If you’ve ever had a traditional Linzer cookie, then you know that it’s a deliciously sweet and soft vanilla shortbread cookie filled with a sweet spread.
Sometimes it’s chocolate, sometimes it’s fruit, and quite frankly, I actually prefer this raspberry Linzer cookie version over chocolate!
While they taste and even look like a holiday cookie you just bought from a bakery, these healthier Christmas cookies are secretly, and I do mean secretly because it’s quite undetectable, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, egg free, and can be made Paleo.
And they taste good?! This must be a joke.
But I promise it’s not!! 🙂
What does Linzer mean?
So funny story. Linzer cookies (or Helle Linzer Plaetzchen in German) actually come from the larger version, the Linzer torte, originating from a town in Austria called- you guessed it- Linz.
Linzer torte is a cake traditionally served around Christmas time in Austria. The cookies, known in Germany as Linzer Augen (Linzer eyes, as my mom translated), are basically the smaller, cookie sandwich version.
Traditionally, a Linzer cookie recipe is comprised of two shortbread cookies sandwiched together by a jam or fruit preserves, and dusted with powdered sugar.
While the taste of the Banana Diaries gluten free and vegan Linzer cookies is literally spot on to the traditional Linzer cookies found around this time of year, there are a few slight ingredient variations that make these cookies way more friendly to those with allergies!
All while making sure everyone can enjoy the flavors or the traditional counterparts!
What makes these cookies so special is that they are also refined sugar free, dairy free, egg free, can be grain free, AND are only made with a whopping 7 ingredients if you’re counting vanilla extract!
I mean, come on now?! How much better does it get?! These gluten free Linzer cookies are so simple yet taste and look incredibly elegant and delicious!
How to make the best vegan Linzer cookies
Let’s go over how to make Linzer cookies and assemble them! Please note that the full ingredients and instructions are listed in the recipe card below.
But first, the ingredients! For these vegan Christmas cookies, you’ll need:
- Gluten free 1-to-1 flour: I recommend using either Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthurs. And if you want to do Paleo as well, swap in cassava flour!
- Almond flour: this will give that traditional nutty taste! If you’re nut free, just swap in more gluten free flour!
- Vegan butter: again, if you’re nut free or doing Paleo, swap in coconut oil 🙂
- Maple syrup: this is crucial and please do not swap out! The maple syrup here acts like a binder where eggs normally would!
- Maple or coconut sugar: just a little extra for texture!
- Vanilla extract
- Homemade or store bought raspberry jam: my favorite thing is making my own homemade jam. All you need to do is boil raspberries with 1 tbsp of fresh water until they’re hot, mash them with a fork, stir in 1 tbsp or arrowroot powder or cornstarch, and then store in the fridge to cool!
Now that we have the ingredients down, let’s get to making these cookies! I promise, making vegan and gluten free Linzer cookies isn’t all that hard!
- First, beat together the softened vegan butter, maple syrup, coconut or maple sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Sift in the almond and gluten free flours, and mix in until it’s a nice and thick dough.
- Form the dough into a disk and wrap it with plastic wrap to be store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Okay, so the dough is made, but how do we actually use a Linzer cookie cutter? Well, first, you’re going to need to make sure you have one! I use this Linzer cookie cutter, and I swap in the star shape. Now, you’ll need to:
- Lightly dust a clean surface with gluten free flour, place the dough disk onto the surface and give it a nice dusting of flour, and then make sure your rolling pin is dusted. This ensures that there’s no sticky dough!
- Roll out the dough to be about 1/4″ thick. It doesn’t need to be extract, but just don’t go below 1/4″!
- Now for the Linzer cookie cutters. You’ll need to do an even amount of Linzer cookie bottoms to the tops so first figure out how many cookies you can fit on your rolled out dough. Cut half of that number with just the regular scalped Linzer cookie cutter (this will be the bottom of your cookie).
- Next, attach the star shape (or whichever shape you’ve chosen to be your eye of the Linzer cookie!) to the Wilton Linzer cookie cutter, and cut the remaining number of cookies (there should be one top to every bottom).
- Save the windows/eyes that you cut out if you want for extra decoration or use to roll out more dough!
- Repeat for the remaining dough, then place all of your cookies on a cookie sheet and put back into the fridge to chill!
Now you’ll let the cookies chill for at least another 30 minutes while the oven preheats to 350F. When the oven is ready, bake your cookies for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Then let cool for 10.
When you’re ready to assemble your vegan Linzer cookies, simply take a bottom cookies and turn it over, spread about 1 tsp of jam on top, and lightly press the top Linzer cookies onto the jam side.
Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar!
Frequently Christmas Cookie Questions:
Now we know how to make one of the best vegan Christmas cookies out there. Let’s go over some common Christmas and holiday cookie questions!
How do you store Christmas Linzer Cookies?
This one is simple! I recommend storing these traditional Linzer cookies in the fridge. You can use either in a tin or lightly covered with plastic wrap on a plate (though the tin is preferable).
Because these cookies are egg free, they get soft when covered and left at room temperature. I mean, most cookies do!
If you’re serving them right away, you can leave them uncovered and on the table. If you’re waiting until the next day, best to keep them in the fridge!
What is the best way to freeze fresh baked cookies?
I always default to my mom because she is the Christmas cookie storing queen. Growing up, my sister and I would always go to her friend’s cookie exchanges and come home with boat loads of cookies. So my mom was the expert at making sure we didn’t eat them all in one sitting and could enjoy them all season long!
The best way to freeze fresh baked cookies is putting them in a cookie tin, covering them, and then freezing them!
If there are some jam cookies in there, like these, you can place a piece of wax paper between each layer to make sure the cookies don’t stick together.
Do Linzer cookies need to be refrigerated before baking?
Short answer: YES.
Please please please do not skip the chilling step! That’s the most crucial part to making vegan and gluten free shortbread cookies. You can also stick them into the freezer if you’re short on time.
But if you don’t chill them, and chill them for the directed amount of time. However, make sure to chill a bit longer if your fridge is above 35F. This can happen if your fridge is over crowded, so I’m saying this now because I’ve gotten the comments in the past! Your cookies will end up spreading and most definitely not in traditional Linzer cookie form.
So please do yourself and me a favor, and chill your cookies haha! It’s worth the wait, I promise!
Do I have to fill these vegan Linzer cookies with only raspberry jam?
Of course not! Traditionally, yes, Linzer cookies are made with raspberry jam. But if raspberry ain’t your jam, switch it up!
You know me, I’m a bit of a rule breaker myself (trust me, life is way more fun that way!), so fill these gluten free vegan Linzer cookies with whatever spread makes you happiest!
I hope you love these vegan Christmas cookies as much as I do! Seriously, they huge hit across chocolate lovers and non chocolate lovers, plant based eaters and more traditional cookie lovers, and gluten free AND gluten eaters alike!
I mean, if there’s a cookie to please ’em all, it’s this one! Plus, Linzer cookies are just so much fun to make!
If you make these cookies, let me know down below in the comments section and give them a rating so that others may find them.
Happy Linzer cookie baking!
More vegan Christmas cookies you’ll love
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Vegan Linzer cookies made with a simple gluten free almond shortbread cookie and filled with a homemade raspberry jam! The most elegant and delicious healthy holiday cookie!
- 1 1/2 cups gluten free 1-to-1 flour or cassava flour
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 cup vegan butter, softened but still cold
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut or maple sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
- 8 ounces homemade raspberry jam
- Beat together the vegan butter, maple syrup, coconut or maple sugar, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer until smooth.
- Sift in the cassava flour and almond flour, and fold the flours into the whipped wet ingredients until it’s a thick dough.
- Place the dough into a piece of plastic wrap and form it into a disk. Wrap it and place the dough into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and dust a clean surface with gluten free flour, as well as the dough and the rolling pin. Roll out the dough until it’s about 1/4 of an inch thick.
- Use a Linzer cookie cutter and cut each cookie. Make sure that for ever bottom half of the cookie, you also have a top (with a shape in it- I chose a star, but you can use whichever!).
- Continue to cut cookies with the cookie cutters until all the dough is used. Then chill the cookies on a cookie sheet in the fridge again for 30 minutes.
- While the cookies are chilling, preheat the oven to 350F.
- When the oven is ready, place the cookie sheet into the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden.
- Remove and let the cookies cool before creating a full Linzer cookie.
- When the cookies are cool, place about 1 tsp of jam in the middle of the bottom cookie, then lightly press the top Linzer cookie half on top. Repeat for the remaining cookies.
- Dust with powdered sugar or lightly with coconut flour to reduce sugar.
Keywords: vegan Linzer cookies, gluten free Linzer cookies, healthy Linzer cookies