Linzer thumbprints are a cookie version of the dessert called Linzertorte originating from the City of Linz in Austria. The dessert is a crusted tart with a fruit jam filling with a lattice crust on the top of the tart.
A Christmas Tradition
In German, Austrian, Hungarian, and Swiss cultures it is tradition to eat the tart or cookies at Christmas time. The German name for the cookie version is Linzer Augen which directly translates to Linzer eyes.
The History behind the Linzertorte
It is alleged that the dessert recipe dates as far back as 1653. During the 1850s, an Austrian traveler introduced the Linzertorte to the United States starting in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. American bakeries then took the dessert recipe and created Linzer cookies, also known as thumbprints.
The basic ingredients of the Linzer cookie recipe include flour, baking butter, egg yolks, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon, flaked nuts such as almonds, and seedless fruit jam like strawberry or apricot. Below, is a Linzer thumbprint version recipe.
300g x flour
Pinch of salt
200g x cold butter, cubed
110g x icing sugar, plus extra for light dusting
5ml x teaspoon vanilla extract
2 x egg yolks
200g seedless fruit jam (any flavor you prefer)
Toss the flour and salt together on your work surface. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips. When there are only little shreds of butter remaining, make a dent in the center of the flour and put the icing sugar, vanilla extract and egg yolks into the center. Using a fork, mix the egg yolks with the icing sugar, making a thick paste in the center of the flour. Bring all the ingredients together with your hands and knead until smooth dough is formed. Cut the dough in half, shape into disks, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The dough should be cold when you roll it out.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Roll the dough into 1-inch sized balls, and place on a parchment-lined baking tray and make a dent in the middle of each cookie with the floured end of a wooden spoon handle. Slowly warm the jam until it gets runny and spoon jam into the dents. Bake for 8-10 minutes till brown. Remove from the oven and pull the parchment paper with the cookies off the tray and onto a countertop to cool. Dust lightly with icing sugar.
Now, when Christmas time comes around you have a special treat prepared and baked for all your family and guests as well as when Santa pays you a sneaky visit on Christmas Eve. These delicious thumbprints are also used on several other holidays in America. If they taste so heavenly, that definitely shouldn’t stop you from serving them at any other special occasion like Mother’s Day or even on Thanksgiving Day. Spoil your family members with Linzer thumbprints!