Personally, I prefer receiving chocolates or biscuits instead of flowers on Valentine’s Day, but that’s just me being obsessed about food! If you feel the same way, here are some cute, gluten-free biscuits known as Linzeraugen in Austria, which are delicate, buttery and refreshing jam-filled biscuits from the city, Linz, the capital of Upper Austria.

Traditionally, the biscuits have three holes, representing the Augen, meaning eyes in German. They are filled with a variety of jams, mainly apricot, one of Austria’s favourite and indigenous jams. For Valentine’s Day, many Austrian bakeries will switch to a heart-shaped biscuit filled with either red currant jam (Rote Ribisel) or raspberry jam.

Ground hazelnuts give these biscuits a unique flavour, but feel free to use ground almonds, walnuts or pecans instead.

Gluten-Free Linzer Hearts
Ingredients:
  • 130g blanched hazelnuts or almonds, prepared or homemade
  • 2 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 300g store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum or 1 teaspoon psyllium husk powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 230g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest, freshly grated
  • 4 tablespoons red currant jam or raspberry jam
  • 3-4 tablespoons icing sugar, for sprinkling
  • Tapioca flour, for dusting

Step by Step Instructions

1. Blanch either the hazelnuts or almonds by boiling them in water with 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda for 3 minutes.

2. Plunge the drained nuts into a bowl of iced water and remove the skins by rubbing the nuts in a tea towel.

3. Allow to dry on a paper towel before crushing the nuts finely.

4. Whisk the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum/psyllium husk, cinnamon and salt together.

5. Beat the butter and sugar together for 3 minutes until light and creamy.

6. Add the egg yolks one at a time.

7. Add the vanilla and lemon zest, beat well for 2 minutes.
8. Fold in the flour mixture and nuts gently.

9. Form the mixture into a disc and wrap it in plastic.

10. Leave to rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

11. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F.

12. Between two sheets of baking paper, lightly dust some tapioca flour on it and roll out the dough to ½ cm thick.

13. Cut out 5cm-circle shapes, plus cut out a small heart shape in the centre of half of the shapes. Place the small hearts onto another baking tray.

14. Bake the circle shapes first for 15 minutes rotating them half-way through baking. Don’t worry if they appear slightly golden. It is important to thoroughly cook these biscuits.

15. Allow to cool on the trays for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool further.

16. Bake the tray of small hearts for 8 minutes only, or until golden.

17. Once all the biscuits are baked and cooled, start assembling them by sandwiching the jam between one round biscuit and one round heart cut-out biscuit.

18. Dust each biscuit with icing sugar, including the small hearts.

Makes 40 (5cm) round sandwiched biscuits, plus plenty of small heart-shape biscuits
Best eaten on the day of baking. Keeps for 2 days.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.