By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
These vegan Linzer cookies with prune jam filling taste just as good as the original version. Enjoy a batch of these Linzer torte cookies today!
I love a buttery Linzer cookie just as much as the next person. But many of my friends and relatives are vegan or dairy free. And as an inclusive plant-based registered dietitian nutritionist, I always want to do my best to meet everybody’s dietary needs. Thus, I set out to create a vegan Linzer cookie that tastes just as good as the original version. And I have to say: I succeeded!
Thank you to Sunsweet for sponsoring this blog post. All opinions are my own, as always.
Origin of Linzer cookies
Aka German Spitzbuben cookies, Linzer cookies stem from the city Linz in Austria. The cookies taste similar to the famed Linzertorte—but instead of being baked into a tarte, the cookies form a “sandwich,” with fruit preserves or jam in the center.
Traditionally, the Linzer cookie features a small cutout in the center of the top cookie. This cutout can be a circle, a heart, or a Christmas shape such as a Christmas tree or ornament.
Of course, traditional Linzer cookies contain butter and eggs—neither of which are vegan. Instead of these ingredients, this vegan Linzer cookie recipe utilizes vegan butter and oat milk, both of which are fit for a vegan diet.
I made a prune jam as a filling for these cookies. In Eastern Europe, where my ancestors are from, using prunes and plums in desserts is a pretty common practice.
There’s kolaczki from Poland, a flaky cream cheese cookie with prune filling. Then there’s Zwetschgenröster, a plum compote, from Austria, as well as Kaiserschmarrn, a fluffy shredded pancake dusted with sugar and topped with plum compote. I have to say, all these desserts sound incredible. But today, we’re focusing on prune-filled Linzer cookies.
Here are the ingredients I used to make these vegan cookies:
- Prunes: I love cooking with prunes, and the center of these sandwich cookies is filled with prune jam made from prunes and prune juice. Many people don’t know about all the magic you can make with the dried fruit, from energy bars to brownies. Not only are prunes a fantastic naturally sweet ingredient, they boast bone-helping properties. In fact, research in Osteoporosis International found that eating five prunes a day may help prevent bone loss when eaten daily! Prunes are also helpful for heart health—research in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that a daily prune habit can improve risk factors for heart disease in healthy, postmenopausal women.
- Prune juice: Along with prunes, I used prune juice to naturally sweeten the prune jam. I love cooking with 100 percent prune juice because it’s a fantastic way to add sweetness to recipes without using any added sugar. Plus, prune juice is pretty darn tasty!
- All-purpose flour: What’s a cookie without flour? Even though these Linzer cookies contain all-purpose flour, you can easily swap this out for all-purpose or one-to-one gluten-free flour if needed.
- Almond flour: The almond flour gives the vegan Linzer tart cookies a slightly nutty taste and also provides satiating protein and fiber.
- Vegan stick butter: You might be surprised at how well plant-based margarine works as an alternative for traditional butter in this recipe!
- Vegan cane sugar: It’s a little-known fact that traditional cane sugar may contain bone char, which is most definitely not vegan. That’s why it’s important to shop for vegan cane sugar!
- Oat milk: I love oat milk because it has a creamy texture. If you follow a gluten-free diet, shop for an oat milk that is gluten free. Don’t have any oat milk on hand? Other vegan milks such as soy or almond milk will also work.
- Almond and vanilla extracts: I love cooking with extracts because they add a sweet taste without any added sugar! The almond extract also contributes to the dessert’s nutty undertones.
- Vegan powdered sugar: Just as with cane sugar, it’s important to shop for a vegan confectioner’s sugar if you’re following a vegan diet.
How to make vegan Linzer cookies
Traditionally, Linzer cookies contain butter and eggs—and sometimes milk. None of these ingredients are vegan. Luckily, I’m no novice to vegan baking, so I set out to create these vegan Linzer cookies.
I’m honestly really proud of myself for creating them. They’re pretty, tasty, and healthier than the traditional Linzer cookie. Even though I used vegan butter here, the ingredient still contains fat and calories.
Many Linzer cookie recipes call for a cup of butter, and this recipe uses just ¾ cup of vegan butter. Those same traditional Linzer cookie recipes often have a cup or more of sugar, plus sugar-sweetened jam. And this recipe contains just ¾ cup of cane sugar (plus a little powdered sugar) and jam with no added sugar at all—the jam is naturally sweetened with prune juice!
You might think that these vegan cookies are lacking in taste, but I guarantee you that’s not the case at all. They even passed my husband’s taste test—and he’s pretty picky when it comes to desserts!
Making homemade vegan Linzer cookies might seem incredibly overwhelming. While the process definitely isn’t quick, it’s not difficult. Let’s go over the steps. The best part? Your family and friends will be so impressed with your baking abilities when they see these beautiful cookies!
While many Linzer cookie recipes call for jarred jam, this recipe allows you to make your own jam that doesn’t contain any added sugar. At all. How cool is that? I promise you, the process is super simple. First, you’ll want to pop your prunes into a food processor. Puree them for a minute.
Then combine the prunes with the prune juice in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. You’ll want to stir the mixture occasionally. Make sure to use a wooden spoon—if you’re cooking with a nonstick pan, metal on metal will scratch up your cookware!
After a few minutes, the mixture will begin to reduce and thicken. At this point, lower the heat slightly, then begin to stir frequently until the mixture forms a jelly-like consistency. Remove the jam from heat before it gets too thick, then set it aside.
Next comes the dough-making part! The first step involves combining the dry ingredients. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose and the almond flours with salt and baking powder. You can use a spoon for this.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the vegan butter and cane sugar. Make sure you allow the butter to soften! If you don’t have time for this, you can cut the butter into a few smaller pieces before placing it in the bowl. Using a hand mixer, set the speed to medium, and mix until creamy. Then add the oat milk, almond extract, and vanilla extract—and mix until well blended.
Next up, slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Mix until well combined and the mixture forms into a dough. Then you get to take a break! Cover the mixture with plastic wrap or parchment paper, and refrigerate for a minimum of 90 minutes. Colder dough is easier to work with when you’re cutting cookies, which is the next step.
When you’re ready to remove the dough from the fridge, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover three cookie sheets with parchment paper, and dust a work surface and rolling pin with flour.
It’s easier to cut cookies when the dough is pretty cold, which is why you’ll want to remove no more than half of the dough from the fridge. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough into about a slab that’s 1/8 to ¼ inches thick.
Then comes the super fun part! Using a small Linzer cookie cutter, cut out 24 cookie bases (without the shape cut-outs). Then cut out 24 cookie tops, with shape cut-outs. Place all the cookies on the parchment-lined cookie sheets.
Continue to lightly flour the work surface and rolling pin, as needed. Remove the second portion of dough from the fridge when needed, and place the rest of the cookies on the cookie sheets. Then place the cookie sheets in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cookies begin to slightly brown around the edges. Transfer to a cooling rack, and let them cool.
Once the cookies have cooled, spread prune jam onto each cookie base. Then top with a cookie that has a cut out, and gently press the cookies together to make a cookie sandwich. Finally, dust with powdered sugar before serving. I like to use a powdered sugar duster to allow the sugar to evenly spread.
Nutrition of these vegan Linzer cookies
These delicious vegan Linzer cookies have plenty to celebrate in terms of nutrition—in in particular, each cookie provides 2 grams of satiating protein, as well as 1 gram of filling fiber.
Here’s an overview of the nutrients you’ll get from a serving, including the daily values (DVs) per serving:
- Calories: 150
- Fat: 6 g (8% DV)
- Saturated fat: 2 g (10% DV)
- Carbs: 23 g (8% DV)
- Fiber: 1 g (4% DV)
- Sugar: 11 g
- Protein: 2 g (4% DV)
- Sodium: 75 mg (3% DV)
- Cholesterol: 0 g (0% DV)
Is this recipe vegan?
It absolutely is! The recipe contains vegan butter and oat milk, instead of traditional butter and milk. As well, it doesn’t contain any egg. Just make sure to shop for vegan cane and powdered sugar—as traditional versions may contain bone char. Alternatively, you may use beet sugar instead of cane sugar.
How can you make this recipe gluten-free?
The only ingredient in these vegan Linzer cookies that contains gluten is the all-purpose flour. As well, certain oat milks are not gluten free, as they are made with oats that may be cross contaminated. To make these cookies gluten free, simply swap out the flour for an all-purpose gluten-free flour, and check that the oat milk you’re using says that it’s gluten free.
What type of cookie cutters should you use?
You can use any Linzer cookie cutters that you like. Traditional shapes include circles and hearts. I used a Christmas cookie cutter set that contains a Christmas tree, ornaments, a bell, and a candy cane.
Do you need to refrigerate the dough before baking it?
Yes, you do! The dough will be very sticky and hard to work with if you do not refrigerate it before using. I recommend refrigerating the cookie dough in a covered bowl for a minimum of 90 minutes.
What other types of jam can you use as a filling?
I recommend sticking with prune jam because of the many health benefits it offers. But really, any jam or fruit preserves will do. You can use strawberry, apricot, blueberry, or even grape jam.
How do you store these Linzer cookies?
Place the cookies in an air-tight container, and store them at room temperature for up to a week. You may also freeze the cookies in an air-tight, freezer-safe container for up to three months.
More vegan cookie recipes
Enjoy these additional vegan cookie recipes!
I'd love to hear from you! Let me know if you make these vegan Linzer cookies
Vegan Linzer Cookies with Prune Jam Filling
Sat. Fat (grams)2
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