Cranberry-Almond Linzer Hearts

Linzer hearts
Linzer hearts

My dining room is covered with a thin layer of Pepto-pink sugar. To blame: the cotton candy machine we rented for the sake of making a hundred or so tiny cotton candy sticks for the 200-ish ladies I was in charge of feeding dessert to last night.

The theme was red (cotton candy is a shade of red, right?), which is why my fingernails are a particularly bright shade of fire engine right now. It looks from my vantage point as if my great aunt Noreen is doing the typing for me.

You won’t be surprised to hear I’m recovering from a sugar hangover. I made espresso brownies (baked on a rimmed baking sheet then cut into rounds, stuck on a stick and drizzled with white chocolate-which was really just the glue for sparkly red sugar-of course the cut-outs made for plenty of scraps), mini pavlova, and candy apples.

Operating the cotton candy machine (a dream of mine, really, has become reality for the low, low price of $70, thanks to Radar’s Rentals) was fun, if not a bit of a risk to the digits, but it essentially blows wisps of cotton candy directly into your face, right where your mouth is. And when you’re spinning and pulling out gobs of it at a time, it’s hard to not redirect some of it to your mouth that way either. Because really, it’s hard to not regress to childhood in the presence of a cotton candy machine that you’re the boss of and not attempt to eat it all, or fill the bathtub with it, or pile it all into a mountain and then jump on it as if it were a pillowy cloud of pink leaves.

Instead we filled little bags and wound small puffs around wooden coffee sticks for the cocktail party, made several cones for the neighbourhood kids (and yes, adults) and filled even more Halloween dollar-store bags to hand out next weekend. With the last of the pink sugar we made enough cotton candy to almost fill a garbage bag (can you imagine the cool auntie points I could score with that one?) to somehow put out on the coffee table during the hockey game tomorrow night.

But since cotton candy is pink, chocolate is brown and the pavlova relied on berries for their redness, I needed something more decidedly red that wasn’t as scary to maneuver in stylish evening/business wear as a candy apple. Linzer cookies are irresistibly pretty, and easy to make – all you need is a tiny cookie cutter to make a window to allow the jam to peek out. If you’re not transporting them, it looks nice (and snowy) to sprinkle the windowed cookies with icing sugar first, before placing them on top.

Traditionally Linzer cookies are spread with raspberry jam, but I didn’t have any, and cranberries are everywhere. I threw some in a pot with lots of sugar (to keep it from becoming cranberry sauce) and the juice of an orange, cooked it down and mashed it into jam. You could really use any kind.

Almond Linzer Cookies


October 23, 2009

  • Makes: Makes about 2 dozen cookies.


1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar -white or brown

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4-1/2 cup sliced almonds or hazelnuts, toasted

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

about 1/2 cup jam or jelly (any kind-it doesn't have to be red-apricot jam is pretty, too)


1Preheat oven to 350°F.

2In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer for a few minutes, until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another minute.

3Pulse the almonds in a food processor (or grind them with a mortar and pestle) until fairly finely ground. (If you don't have either, seal them in a ziplock baggie and bash them really well with whatever works.)

4Add the flour, nuts, baking powder and salt and stir just until the dough comes together. Gather it into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill for an hour (or freeze for up to a few months). When you're ready to bake, scatter some flour over the countertop and let the dough sit on the countertop for 10 minutes or so, until it's more malleable. Roll about 1/4" thick and cut into whatever shapes you like with a cookie cutter. If you want a window, cut smaller shapes out of the middle of half of them. This is easier to do once they are on the cookie sheet.

5Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10 minutes, or until pale golden (depending on the size and shape of the cookies); transfer to a wire rack to cool. Spread the solid cookies with jam and top with a second cookie.


About Julie

56 comments on “Cranberry-Almond Linzer Hearts

  1. Carolyn
    October 24, 2009 at 12:25 am

    Dinner last night was aboard a luxury cruise liner sailing on rough seas from Sicily to Sorento, Italy. It started off with a giant shrimp cocktail, followed by a most delicious hot and sour seafood soup, and because I’m getting so tired of lobster and giant scallops, prime rib. Dessert was a delicious passion fruit sorbet with 2 other chocolate treats.
    This morning I’m heading to a farm on the Amalfi coast for fresh mozzarella, olive oil and salami. It’s a tough life…. 🙂

  2. Donna
    October 24, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Dinner last night was two bean chili cooked in a slow cooker. Since my car made strange noises and was towed away,I got home late and the chili cooked 1 1/2 hours longer than called for. It was still OK. Recipe was from a Canadian Living Slow cooker cook book and was another way to use stewing beef.

  3. Kelley
    October 24, 2009 at 2:27 am

    Dinner tonight was Tomatillo Chicken Stew over brown rice from a recipe on the Simply Recipes website. I sped things up using store bought tomatillo sauce and using brown rice Minute Rice. I love President’s Choice brand tomatillo sauce. I use it all the time as a dip with tortilla chips, in burritos, and on grilled chicken sandwiches, etc. Everyone who tries it always asks what it is and where they can get it.

  4. Crystal
    October 24, 2009 at 2:29 am

    I’m sick so I had a big bowl of congee (chinese comfort food!) made from the last of my Thanksgiving turkey stock.

  5. Robin
    October 24, 2009 at 5:27 am

    Dinner last night was pork tenderloin stuffed with prunes, garlic and red peppers, served with polenta and roasted carrots. We were celebrating my sister’s birthday.

  6. Rebecca
    October 24, 2009 at 6:38 am

    Dinner last night was terragon chicken with pink-eyed peas and tatsoi. Yum! A filling one-pan meal. Not including salt, pepper and olive oil, it was almost a 5 ingredient meal. Chicken cutlets, tatsoi, pink-eyed peas, Dijon mustard, chicken stock and cream. It was so simple to make that it felt like less than 5 ingredients!

  7. supersu
    October 24, 2009 at 6:48 am

    I am on another crazy diet! called Game-On….you are basically playing against others and can ‘win’ by getting the most points, (and supposedly losing weight along the way. Every meal has to have protein/veg and good fat!

    So I had a beer, and cheese toast! (tough tough day at the office 🙁

    Lets just say I wasnt the winner of game on yesterday! ha ha ha

    Love-love-love the blog.
    su 🙂

  8. Rebecca
    October 24, 2009 at 7:10 am

    Dinner last night was curried ground turkey with yellow squash, sun dried tomatoes, and arugula. Very tasty!

  9. June
    October 24, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Dinner was “the mountains are pink, it’s time to drink” night. We had Southern Illinois BBQ Sandwiches (leftover pork roast, fried till crisp then piled on a grilled hamburger bun with mustard slaw and bbq sauce) along with a fabulous carmelized onion and blue cheese dip, two extra dry gin martini’s and two POM margaritas – all of which equals two mild hangovers, nothing some hair of the dog won’t cure later.

  10. mmac
    October 24, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Dinner last night was a sandwich at the airport (chicken, brie and spinach panini which was surprisingly good for airport food). But Julie, those Linzer hearts are GORGEOUS. Even cut out cookies fall into my “too much work” category, so cookies with double cut outs put you into cookie goddess territory. Or would, if you weren’t already residing there. And the cotton candy is adorable.

  11. Dorothy
    October 24, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Linzer cookies are the go-to cookie in this family for almost any occasion. The recipe I use has crushed pecans and graham wafer crumbs and those combined with the cinnamon make them delicious. The graham crumbs turn the cookies a tan shade, so I alwaya sprinkle the top cookie with icing sugar before I put the jam on. I make them for Valentine’s Day, weddings, showers and also for Christmas. When I do wedding cakes I sometimes make some and package them up as a treat for the bride and groom. My son once wooed a girl by making these cookies and giving them to her as a Valentine. By the way Compleat Cook has actual Linzer cookie cutters with removable inserts (a heart,circle diamond). I got one years ago at Winners and they are great.

  12. honeybee
    October 24, 2009 at 8:00 am

    i’ve been asked to make dinner for the family and have no clue what to make. HELP??!! i want to do something with vegetables or fish, no meat, i can look up the recipe but any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

  13. Christina
    October 24, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Well Julie, your post has sure got my wheels turning! My little C’s first birthday party is coming up (November 13th) and the the theme is Pink, cream and brown! I would LOVE to have Cotton Candy at the party, it would be a hit … something to think about for sure. Is it hard/time consuming to make? The Linzer cookies with more of a light pink jelly would be awesome! As you know, it’s my only girl so I am set on this being a very girly party as we have only experienced boy parties in this house. Not to mention this will be our last 1st birthday and I feel the boys 1st birthday parties were lacking so I kinda want to do this one up right! So many idea’s!
    Anyway, dinner last night … In the past month I inherited some old school 70’s style French Onion Soup bowls from my Mother in law so yesterday was my first attempt at French Onion Soup and it was awesome! This will definitely be a staple in our house! I made a double batch and froze half of it. In recent months I’ve heard lots of raving about the Costco frozen French Onion Soup so I thought I’d do my own version!

  14. Rachel
    October 24, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Well, it shames a bit to admit this, but I got home from school around 6:30 and found that my mother had ordered pizza. So I quickly pushed my plans for red lentil soup to tonight, and had that for dinner (I mean, it was right there!).

  15. Lauren
    October 24, 2009 at 8:35 am

    So cute! Those cookies are adorable & kudos to you making all that cotton candy =D.

  16. Elaine
    October 24, 2009 at 8:45 am

    I just discovered an awesome Asian market with unbelievable bargains on *fresh* seafood (this, in the Midwest, is a huge giant deal), so last night the hubs and I split a massive shark fillet and some wild rice/oyster mushroom soup. It was all just a little too rich when eaten together, to tell you the truth. But tasty.

  17. Tagyn
    October 24, 2009 at 9:12 am

    Planning an 8 year old costume party for tomorrow so dinner was lame, snow peas and a baked potato.
    I think you have the best job in the world when you get to play with cotton candy!!! The cookies look yummy and very time consuming.

  18. Janeen
    October 24, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Last night I made tomato and bocchini salad to start, seared salmon with lemon dill risotto and wilted spinach.

  19. SippitySup
    October 24, 2009 at 10:04 am

    I love the way you have those linzer hearts laid out! I could see that pattern as an upholstery material!

  20. Judy
    October 24, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Dinner last night was grilled steaks, baked potatoes with all the fixings, sauteed mushrooms and pea pods, a garden salad with crunchy, baby cucumbers, and red wine – lots of red wine. A TGIF dinner by candlelight. My boys love candlelight!

    I always wondered where you rent candy floss machines. Thanks. The minis look fabulous!

  21. Vivian
    October 24, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Pretty cookies! I think this will be the inaugural recipe for my brand spanking new KitchenAid (I’ve hankered after one for eons…Martha envy, I guess). How cool to rent a cotton candy machine, I never knew one could. Thanks for the great new 5-Ingredient cookbook, I’ll keep an eye out for it in the mail. Cheers!

  22. Mama JJ
    October 24, 2009 at 11:16 am

    I would love a box of those cookies—classy and cute, they are.

    Supper last night? HA! A sleepover for a bunch of ten-year-old boys, so we had: hamburgers, hotdogs, lots of fruits and raw veggies, whoopie pie cake, a pinata, s’mores, and then popcorn. Breakfast was buttermilk pancakes, sausage, and milk. In a nutshell: we are all in the midst of a sugar hangover, too. Not to mention, there wasn’t much sleep happening…

  23. robin
    October 24, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Julie… you amaze me. You are non-stop amazing. Your energy and ideas are forever inspirational to me. And yet last night for dinner I had cereal. But it was really good cereal…? Kashi Cinnamon Harvest. Totally recommend it.

  24. ladyloo
    October 24, 2009 at 11:33 am

    It’s been a slim cooking week – last night was dinner out (oh, if it had only been Peter’s!) – but I have some shredded rotisserie chicken in the freezer. So I think tonight will be either chicken posole from last month’s Real Simple before we head out to the football game.

  25. Erica B.
    October 24, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Dinner was potluck at the first of three baby showers in the next little while. A spinach & artichoke dip, beef stew, a salad I still need to get the recipe for that involved pomagranate seeds, and peanut butter chocolate cheesecake that reminded me of a reese’s peanut butter cup. YUM 🙂

  26. Jen T
    October 24, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Dinner last night was a bottle of water and a protein bar that gives you your protein/carbs and vitamins and minerals.

  27. robyn
    October 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Dinner last night was early – 3pm(ish) Quesadillas!

    Don’t the mini cotton candies stick together on the tray? They look so cute all bundled up together!

  28. Cheryl
    October 24, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    First time posting, but LOVING your blog! I am going back and reading all the old posts. So far I’m up to April 2008…made your banana bread this morning. My three year old ate her serving in an instant!

    Dinner last night was whole wheat rotini topped with roasted butternut squash that I sauteed in olive oil with garlic, rosemary and thyme. The whole thing was then topped with ricotta and parmesan. An old Martha recipe, but yummy!

  29. Kathy
    October 24, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Cotton candy–What a great idea!

    Dinner last nite was roast beef done in the pressure cooker, broccoli salad, harvard beets, mashed spuds and canned cherries for dessert.

  30. pauline
    October 24, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Thats so cool Julie. Ya know I am on the quest to loose weight so I had your roast tomato soup so good Julie, spaghetti squash with turkey spaghetti sauce.

  31. Kate
    October 24, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    I actually gasped when your site came up. Those linzer hearts are gorgeous!
    We had several sunny warm days followed by a 18* drop in temperatures. Butternut Sage soup, homemade grainy bread and a hunk of bleu cheese warmed the body and soul.
    Cotton candy machine – what fun!

  32. kate
    October 24, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Those cookies are beautiful! I love the picture of them. We had double chicken dumpling soup- with little chicken meatballs and gnocchi. Yum.

  33. Mary Ann
    October 24, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    I got home late last night and had to leave soon after to go see my brother perform in a bar, so last night’s dinner was pita and tzatziki eaten standing at the counter. Lunch was great though; I went to Vic’s in Westmount and had an organic chicken salad sandwich with big chunks of chicken, paprika mayo (I think) and dill served on a crusty sesame seed bun with a side of celery-root slaw. This was followed by the best brownie I’ve ever had- moist and so chocolatey with a hint of cinnamon and a dark chocolate ganache topping. I’ve been craving more ever since. Anyone in the Montreal area should check out Vic’s Market on Victoria just off Monkland; it’s worth the detour.

  34. Barb
    October 24, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    The cookies and brownies sound great but you can have all the cotton candy. Aren’t I generous? Dinner last night – Lemon chicken pasta. We were at a Mediterranian restaurant. Very good.

  35. Melanie
    October 24, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Sadly… KD and hot dogs… a 3 ingredient meal if you count the ketchup (minus the orange food coloring and fillers!)

  36. Angela
    October 24, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Salmon casserole. Can of salmon, WW macaroni noodles, cream of celery condensed soup and a handful of fz corn

  37. Natalie (Georgia)
    October 24, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Those cookies are gorgeous… an audible sigh escaped my lips when I saw them. I would love to receive them 🙂 We had a WONDERFUL meal tonight. A new friend from Argentina invited us over. The main course was beef stuffed with prunes… wonderful. However, the kids were present… so small naked bodies, runny noses, food flying through the air and jumping off couches provided the entertainment. Dinner parties much different 5 years ago 🙂

  38. Dani
    October 24, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Dinner will be old-fashioned pot roast with potatoes, carrots, onions, and cabbage.

    The cookies are definitely going on my holiday cookie list. Love the cotton candy, too!

  39. danzy
    October 24, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    tonight was bbq’d chicken breast smothered in smoked paprika and whole potatoes-topped the potatoes (as well as the beet, cabbage, carrot, pepper salad) with a plain yoghurt/VJ’s garam masala combo. dyn-no-mite! now my husband’s making me some bird’s eye custard pudding…he’s a keeper! love the look of those cookies Julie! will make some for christmas!

  40. jacquie
    October 24, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    yumm i love linzer tart cookies – those look great. never thought of renting a cotten candy machine for a party – cool idea.

  41. sue.d
    October 24, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    The cookies almost remind of when the Grinch’s heart was too small – except they’re way too beautiful and stylish!

    Dinner tonight was take-out pizza and apples. Not doing so well on the cooking these past few days. At least the apples are local and magnificent right now – almost balances things out.

  42. Lesli Christianson-Kellow
    October 24, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    I love those little cotton candy sticks – anything mini is soooooo cute!

    Dinner last night was pizza – discovered that naan bread is a perfect base for quick broiled pizzas – add some mushrooms, carmelized onions, kalamata olives and feta – and you end up with pizza with a surprisingly great texture & taste.

  43. linda
    October 24, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Dinner tonight was leftover roast beef, whipped mashed potatoes, and carrot, raisin and pineapple salad.

    We bought our youngest daughter a battery operated candy floss machine when she was about 10. Although she was only supposed to use it in the kitchen (yes, this type makes a mess too!), she couldn’t resist the temptation and was spinning candy floss for herself in her bedroom closet. That was after her teeth were brushed and she was supposed to be in bed sleeping, etc. We didn’t find out for a several years that it was a nightly ritual that went on until the machine finally died.

    We later purchased an electric model for her after falsely believing the battery operated model was just too cheap and wasn’t built to last. Little did we know just how much action it really got.

  44. margo
    October 25, 2009 at 1:18 am

    I too have made those type of cookies, but I always reserve them for weddings, showers, or valentines day. They’re definitely not “lunch-box” cookies! But so worth it for a special occasion. It would be a treat to receive them made by someone other than me!!
    We celebrated my now 10 year old daughter’s birthday, so at her request had homemade mac ‘n cheese, chicken wings, cheezies, cut up fruit and veggies, and a giant cake in the shape of a “10”, encrusted with sprinkles on top (inspired by your W’s fourth birthday cake). I’m a little hungover today from sugar and junk food, too. *sigh*

  45. Cheryl
    October 25, 2009 at 8:23 am

    My roast from last night was five ingredients – outside round roast, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil. Does that count?

  46. Manon from Ontario
    October 25, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Way too cool!

    We plan to purchase a cotton candy machine and make it with our natural maple sugar….should be fun and delicious. I can’t wait, I’m crazy about the stuff, hopefully I’ll get to make enough to sale and not eat it all 🙂

    Your cookies look amazing, Julie can you come and open my kiosk/bakery with me back here in Ontario, I’ll shelter you and feed you, for as long as you can stay???

    Have a great weekend girl.


  47. Pat
    October 25, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Last night I had veal scallopini with mushroom sauce, baked potato and mixed veggies at the Yacht Club. I have leftovers for today’s lunch. Those cookies look amazing. Pick number 47!

  48. Ellen
    October 25, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I love to make some polenta with grated cheese. Saute some chopped spinach with garlic and crushed red pepper (bonus if it’s not baby spinach!). Layer in a bowl and top with a fried egg. Delicious and so easy! The cookies sound fantastic.

  49. glenda
    October 25, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Still battling the flu, so savoured a bowl of homemade cheese and broccoli soup – so easy and so yummy!

  50. rea
    October 25, 2009 at 12:00 pm


    vegetable soup and a bun. will these aches end?

  51. jacquie
    October 25, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Love baking but don’t think I could manage anything as lovely as those cookies. Will look into the candy floss rental for the next parent council activity at our school. Brilliant! Yesterday was drama class for the teenager and basketball and a birthday party for the 8 year old.Pulled out the slow cooker and made a yummy beef stew, served with fresh french bread. Then made a batch of cream puffs, bliss after a busy day.

  52. erin
    October 26, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Last night was spaghetti and meat sauce made with my very generous neighbour’s tomatoes.

    Those cookies are beautiful!! I must invest in some small cookie cutters!

  53. Sue (London, ON)
    October 26, 2009 at 10:57 am

    AM I TOO LATE? Oh I love the idea of receiving a pretty care package from you!! I’m afraid I never have an interesting meal to share with you – last night we had leftover spaghetti sauce. I ate mine with strips of zucchini & spaghetti squash instead of pasta… SO not interesting!

    May 31, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Un bon merci à l’auteur du blog

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