuring cup.  I use Dum Dums, Wholesome, or Life Saver lollipops.

  • Special Equipment

    Round or heart cutters are used for linzer tarts.  The top and bottom of the linzers will use the same size but a smaller cutter is needed to cut out the center to show the jam filling.  If you do not have a graduated cutter set, you can use a handmade stencil or the base of a pastry piping tube to press out a circle.  I like graduated plastic cutters because they do not rust like metal.

Gluten Free Vegan Linzer Tart Cookies

Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Seed Free, Top 8 Allergy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Author: Katie Martino Lopez

Prep Time: 10 minutes

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Chill Time: appx. 2 hours

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Cook Time: 12-15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: appx. 15-30 cookies, depending on cutter size and if sandwiching cookies

Ingredients

Ingredients for Vegan Butter/Butter Variation

  • 8 oz. (2 sticks) vegan or regular butter
  • 1 c. confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 2 c. (10 oz., 280 g.) gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum or wheat flour
  • 1 c. cornstarch (4.75 oz., 135 g.)
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt

Method

  1. In a bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In an electric mixer filled with the paddle attachment, cream the fat (either butter or shortening) until light. Be careful not to overmix and soften the fat too much or it will affect the final dough when baking.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and oil slowly, scraping the bowl down often. It will look a bit separated by the time the last of the oil is added-that’s fine, it will come together once the dry ingredients are added.
  4. Lower the mixer and slowly incorporate the dry mixture, scraping the sides and bottom often until it is uniformly blended.
  5. Shape the dough into a rough flat rectangle on parchment paper. If the fat is still firm then you can begin rolling out, or chill about 30 minutes.
  6. When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If it is very hard, let it sit for a few minutes or the dough will break as you’re rolling out.
  7. Cut dough in half and chill the half not being rolled. On a silicone mat or between 2 pieces of parchment and, using as little bench flour as possible, roll out dough to no more than ¼ inch.  The edges can get dry but as you work the dough it will soften. Thinner is better, especially when sandwiching.  Work quickly as this is a temperamental dough when the fat warms, but you can just push it together to patch if it tears or cracks.
  8. Using a cutter, press an even number of cookies as a matched pair, cutting a center out of one of the pairs. Transfer quickly to a parchment lined cookie sheet, brushing off excess bench flour with a pastry brush. If dough is warm, chill it for a bit to firm the butter.  If the cookies are very soft on the sheet pan, chill until firmer or it will lose shape while baking.
  9. Bake 12-15 minutes until very light golden on edges but still set. If baking single stained-glass cookies, add crushed candy in the last 5 minutes of baking.  The sugar will burn if in the oven too long.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. When ready to sandwich, separate the bases from the top. Dust the tops heavily with powdered sugar with a sifter. Using about 1-2 tablespoons of jam per cookie, spread almost to the edges.  Press the sugared tops lightly so they won’t crack.
  11. Keep in an airtight container for 5 days. If not eating all the cookies at one time, don’t sandwich right away. The jam will soften them.

Ingredients for Shortening/Regular Shortening Variation 

  • 6 oz. vegan or regular shortening (I like Spectrum shortening)
  • 1 c. confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 2 c. (10 oz., 280 g.) gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum or wheat flour
  • 1 c. cornstarch (4.75 oz., 135 g.)
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt

Method

  1. In a bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In an electric mixer filled with the paddle attachment, cream the fat (either butter or shortening) until light. Be careful not to overmix and soften the fat too much or it will affect the final dough when baking.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and oil slowly, scraping the bowl down often. It will look a bit separated by the time the last of the oil is added-that’s fine, it will come together once the dry ingredients are added.
  4. Lower the mixer and slowly incorporate the dry mixture, scraping the sides and bottom often until it is uniformly blended.
  5. Shape the dough into a rough flat rectangle on parchment paper. If the fat is still firm then you can begin rolling out, or chill about 30 minutes.
  6. When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If it is very hard, let it sit for a few minutes or the dough will break as you’re rolling out.
  7. Cut dough in half and chill the half not being rolled. On a silicone mat or between 2 pieces of parchment and, using as little bench flour as possible, roll out dough to no more than ¼ inch.  The edges can get dry but as you work the dough it will soften. Thinner is better, especially when sandwiching.  Work quickly as this is a temperamental dough when the fat warms, but you can just push it together to patch if it tears or cracks.
  8. Using a cutter, press an even number of cookies as a matched pair, cutting a center out of one of the pairs. Transfer quickly to a parchment lined cookie sheet, brushing off excess bench flour with a pastry brush. If dough is warm, chill it for a bit to firm the butter.  If the cookies are very soft on the sheet pan, chill until firmer or it will lose shape while baking.
  9. Bake 12-15 minutes until very light golden on edges but still set. If baking single stained-glass cookies, add crushed candy in the last 5 minutes of baking.  The sugar will burn if in the oven too long.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. When ready to sandwich, separate the bases from the top. Dust the tops heavily with powdered sugar using a sifter. Using about 1-2 tablespoons of jam per cookie, spread almost to the edges.  Press the sugared tops lightly so they won’t crack.
  11. Keep in an airtight container for 5 days. If not eating all the cookies at one time, don’t sandwich right away. The jam will soften them.

Recipe Notes

  • There is a difference in the cookies when using the vegan butter/butter versus the shortening. The dough is definitely dryer with the butters and softer with the shortening.  If using regular flour, they will not be as dry.  Every gluten free flour is different so you may need to tweak for your own needs.
  • These cookies will hold for a quite a few days un-jammed. Our old school way is to layer them in a cardboard box-they stay much crisper!  They will also store well in a tight lidded container.
  • Keep the stained-glass cookies in an airtight container and out of the refrigerator. The sugar in the candy will start to break down and bleed from exposure to humidity and moisture in the air.
  • Any cutter can be used, just cut a center space out to show off the lovely jam color. 

2 Comments

  1. Jamie Johnston

    I love these recipes!

    • Katie Bakes for Casey

      Yay! Thank you💙

Disclaimer

As we all know, reading labels and preparing food when managing allergies is a job within itself with much responsibility. All the brands I use are ones that I have contacted, and Casey has eaten safely. That being said, I must remind…

Please do your own research when deciding which products and foods are safe for the allergies you manage. These are the ones that are safe for our needs but may not be for you. Everyone has different comfort levels with manufacturing and production procedures.

And, as a friendly reminder, always have 2 epinephrine auto injectors on hand!

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