Linzer Bars are a simpler spin on traditional Linzer Cookies. There’s a lot less rolling and cutting cookie dough with these!
Linzer Cookies – In Bar Form!
Every holiday season, I always have more baking ideas than I have time to bake and share with you. I save up all these ideas all year long and then realize that I’m completely overwhelmed with delicious choices.
A few years ago, I made some lovely Linzer Cookies, but I thought converting them to bar form would be every bit as delicious but a little simpler with a lot less rolling and cutting.
Instead of cutting out all of those cookies, just spread most of the dough into a baking pan, spread your favorite preserves on top, and then top with some cutouts made from the remaining dough. A little oven time, and you’re done!
For the filling, you can use just one flavor of jam or preserves, or use a couple of different varieties for a fun look and taste. If you’re like me, you already have so many kinds of preserves in your kitchen that finding some to use in these bars will be simple.
I have to say that these are now a permanent part of my holiday baking. I am seriously enamored with them, and I think you will be, too!
What You’ll Need
See the recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions. Here are some notes about the ingredients you’ll need to make these Linzer Bars.
- All-purpose flour – For the best results, measure by weight or use the spoon and sweep method. Learn more: How to Measure Flour
- Almonds – Grind these finely. Alternatively, you can use store-bought almond flour or almond meal. Just be sure to use the same amount by weight.
- Granulated sugar
- Unsalted butter – Let the butter soften at room temperature. Learn more: How to Soften Butter
- Cream cheese – Let the cream cheese soften, too. Full-fat cream cheese works best.
- Eggs – Set these out along with the butter and cream cheese.
- Vanilla extract
- Fruit preserves – Apricot and raspberry are commonly used in Linzer cookies, but other flavors like cherry and plum are nice, too, for something a little different. Pick flavors that work really well together and offer a nice color contrast to each other.
- Coarse sugar – If you like, sprinkle a bit of coarse sugar (like sanding sugar) over the top of the dough before baking for a little sparkle and an extra bite of sweetness.
How to Make Linzer Bars
You’ll just make one dough for the base and the cutouts, making these bars an easy yet impressive-looking dessert!
Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, ground almonds, and salt.
Combine the wet ingredients. Beat the sugar, butter, and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture is fluffy and lightened in color. Mix in the eggs one at a time. Then mix in the vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture. Mix just until combined.
Set aside the topping. Measure a cup of the dough, shape it into a ball, and flatten into a disc. Wrap well and refrigerate.
Make the bottom layer. Either lightly grease a half sheet pan or line it with parchment paper. Spread the remaining dough evenly in the pan. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 350°F.
Add the preserves. Spread the preserves over the chilled cookie dough, leaving about a 1/4-inch border around the outside. If you use different flavors of preserves, dollop them over the dough and then spread them so they just touch each other without overlapping.
Make the topping. Roll the chilled disc of dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and place over the top of the preserves. If you like, sprinkle coarse sugar over the top of the dough.
Bake. Place the pan in the heated oven, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. When the edges have browned it’s time to take the bars out of the oven.
Cool. Place the pan on a wire rack, and cool completely before cutting into bars.
Tips for Success
- Chill the dough. It will roll more easily and have a nicer texture.
- Customize! Use your favorite fruit preserves or jams to make these to suit your tastes. Stick with one flavor or go with two or more to create a variety.
- Have fun with the cutouts. I am generally not a cut-out cookie kind of girl, so my cookie cutters collection is more than a little slim. I most often use a couple of my biscuit cutters to make different size circles to go on top. To make them a little more festive, you could use snowflakes or whatever else strikes your fancy.
How to Store
Place the cookies in an airtight container. To keep them looking their best, place parchment paper or wax paper between layers of the cookies. They’ll be at their best within a day or two, but they should keep at room temperature up to 3 days or in the refrigerator up to 7 days.
I don’t recommend freezing these bars, as they tend to become soggy and overly soft.