Hazelnut and Key Lime Linzer Cookies

January 31, 2021marissamakes
Linzer Cookies

Prep time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves: 15 sandwich cookies

Sometimes you just nail it. These cookies have the perfect texture with the right amount of sweetness and crumble, paired with a zingy Key Lime curd filling. It’s the perfect twist on a classic Linzer cookie. 

These cookies are perfect for enjoying at home for the holidays, or for dropping off for your family and loved ones. You can also switch up the fillings and cut-out window designs to keep them seasonal and in rotation all year round.

Linzer Cookies
Linzer Cookies with Hazelnut and Key Lime

This sandwich cookie is based on the traditional Linzer cookie, which is normally made with a raspberry jam filling.

Here, you’ll learn how to make a key lime curd, but if you can’t find key limes where you live, you can easily use regular limes, lemons, or any type of available citrus. They will be just as delicious, I promise.

Let’s get started!

We start out with making our curd, so that it has plenty of time to cool and set. You can make the curd several days in advance. It will keep for up to 2 weeks sealed well in the refrigerator.

You can also make the cookies in advance: it’s worth noting that they require at least 2 hours to chill after mixing the dough, and up to 24. They can be baked a day ahead. Just hold off on the sugar dusting until you are ready to assemble and serve.

You do need some special equipment for these cookies. I recommend using a 2″-2 1/4″ fluted cookie cutter, and 1/2″ decorative cutters for the window pieces. If you don’t have a larger cutter, you could also use a glass, or something that is roughly 2″ in diameter.

Making the curd

Making a citrus curd may seem very daunting, but it is very simple. It’s actually one of the first things I learned to make in the dessert world! This recipe includes gelatin, which is only to help stabilize the curd within the cookie sandwich. It is not strictly necessary and can be omitted for dietary restrictions. Please be aware that your curd will set a bit more loose and may be a little bit more messy, but delicious nonetheless.

There are several different ways to make a curd. Many people recommend using a double boiler method, but I don’t find that to be necessary, and it can be intimidating if you have not used one before. You can get a perfectly silky smooth curd without any extra bowls! Here are a few tips to help you if it is your first time making a curd:

Tips for making the perfect lime curd

  • Get your mise en place ready ahead of time! Mise en place means “setting up”– it is very helpful with things like curd that tend to move quickly once the get going, to have all of your recipe elements laid out and ready to go, so you are not searching for anything at an inopportune time.
  • Dissolve your sugar and salt well in the lime juice. Let the mixture thoroughly heat up before you add your eggs.
  • Whisk your eggs WELL! Whisk like you’ve never whisked before! This minimizes the risk of any lumpy areas of scrambled egg. And speaking of whisking….
  • Make sure to whisk constantly and confidently once you add the eggs to the hot juice and sugar. Keep an eye on the edges of the pot, because that is where things start to burn quickly. Pour in the eggs slowly so they don’t scramble.
  • If you do end up with a couple scrambled eggs, that’s okay! Just make sure to take good care when passing your finished curd through the sieve at the end. Scrambled eggs who?! Not here! No one will ever know!
  • After adding the eggs, once it starts to thicken, it will thicken very quickly. If you can pass your finger through the curd on the back of a wooden spoon and it leaves a clean line, it’s ready to go!
  • When in doubt, cook over a low heat. You can always cook your curd for longer, but you can’t take it back if it cooks too fast and burns.
  • When adding in the butter, make sure all lumps are gone before stirring in the gelatin.

The butteriest cookies ever

Linzer cookies traditionally contain some type of nut flour. For these, I decided to use Hazelnuts to pair with the tartness of the lime. Toasting them before grinding gives them an extra depth of flavor that really compliments the sharp taste of the curd.

We start off the base of our cookie dough with creaming together the butter and sugar, then incorporating wet ingredients. Then we slowly add in our dry ingredients, being very careful not to over mix the dough.

Then, we divide the dough into two disks, wrap them in cling wrap or your favorite cling-wrap alternative, and let it hang out in the fridge for 2-24 hours to let the butter firm up.

The trick for any cookie dough that has a high percentage of butter is to keep it very cold. As long as this dough is properly chilled, you will not need extra flour for rolling it out, which can change the final texture of the cookie. Over-handling will also change the texture of the cookieou will end up with a tougher cookie that doesn’t have the signature delicate butteriness of a Linzer.

A few tips

My trick for not over-handling these cookies, which require a fair amount of cutting out, is to roll out the dough on the piece of parchment paper it will be baked on, and to cut out the cookie shapes without removing it from the paper. This way, the dough gets minimally handled and you can just slide the parchment onto your baking sheet when you’re ready to bake! Easy as that.

If at any point the dough starts feeling greasy, sticky, or too soft, this is a sign that your butter is melting. Pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so to firm it back up before working with it again.

Are you ready to make the most fun and festive cookies you’ve ever tried? Let’s give it a go!

If you love this recipe, be sure to share it, and tag me on instagram so I can see your bakes, and leave a comment below!

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  • Prep time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Total time: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Serves: 15 sandwich cookies

A new and festive take on a traditional cookie


The Cookies

  • 2/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, 2 sticks, room temperature
  • 1 egg, large, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar, for dusting
  • 1 recipe lime curd

Lime Curd

  • 3 whole eggs, whisked well
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice, can substitute regular lime or lemon juice
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime zest
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1 stick, cut into cubes
  • 1 packet gelatin


Lime Curd Method

  • 1)

    In a small bowl, thoroughly combine 1 packet of gelatin with about ⅓ cup hot water. Stir thoroughly until dissolved and set aside.


  • 2)

    Combine lime juice, sugar, and salt in a medium pot over medium heat. Whisk until sugar is completely dissolved. While whisking constantly, add very well whisked eggs slowly. Keep stirring so that the eggs do not burn on the edges of the pot or start to scramble. Once the mixture is well incorporated, keep stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thickened and coats the bak of the spoon. This usually only takes about 5-7 minutes– don’t worry if it doesn’t seem fully thickened– it will continue to set as it cools.

  • 3)

    Turn heat to low and add in your pieces of butter, stirring until melted and well incorporated. Add in your gelatin mixture, taking great care to incorporate evenly, and do not allow it to burn on the edges of the pot. Once thoroughly combined, remove from heat. You should notice the mixture thickening up.

  • 4)

    Strain the curd through a fine sieve into a bowl, and place into the fridge cool and set further. Once the curd is no longer hot (it doesn’t need to be completely cool), transfer to piping bag or a squeeze bottle to fill your cookies, or you can simply spoon it on.

Cookie Method

  • 1)

    Toast the hazelnuts in a shallow baking pan until fragrant and skins begin to loosen. Remove from heat, and then rub the hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel to remove most of the skins. Allow to cool to room temperature.

  • 2)

    Combine flour, spices, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside. Combine nuts and ¼ cup of brown sugar in a blender or food processor and pulse until fine, but be careful not to over grind or you will get hazelnut butter. The mixture should resemble coarse sand.

  • 3)

    Cream together the butter and remaining ¼ cup of brown sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or an electric hand mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the nut mixture and mix on medium speed until combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture a little bit at a time, mixing thoroughly between additions, until just combined.

  • 4)

    With lightly floured hands, form dough into 2 balls and flatten each into a disk. Wrap the disks in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

  • 5)

    When the dough is thoroughly chilled and you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F with the rack in the center position. Roll out 1 disk of dough until ⅛” thick on a piece of parchment paper– as long as the dough remains cold, you should not need to use flour, but you can use a light dusting if you find the dough to be sticky. If at any point the dough is getting too soft to work with, place it back in the fridge for 10-15 mins to firm back up before proceeding. Cut out as many cookies as possible using the larger fluted cutter (I cut about 15), remove the scraps, and transfer the sheet of parchment with the cookies to a baking sheet, with the cookies arranged 1″ apart. These will be the bases for the Linzer cookies.

  • 6)

    Chill the cookie bases in the fridge for 10 mins, and bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly brown on the bottoms only. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • 7)

    While your cookie bases are baking, roll out the second disk in the same manner as the first on a piece of parchment, and repeat the cutting method with the 2″ cutter, making sure to cut the same number of cookies as the base batch. Using your decorative ½” cutters, remove the centers of each cookie, and transfer the parchment to a baking sheet. These are the window tops for the Linzer cookies. Chill and bake in the same manner as the base cookies.

  • 8)

    Re-roll any scraps with as little handling as possible, and make more even batches of base and window cookies.

  • 9)

    Once both batches of cookie pieces are completely cool, sift powdered sugar over the window cookie tops.

  • 10)

    Fill the cookie bases with approximately 1 tablespoon of set lime curd, and carefully sandwich the window and base pieces together. Add a sprinkling of lime zest for extra festive color, and enjoy.


This recipe includes gelatin, which is only to help stabilize the curd within the cookie sandwich. It is not strictly necessary and can be omitted for dietary restrictions, but please be aware that your curd will set a bit more loose and may be a little bit more messy, but delicious nonetheless.

Cookies can be made a day in advance– simply store in an airtight container and do not add the powdered sugar until ready to fill.

Any leftover lime curd can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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