After living in Arizona for so many years, I still think it’s a little weird – and exiting – to head to the backyard in the winter and pluck oranges and lemons from our trees. My husband and I grew up in Ohio, where we lived with frigid temps, snow, slush, and grey skies during the long winters (and sometimes spring!). The weather there is one of those things you complain about a little, but it just…is.
Now, living life in the sun, we like to use as much of our citrus fruit as we can, and that usually means making limoncello, jam, and lemon meringue tartlets. Since it’s time for Christmas cookies, I wanted to make Linzer cookies with homemade orange marmalade. They’re beautiful and perfect for the holidays. And that’s what we did this year. Since my husband is the jam guy in the house, I put him on marmalade detail, and I worked on the cookies.
The cookie recipe is one I love from Good Housekeeping. I changed a few things, ever so slightly, and I’m always pleased with how easy it is to make these fancy-looking cookies. Linzer cookies with orange marmalade make such a pretty presentation on a tray, and a great gift to pass along to family and friends.
Note: Since this marmalade recipe does not follow standard preserving or canning techniques, it should last for about a week in the fridge.
Enjoy the holidays and the winter, wherever you are!
Recipe for Linzer Cookies with Homemade Orange Marmalade
Makes about 18 sandwiches and 24 small cutouts
Homemade Orange Marmalade
Makes about 3 cups
- 2 large oranges
- 1 lemon
- 2 cups water
- 16 ounces sugar
- 2 ounces Cointreau, or another orange-flavored liqueur
Linzer CookiesRecipe slightly modified from Good Housekeeping
Makes 18 sandwiches and 24 small cutouts
- 1 cup toasted almonds
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 heaping teaspoon orange zest
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup homemade orange marmalade
- Plastic wrap
- Parchment paper
Homemade Orange Marmalade
- Slice off the top and bottom portions from the orange (about 1/4-inch). Cut the oranges into thin (1/8-inch) strips, vertically.
- Cut each slice of the oranges into small wedges.
- Zest and juice the lemon.
- Combine the orange wedges and lemon zest and juice into a large saucepan with 2 cups of water.
- Bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, boiling, for 10 minutes. Place the lid on the pan, but be sure to stir the mixture frequently.
- Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 40 minutes with the lid partially on. Again, stir the mixture frequently.
- Stir in the sugar and Cointreau, and increase the heat to bring the mixture to a rapid boil, or until it reaches 220 degrees F. as measured on a candy thermometer.
- When it reaches 220 degrees F., you can reduce the heat slightly and cook, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes.
- The mixture will thicken slightly as it cools (once removed from the heat), but if you feel yours is too thin, cook it for a bit longer. If you think it’s too thick, add a little orange juice, just a few tablespoons at a time, while cooking.
- Remove the marmalade from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, you can use an immersions blender to carefully blend the mixture so the orange peel is not so big.
- Place the marmalade in clean jars, seal them with a lid and refrigerate. Use within 1 week.
- Note: Since this marmalade recipe does not follow standard preserving or canning techniques, it should last for about a week in the fridge.
- Add the almonds and cornstarch to a food processor and pulse until the almonds are finely ground. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the flour. Whisk to combine, then set aside.
- Use a stand mixer on low speed, and add the butter and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar. Mix until combined.
- Increase to high speed and allow the mixture to become fluffy, about 2 minutes or so. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Reduce the speed to medium and add the vanilla, orange zest, salt, and egg. Mix for a minute or so.
- Reduce the speed to low and, a little at a time, add the almond-flour mixture. Mix until blended.
- Remove the dough from the mixer and divide it into 4 parts. Shape the dough into disks, wrap each in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for several hours.
- When you’re ready to make the cookies, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit for about 15 minutes to bring it to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F., and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Lightly flour a flat work surface, and press or roll the dough so it’s about 1/8-inch thick.
- You’ll need two cookie cutters – a larger one, and a smaller one to create the “window” for the top cookie. Use a round or shaped cookie cutter that’s about 2-5/8-inches in diameter and cut out as many cookies as you can with the first disk and the scraps. Use the smaller cutter (I used one that is 1-1/2 inches round) and cut out windows in half the cookies. Set aside the small cookies. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Carefully transfer the larger cookies (solid and cut-outs) to the lined baking sheets. Bake for 16-19 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn lightly golden.
- Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.
- Bake the smaller cookies for 10-12 minutes.
- When the cookies have cooled completely, use a sieve or strainer to sprinkle the "windowed" cookies with confectioners’ sugar.
- Spread just less than a teaspoon of the marmalade onto the solid cookies. Place the cookies with the window over them to form a sandwich.
- You can make sandwiches with the small cookies and the marmalade, or simply sprinkle them with confectioners’ sugar.
- You can store the baked cookies for about 2 months in the freezer, without the marmalade and confectioners’ sugar. If freezing the cookies, add the marmalade and confectioner’s sugar just before serving them.
- Prepared cookies should last about a week if you package them with waxed paper in a container with a tight lid.