Do you ask which kind of Christmas cookies is most common in the Czech Republic? Here is your answer: linecké cukroví, aka Linzer cookies!
What Is Linecké Cukroví?
Shortbread Linzer cookies are small bite-sized cookies baked from the butter-based dough. Two pieces are smeared with a sharp jam and lightly pressed together.
Linecké cukroví (Linzer cookies in English) is a prevalent Christmas cookie in the Czech Republic.
Linecké cukroví is based on shortbread pastry, and, as such, you’ll need a lot of unsalted butter (plus some all-purpose flour).
You'll also need vanilla and grated lemon zest. Vanilla is a spice that is closely associated with Czech Christmas cookies.
The lemon zest in this recipe is grated freshly from an organic lemon. Beware: use only the yellow (upper) part of the zest. The white part located underneath is bitter.
Ingredients for Linzer cookies:
- unsalted butter
- all-purpose flour
- powdered sugar
- lemon zest
- egg yolk
- pinch of salt
- savory jam (e. g., Red currant jam)
Making Linzer Cookies
I personally prepare the dough for homemade linecké cukroví by hand on a kitchen worktop, without using a kitchen mixer.
You’ll need a large bowl which fits all the ingredients.
The shortcrust pastry needs to be prepared quickly from refrigerated ingredients, so better forget long kneading.
Read also: Czech Christmas Folk Traditions
This is the order for making the Linzer dough - linecké těsto:
- Put the flour into the bowl.
- Add egg yolks, vanilla, sugar, a pinch of salt, lemon zest, powdered sugar.
- Cut the cold butter.
- Knead quickly so soft dough forms.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and leave it in a fridge for a night (or at least 2 hours).
How to Roll The Dough Out (And Not Get Crazy)
Before you bake, you may want to know that rolling the Linzer cookie dough out might be tricky.
When you take the dough out of the fridge, it’s going to be basically solid.
You have to cut off an amount of dough that you want to work on and quickly knead it with your hands, so the butter (most dough) softens, and the dough will be easier to roll out.
But if the dough is too soft, it won’t hold its shape properly and will be impossible to transfer to the baking tray.
Some bakers advise sprinkling flour over your working surface. However, the dough will absorb the flour, and the resulting cookies will be redundantly hard.
I’m not too fond of this method. I prefer two parchment sheets, between which you roll the dough out.
The parchment sheets tighten when rolling the dough out, so you need to peel the paper off and reapply it every so often.
This is done to release the built-up tension in the parchments. After rolling the dough out, place it on a cutting board and refrigerate it for 10 minutes.
This way, it will be easy to cut the shapes out from the dough and transfer them to the baking tray.
Another good method is to dust the worktop with powdered sugar. Don´t use too much; dough will get a bit sweeter but won´t get as tough as if you used flour.
Linzer Cookie Cutters
Every Czech baker has their favorite cookie cutters. Very common shapes include stars, flowers, circles, and hearts.
Linecké cukroví is formed by two pieces held together with jam. The upper piece generally hosts a hole, through which you can see the jam applied to the lower piece.
Make sure to have the same amount of upper pieces with the punched hole and solid lower pieces.
My favorite cookie cutter for linecké is a rounded one with a little star in the middle. This shape resembles the core of an apple.
There is a nice old fashioned Christmas habbit in the Czech Republic:
During Christmas dinner, the father cuts an apple for each family member. When a shape of a regular little star appears inside, the person will be healthy for the whole next year.
Read also: What do Czechs eat at Christmas?
When to Bake Linzer Cookies?
In the Czech Republic, we bake linecké about 10 days before Christmas. There is a reason for it: Linecké cukroví will soften and get smoother in this period.
On the other hand, if you don’t use flour while rolling out the dough, the cookies will be tender at the moment when finished!
I personally bake the cookies just a few days before Christmas. The cookies are so good that we would eat them before Christmas if I baked in advance!
How to Store Linecké
Store the Linzer cookies in a plastic jar in a cold and dry place. If you want them to soften soon, add a cut apple into the jar.
There’s no problem with freezing the cookies if you have too many of them.
🍪 More Czech Christmas cookies:
- Vanilkové rohlíčky – crescent cookies
- Masarykovo cukroví – favorite Christmas cookies of TGM, the first president of the Czech Republic
- Vosí hnízda – non-baked cookies called beehive nests
Linecké cukroví – Czech Linzer Cookies
- 2 and ¾ cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 and ¼ stick (140 g) butter (unsalted)
- ½ cup (60 g) powdered sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- vanilla essence
- lemon zest
- pinch of salt
- sharp jam (e. g. red currant jam)
- powdered sugar (for dusting the top part of cookies)
- Sift the flour and the powdered sugar into a bowl.
- Add egg yolks, vanilla essence, lemon zest, a pinch of salt, and sliced butter.
- Knead all ingredients by hand until you have a smooth dough. Don´t overknead it!
- Cover the dough with plastic food wrap and let it rest in a fridge for at least 2 hours (ideally overnight).
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator and split it into 2-3 pieces.
- Knead one piece of the dough until it softens and is more pliable.
- Roll the dough out either between two parchment papers, or you can dust the worktop with a little sifted powdered sugar and use it instead of parchment papers of flour. The resultant dough should be about ¼ inches thick.
- Cut the Linzer cookies out into your favorite shape.
- Transfer them carefully with an angled spatula baking tray lined with parchment paper. Ensure you have the same amount of upper pieces with a cutout and solid lower pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 340 °F (170 °C).
- Insert the baking tray into the oven, and bake until the cookies turn a light golden brown around the edges. It takes just a moment to bake the cookies (anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes), so take care not to burn them.
- Let the finished cookies cool down for a minute on the tray, then transfer them to the kitchen worktop, where they fully cool down.
- Place the upper pieces with a hole in the middle next to each other and dust them with powdered sugar.
- Spread the jam over the lower pieces, cover them carefully with the upper pieces, and you’re done!
DISCLAIMER: Because I come from Central Europe, my recipes are based on metric units such as grams or milliliters. Check out how I convert metric units to the U.S. system:Conversion chart