Gingerbread and Cranberry Linzer Cookies


I made these for exam marking, trust me, nobody’s favourite time of year! Obviously, this called for some festive cheer to get us through the hundreds of exam papers we needed to mark. I decided to make a variation on the Austrian Linzer Torte which is characterised by almonds and preserves. This gingerbread cookie is also made from almonds and the preserve is a very festive cranberry and orange combination.  The Linzer cookies went down well and we are already half way through the marking. I found this recipe on:


Ingredients  (Makes 2 dozen)

75g whole almonds

85g cup dark brown sugar

225g unsalted butter, softened

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 tablespoons molasses (I used black treacle)

350g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

For the Filling

85g soft brown sugar

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Zest of one orange



Toast almonds in a small dry pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until they turn golden brown and smell nutty. Rub the nuts in a kitchen towel to remove any loose skins, then transfer to a food processor. 

Pulse the almonds and half the brown sugar in a food processor until finely ground and sandy. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and remaining brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the nut mixture and beat 1 minute longer. Scrape down the bowl and beat in the treacle and vanilla. Scrape one more time and add the egg. Mix until fully combined. 

Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, whisking to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer and mix on low until just combined. Form the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine cranberries, brown sugar, orange juice and zest in a saucepan over a low heat. Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until the berries have burst and the mixture has thickened, 8-10 minutes. Be sure to scrape the bottom as you stir to prevent from sticking and burning. Let the filling cool completely

Preheat oven to 190/180/Gas 5. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or non-stick baking mats. Roll out the chilled dough on a well floured surface to between 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can and transfer to the prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch of space between each. Using a smaller cutter, cut our the centre of half of the cookies. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Reroll the remaining dough and repeat the process. If you want more of a biscuit texture, bake for longer.

Once the cookies are cooled, spread a spoonful of jam on the bottom side of a whole cookie. Sandwich together with a cut out cookie. Make sure not to add too much jam or it will ooze out the sides. About 1 teaspoon in the centre should do the trick. Repeat with remaining cookies. 




Gingerbread 2

The Christmas baking has begun!  I made these gingerbread biscuits for the children of a very good friend of mine. I hadn’t made them before, but was pleased with how they turned out. Obviously, I had to test a few for quality control before I gave them away! The recipe comes from Mima Sinclair’s book ‘Gingerbread Wonderland’ which is being featured in quite a few of my food magazines at the moment. This particular recipe was in Woman & Home, Feel Good Food, Christmas, 2015. The only thing I changed was the shape of the biscuits; I would just use whatever shaped cookie cutters you have. Happy festive baking!

Gingerbread 1


160g runny clear honey

110g unsalted butter

50g ground almonds

250g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

To decorate

150g icing sugar

1 medium egg white

2-3 tablespoons cold water

100g dark chocolate, melted


  • Melt the honey and butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Stir continuously until combined. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 15 minutes
  • Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/ gas Mark 3. Line 2 large baking tins with greaseproof paper.
  • Place the ground almonds in a large bowl and sieve over the remaining ingredients.
  • Pour over the butter and honey mixture and stir until it becomes a dough.
  • Roll out the dough to 2cm thick and using a heart cutter, cut into biscuits. Soften the edges of the hearts with your fingers. Place on the lined baking tray. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until just golden brown at the edges. Leave to cool for 5 minutes on the trays then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, mix the icing sugar, egg white and water together to make a thin runny icing. Brush the lebkuchen with the icing. Leave for 15 minutes to dry, then repeat the process. Leave to set.
  • Dip the lebkuchen into the melted chocolate to coat the base and a few millimetres up the sides. Drizzle the remaining chocolate in a zig zag pattern over the top.

Gingerbread 2