This is my Grandma´s recipe. She was from Vienna, and she used traditional Austrian recipes for her cooking and baking, with lots of butter and oil and rich sauces. Her specialities were onion roast and a very traditional kind of dumplings. Grandma also loved eating – we grandkids were always impressed by how much she could eat, especially when it came to sweets or ice-cream!
When we were kids, we especially loved her rich cakes and her cookies. Each December we were waiting impatiently for her Christmas package. There were always gifts, lots of sweets, and cookies. As they had travelled all the way from Vienna to Tirol, which is at the other end of Austria, usually some of the cookies were broken. We did not mind. They always tasted great.
I especially liked the „Linzer Augen“ and the “Vanilla Crescents”, Vanillekipferln. When I started baking Christmas cookies, I asked my mum for the recipes. I could not believe it when I read how much butter there was in the “Linzer Augen”! Unbelievable. I still prepared the cookies according to the recipe, and I still do. The short crust is fantastic. Honestly, these are the best “Linzer Augen” I have ever eaten.
4¾ cups (560 g) flour (not self-rising)
3⅓ sticks (420 g) butter
¾ + ⅛ g (210 g) sugar
4 egg yolks
Apricot jam or redcurrant jam
Put the flour and the sugar on a clean work surface. Cut the butter into small cubes and put them on top of the flour and the sugar. Add the egg yolks. Go through the ingredients with a knife until you get a crumbly mixture. Knead with your hands until the pastry is smooth. Refrigerate for about 30-60 minutes.
Alternatively you can combine the ingredients in a kitchen machine until crumbly, then knead the mixture with your hands until the pastry is smooth.
Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). Cover baking sheets with baking paper.
With a rolling pin, roll out the pastry until it is about 3 mm thin. With a “Linzer.Augen” cookie cutter, cut out „Linzer cookies“. If you do not have that special cutter, cut out round cookies of about 1½ inches (3-4cm). Use e.g. a tiny cookie cutter to cut holes into the cookie tops. You can also make the cookies without any hole – they will still be delicious!
Bake the cookies at 350°F (180° C) for about 8-10 minutes. Keep your eye on them while they are in the oven. They should be very pale, not brown.
Remove from the oven. Let them cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack or a plate. Be careful – they will brake easily when they are hot! Let them cool down completely.
Put the jam into a small pot and bring it to a boil, then remove from the oven. Spread the bottom halves with apricot or redcurrant jam, then top with a cookie which has a hole in it. Immediately sprinkle with powdered sugar.
The shortcrust pastry will make about 80-90 “Linzer Augen”.
When you put the cookies into a tin, make sure you cover each layer of cookies with baking parchment, not tin foil. They will stay fresh longer that way. Store in an airtight container.