All About Linzer Tortes: The Austrian Cookies
Image Credit: Pixabay, These heart-shaped linzer cookies remind us of love and happiness.

The holiday season may be long due since we have just entered the second month of 2022 but what drew our attention towards sweetmeats now was the Valentine’s Day celebrations. The day of love, as they call it, just passed by and we were covered in heaps of sugary treats all over social media. That’s when the heart-shaped linzer cookies showed up. What caught the eye the most was the pop of colour in the center of the cookie that was nothing but a cutout of a heart. 

Curiosity led us to find out that these cookies are actually of Austrian origin. Originating from a small town called Linz in Austria, the cookies were initially baked as tarts. The mention of these tarts was first found in Countess Anna Margherita Sagramosa’s cookbook in the year 1653. The pie-shaped dessert had a lattice work on top while the preserves or fruit jam were found below the crust. The basic pie dough was used to make what were called the Linzer tortes. The additional element was the almond flour which lent the pie a rich and buttery crust. 

The Birth Of Linzer Cookies 

Johann Konrad Vogel was well-known for mass producing the tarts across Austria which were later brought to America by the German travelers. The bakers moved on to create cookies after the mass appeal of tarts. Now, you may wonder what is the difference between the torte and the cookies? Well, the dough of eggs, flour, sugar and butter followed course along with some almond flour added to it. This dough was rolled out into sandwiches where two cookies were placed on top of one another. The top cookie was cutout so that the jam or preserve could peek through it. This was referred to as the Linzer eyes. 

Usually, the shape of the cookies was circular but they could also be star or heart-shaped. Similar to the tarts, the Linzer cookies in Austria were also filled with black currant preserves. It was only when the cookies were introduced to America that raspberry jam replaced the black currant filling. The cookies were dusted off with powdered sugar after baking. 

You would also find lingonberry or hazelnut spread in the middle of the cutout of the cookie sandwich in America. These became a holiday tradition, wherein people would bake and eat the Linzer cookies during Christmas across European countries.