At least a dozen gluten-free Linzer heart cookies are displayed as well as small heart cookies

Linzer hearts are an Austrian favourite are just as delicious & buttery made with gluten-free ingredients. Perfect for Christmas & Valentine’s Day!

Why are they called Linzer?

These gorgeous, gluten-free biscuits known as Linzeraugen in Austria, are delicate, buttery and refreshing with jam sandwiched between two hazelnut shortbread biscuits. The name Linzer means that it came from the city, Linz, the capital of Upper Austria, and Augen means eyes in German. Traditionally, the biscuits have three holes, representing the eyes on the biscuit.

Different eye shapes:

Besides heart shapes for the eyes on the biscuits, change the eye shape for a Christmas theme using stars. 

What jam is used?

They are filled with a variety of jams, mainly apricot, one of Austria’s favourite and indigenous jams. For Valentine’s Day, many Austrian bakeries will switch to a heart-shaped biscuit filled with either red currant jam (Rote Ribisel) or raspberry jam.

What nuts are used?

Ground hazelnuts give these biscuits a unique flavour, but feel free to use ground almonds, walnuts or pecans instead. Removing the skins gives the shortbread biscuit a smoother texture. Although, if you like the grittiness, leave them on. I have explained in my recipe how to easily remove the hazelnut skins.

Gluten-Free Linzer Hearts

  • 130g blanched hazelnuts or almonds, prepared or homemade
  • 2 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 300g store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum or 1 teaspoon psyllium husk powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 230g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest, freshly grated
  • 4 tablespoons red currant jam or raspberry jam
  • 3-4 tablespoons icing sugar, for sprinkling
  • Tapioca flour, for dusting
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Resting time: 1 hour
  • Baking time: 15 minutes

1. Blanch either the hazelnuts or almonds by boiling them in water with 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda for 3 minutes.

2. Plunge the drained nuts into a bowl of iced water and remove the skins by rubbing the nuts in a tea towel.

3. Allow to dry on a paper towel before crushing the nuts finely.

4. Whisk the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum/psyllium husk, cinnamon and salt together.

5. Beat the butter and sugar together for 3 minutes until light and creamy.

6. Add the egg yolks one at a time.

7. Add the vanilla and lemon zest, beat well for 2 minutes.
8. Fold in the flour mixture and nuts gently.

9. Form the mixture into a disc and wrap it in plastic.

10. Leave to rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

11. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F.

12. Between two sheets of baking paper, lightly dust some tapioca flour on it and roll out the dough to ½ cm thick.

13. Cut out 5cm-circle shapes, plus cut out a small heart shape in the centre of half of the shapes. If you would like to bake small hearts, place the small hearts onto another baking tray. Otherwise, roll out the excess dough and cut out more circles to make more Linzer biscuits.

14. Bake the circle shapes first for 15 minutes rotating them half-way through baking. Don’t worry if they appear slightly golden. It is important to thoroughly cook these biscuits.

15. Allow to cool on the trays for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool further.

16. If you are making the small heart biscuits, bake these on a separate tray for 8 minutes only, or until golden.

17. Once all the biscuits are baked and cooled, start assembling them by sandwiching the jam between one round biscuit and one round heart cut-out biscuit.

18. Dust each biscuit with icing sugar, including the small hearts.

Makes 40 (5cm) round sandwiched biscuits, plus plenty of small heart-shape biscuits
Best eaten on the day of baking. Keeps for 2 days.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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