I learned how to make these jam-filled sugar cookies while I was an Au Pair in Switzerland. The Swiss call them Spitzbuben, loosely translated as “Naughty Little Boys,” because they were originally made with comical faces in them. Nowadays, the Swiss cut more aesthetic shapes such as hearts and stars, but you can also just make simple shapes like circles or squares, especially if you don’t have cookie cutters. I have two sets of cookie cutters, one of hearts and the other are stars, each with five different sizes. For that reason, I usually make these cookies only at Christmas and Valentine’s.
Now some people might tell you these are Austrian Linzer cookies and although they are similar, Spitzbuben do not require Almond flour or lemon zest, while Linzer cookies do.
Here is the original Spitzbuben recipe that I’ve been using since I cut it out of a Swiss magazine in 1990-91. I’ve translated it for you and converted the grams to cups and Celsius to Fahrenheit. It’s important to remember to give yourself plenty of time to chill the dough before you bake these cookies or they will not hold their shape!
1 1/2 cups of softened butter (I usually use room temperature, but when you forget to take the butter out of the fridge, just microwave it for 20-30 seconds to soften)
1 cup of icing sugar
1 egg white
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups of all-purpose flour
Jam for the filling (I always use raspberry jam because it looks and tastes the best)
Cream the butter and icing sugar together (I just use a spatula) then add the rest of the ingredients and mix them in. I flatten the dough and wrap it in plastic wrap before letting it cool in the fridge for 2hours. Once the dough is chilled, you can roll it out on parchment paper. If you find the dough is sticking too much, add a dusting of icing sugar (not flour, because it will become too hard). Cut your shapes, making sure that you cut enough tops to match the bottoms. The tops will have a “window” or opening for the jam to show through. Arrange the cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Bake the cookies for about 6 mins at 375 degrees Fahrenheit or until the edges are slightly golden. Remove and let cool on a rack. Once the cookies are completely cool, spread the jam on the bottom of each cookie, almost to the edges. Sprinkle the tops of each cookie with icing sugar and place on top of the jammy bottom cookie.
These cookies keep up to 2 weeks in an air-tight container (but they never last that long in my house!).