Your cookie repertoire is not complete without these cranberry port linzer sugar cookies!
It marries the bright and tart flavor of cranberries with the sweetness of port wine and then sandwiched between two soft sugar cookies.
Let me just say that the star of these cookies is the cranberry port jam.
Cranberries need sweetness, and port wine needs to be less sweet. It's an actual match made in flavor heaven!
These cookies are so simple to make and definitely belong in your recipe book.
How to Make the Cranberry Port Jam
The cranberry port jam is super easy to make and requires 3 ingredients:
- cranberries frozen or fresh
- port wine
- brown sugar
You can use either fresh or frozen cranberries, I have a hard time finding fresh ones even when they're in season but you can always find them in the frozen isle!
If you're able to make it with fresh berries, it will take a bit longer to cook down. The frozen berries are the best bet for the jam to cook down quickly so you can enjoy the cookies sooner!
The process is equally as simple as the ingredient list.
- Begin by placing the cranberries, sugar, and port wine in a small pot on the stove over medium heat.
- Let the berries cook in the wine and sugar for about 20 minutes, or until the cranberries have turned to mush and the jam is thick.
- Then remove the jam from the heat and allow to cool.
Making the Sugar Cookies
Typically a linzer cookie is made with an almond dough, but instead these are made with a classic sugar cookie dough.
The cookie base only takes a few pantry ingredients:
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
The dough comes together in less than 10 minutes and is ready to roll out in 15 minutes.
To begin, you will add the butter and sugar to a mixing bowl and cream with the paddle for 2-3 minutes until combined. Then you will add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Finally the flour, salt, and baking powder is added and combined.
After the dough is complete, you will press it into a round disk and cover in plastic wrap. It needs to chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
Before rolling out the dough, make sure you let it come close to room temperature. You don't want it to be too soft and warm or it will stick to everything, but soft enough where the dough can be rolled easily.
To cut the cookies, roll the dough out to about ¼ inch thickness. Then using a round or desired shape cutter, cut the cookies. Move half of them to a parchment lined tray. Use parchment in between layers so the dough doesn't stick together. Then use a small cutter to punch out the middle of the remainder of the cookies, these will be the top of the cookie when they are assembled after baking.
Carefully transfer all cookies to the pan, you can use a spatula or offset to transfer them so that they don't crack or break. Freeze until solid before baking.
How to Assemble the Cranberry Port Linzers
Once the cookies are baked and the jam is cool, you can now assemble the cookies.
All of the solid, round cookies will be the bottom of the linzer. The cookies with the middle punched out is your top.
Take the bottom cookies and line them up, match them with their top cookie and dust with powdered sugar. Carefully remove the top of the cookie.
Using a spoon, place a dollop of cranberry port jam in the middle of the cookie where the powdered sugar impression is. Make sure its wide enough to fill the middle of the hole when its sandwiched.
Then place the top of the cookie back on top of the jam and press to sandwich together. The jam should fill the middle hole completely.
Cookie Dough Tips and Tricks
- You want to cream your butter and sugar together, but not too much! Creaming them together too much will cause the cookies to spread a lot in the oven causing them to lose their shape.
- Always use room temperature ingredients, including the egg! A quick trick for warming your egg straight from the fridge is to place it in a bowl or cup and cover it with hot tap water. Let it sit for a few minutes, changing the water if it cools. If you add a cold egg to your warm butter and sugar, it will re-solidify the butter, and create lumps that will melt in the oven and cause your cookie to spread.
- Always freeze your dough after cutting into the desired shape. If your dough is too warm before baking, the cookies spread more and will lose whatever shape they had!
- Always under bake your cookies just slightly to make them last a few days longer.
- You can cut and freeze the cookies ahead of time, they will keep in the freezer wrapped tightly for a few weeks.
- Keep them stored in an air tight container or wrapped tightly in plastic to extend freshness and softness.
Cranberry Port Linzer Cookies
Cranberry Port Wine Jam
- 2 cups frozen cranberries
- ¾ cup port wine
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 8 ounces butter, room temperature soft
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla bean extract or paste
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- powdered sugar
Making the Sugar Cookie Dough
- In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine.
- Add the bowl of the dry ingredients and mix until the dough starts to come together. Stop mixing and press the dough together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll over the dough to make an even flat disk.
- Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the plastic and lightly flour both sides and your surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to ¼ in thickness. Use a round cookie cutter and punch out an even number of cookies. Reroll any leftover dough until there is none remaining.
- Remove half of the cookies and place them on a parchment lined baking tray. Punch out the middles of the remaining cookies using a cutter smaller than your cookies. Place the cookies on a parchment lined baking tray and place all them in the freezer. Freeze for 15-20 minutes or until frozen.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Bake the frozen cookies for 8-9 minutes, or until the cookies dont look wet anymore. The cookies will look soft, let them cool completely before filling.
Making the Cranberry Port Wine Jam
- In a medium saucepan, add the frozen cranberries, port wine and sugar. Heat on medium and cook, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes, or until the cranberries are compltely broken down and the jam is thick.
- Cool before using.
Asssembling the Cookies
- Take all of the solid cookies and line them up on your counter. Dust the top halfs with the middle punched out in powdered sugar.
- Using a spoon, add a dollop of jam in the middle of the cookie thats enough to fill the hole of the top half. Sandwhich the cookies with the half that has a punched out middle. Press together gently to prevent cracking.
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