12/20/2010 02:20 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Gluten Free Cookies: Linzer Stars

Making a gluten-free Linzer cookie is easy. You can use a basic flour mix, which does the job well with a few added grains. I like to use almond flour for this recipe, which lends a lovely crumb to the cookies.

I use star-shaped cutters for my Linzer cookies. These little stained glass-looking cookies make me grin right down to a subatomic level, and just thinking about eating them later makes me giggle. You can (and should) try making them in a variety of sizes and shapes. Then comes back and show me what you've created.

While the traditional jam flavor used for Linzer cookies is red or black currant, you can use any kind of jam for these cookies. For the ones in the photograph I used a very special jar of jam that I received from Blue Chair Fruit Company, an artisan jam operation in Oakland, California. Rachel gifted me with this particularly enticing flavor: Black Plum Jam with Candied Citrus & Bay. Experiment with your Linzer cookies, trying jams beyond the usual suspects of strawberry, raspberry, and boysenberry. I actually took a few Linzer shells and made a chocolate peanut butter Linzer cookie. Was it traditional? No way. Was it freaking delicious? You have no idea.


A note on moving gluten-free cookie dough
Anyone who's ever made cookie-cutter cookies knows that it's tough to move the dough once it's been cut into shapes. Gluten-free dough is even harder to work with. Here's a solution: roll your dough out onto two pieces of parchment, cut out your shapes with cookie cutters, remove the excess dough to be re-rolled, and then cut the parchment around the cookies with a pair of scissors. The cookies can then be moved without contorting into weird shapes, and since they're on parchment, they won't stick to the cookie sheet. You can even move the baked cookies with the parchment, leaving them on the paper until they're completely cooled and not likely to bend or break.


Gluten Free Linzer Recipe
Makes 2 dozen cookies

1. Preheat oven to 300°. Spread nut flour into a thin layer on a cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes, giving it a good stir halfway through to make sure the flour browns evenly.

2. With a stand mixer, beat shortening, powdered sugar, and xanthan gum until well mixed. Add egg yolks and vanilla, mixing until well incorporated.

3. Add gluten free flour mix, sweet rice flour, nut flour, cinnamon, and salt. Beat until you've got a very smooth, tender dough. Roll out between two pieces of parchment until it is 1/2-inch thick and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. While still on the parchment, cut the dough with cookie cutters. Remove the excess dough from between the cookies and cut the parchment around the cookies with scissors. Carefully move the cookies with their attached parchment to a cookie sheet. Use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the centers of half of the cookies on the baking sheet - you will be sandwiching two cookies together and there will be a small cut out in the top cookie so you can see the jam underneath. Gently remove the inner shape with the tip of a small knife to keep from damaging the outer cookie.

5. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to keep the cookies chilled. Repeat until you've used up all the dough.

6. Once all the dough has been cut with cookie cutters and the shapes are arranged on a baking sheet, place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325° while they are chilling.

7. Bake cookies for 14 minutes, until they are very lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes before moving the cookies, with their attached piece of parchment, to a cooling rack. Be careful - Linzers are delicate and will break if banged around. Allow to cool fully before proceeding.

Assembling Your Linzer Cookies
1. In a small saucepan, heat jam over a low heat to thicken it a bit. Remove any lumps from the jam and allow to cool.

2. Place the cookies with the cutouts in the middle onto a wire rack and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

3. Scoop a 1/2 teaspoon of jam onto the each of the cookies that does not have a cutout in the middle. Gently spread the jam around to the outer edges of the cookie and place the cut out cookie on top, gently sandwiching them together and making sure not to smudge the powdered sugar. Using a small spoon, dab a little more jam into the cut out "window."