Treat your loved ones without guilt to these low-carb, gluten-free and sugar-free Linzer hearts! These spectacular cookies are perfect for Valentine’s Day, or anytime when you want to indulge yourself or bring some happiness to the people around you. And the best part: you need only 5 ingredients for these tasty tidbits!
|Nutrition information||Protein||Fat||Net carbs||kcal|
|In total:||48.2 g||116.8 g||77.2 g||1561 kcal|
|Per cookie if 20 cookies in total:||2.4 g||5.8 g||3.9 g||78 kcal|
Tips for making the Low-Carb Linzer Hearts
The dough is a cinch to make. It doesn’t even need any chilling. One advice though: it is as well to sift the sweetener so that it doesn’t form any lumps. Sifting is faster than trying to break the lumps with your fingers from the ready dough… Believe me!
Once again, when grating the lemon zest it’s important to avoid the white pith. A small grater works best, at least for me. Be sure to choose a lemon that is firm. The zest is easier to grate from a firm lemon than from a soft and ripe lemon.
I recommend to use fresh lemon zest. I have to confess that once I was too lazy to grate any lemon zest and used lemon peel granules instead. It didn’t pay off. It didn’t bring the characteristic, fresh flavor, which is a must for these cookies. To be honest, those lemon peel granules gave a musty flavor. And that we don’t want to have here. It’s Valentine’s Day anyway, so you want to do your best. Don’t you?
You can place the cookies quite close to each other on the baking sheet since they won’t rise in the oven. It might be a good idea to bake the tops and bottoms separately, if you have time for that. The tops don’t need that long baking time because they simply have less dough than the bottom parts. At least in my oven the bottoms need 5–10 minutes more than the top cookies.
The cookies are crunchy, but the filled cookies will soften when stored. If you prefer your cookies crunchy, assemble them just before serving.
I used a 1 7/8 inch (48 mm) cookie cutter. The yield was 20 Linzer hearts (i.e. 20 tops and 20 bottoms).
My experiments with the Low-Carb Linzer Hearts
I was pondering different options for Valentine’s Day treats. Somehow Linzer hearts popped in my head. They are delicious and pretty as a picture. Well, I would take pictures from them anyway.
Yes, Linzer hearts it was. So what do I need then? Almond flour, definitely. Sweetener, of course. Confectioners Style Swerve — extremely fine powder and great-tasting sweetener — was a natural choice because I could use it also for dusting the cookies. I was also hoping that it makes the dough smoother than what erythritol crystals would do.
Spices were still missing from my ingredients list. To my knowledge the original Linzer hearts contain lemon zest. That’s what I also wanted to try. Since freshly grated lemon zest has the best flavor, that was a natural choice for me. Well, first I used those lemon peel granules about which I already told. The resulting cookies were mainly tasting bland, uninteresting and musty. So once again, please do yourself and your loved ones a favor and use freshly grated lemon zest. Please.
I still needed something for binding the dough. Since cream cheese had brought so great results in my previous cookie experiments — like in my Chewy Ginger Cookies — I wanted to give it a try here as well. The dough was easy to handle, a bit sticky though, and the resulting cookies were somehow too chewy. Well, it’s difficult to explain, but the texture wasn’t what I was looking for. So I guess I had a bit too much cream cheese. I used 3 oz (85 g).
In my next experiment I used 0.5 oz (15 g) less cream cheese and had lower oven temperature. Now the dough was even easier to handle and the texture was great. I still wanted to try out what happens if I reduce the amount of cream cheese by 0.5 oz (15 g) using altogether 2 oz (60 g), but the dough was a bit too hard and crumbly.
I still made one experiment using whole egg instead of cream cheese. The dough was incredibly easy to handle, but the cookies didn’t taste that great. Cream cheese brought really elegant flavor together with the lemon zest.
Tips for variation
Instead of — or in addition to — lemon zest you can use your favorite spices, or some of the followings:
- 1 teaspoon ground organic Ceylon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground organic ginger
- 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh gingerroot
- 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
By the way, the cut-out centers are great for decorating desserts.
Next week I’m going to publish a recipe for incredibly easy and super yummy sugar-free raspberry jam, which you can use also for these Low-Carb Linzer Hearts. It reduces the amount of carbs per cookie by 2.6 grams! I was planning to publish it here as a bonus recipe, but it simply deserves a blog post of its own. Stay tuned…
Hi, I would like to send a very Big Thank you, your way for all the work, and detail that you put into your recipes. I am going to make these cookies, and your cracker recipe this week, most likely sooner than later, Thank you, its makes our lives so much easier when wonderful people like yourself go through all the frustration so that I don’t have to, Thank you again.
Hi Linda, thank you for your kind words! So happy to hear you find my work helpful — that’s all I can wish for!
Good Afternoon, Is there any way that you would give permission for the use of your Linzer cookie photos? I work in a university library and we have a series of promotional events next month including a cookie giveaway for students.I would like, if you would allow it, to use some of your photos in our decorations and on our flyer. Thank you for your consideration.
Hi Georgie, thanks for your message. I regret to tell that unfortunately the photos on my site are not for public use, moreover, the resolution is not high enough. However, you can purchase the photos here: https://photoplr.com/photogallery/cookies/, they are only $1.99 each for unlimited use.
I just love you recipes!, my Dad will especially love these cookies!
Thanks, Kelly! Great to hear that your dad likes them, too!
I know that sometimes the more simple a recipe, the better it is; however, this recipe only has almond flour, sweetener, lemon zest and cream cheese! I really want to try this. recipe, so will you promise me the cookies will stay intact and not fall apart?
Hi Cici, if you use the same ingredients and do according to the given directions, I see no reason why you should fail 🙂 It’s the cream cheese which binds the ingredients together, and you also need erythritol (Swerve or other erythritol-based powdered sweetener) for that. If you used for example pure stevia instead of erythritol, the cookies would fall apart. Happy baking and please let me know how did it go!
These are so lovely, what a great idea to make them gluten free! I will try to make them with millet flour and honey.
Hvala, Nataša! If you try out a version with millet flour, please tell me how you succeeded. Btw, you have fantastic photos in your blog!
🙂 So, I tried to make them with millet flour and they were a great success ( I can send you a photo :)). I used honey for the sweetener and apricot jam to fill them. Next time I will maybe add just a little butter (or maybe some nuts too) to make like a pie dough structure, so they will be even better.
Thank you so much for the inspiration and keep up with the great work 🙂
Hi Nataša! Sounds great, thanks for sharing your experiment! Would be great to see the photo, your photos are absolutely stunning! If you can be so kind and send the photo to elviira(at)lowcarbsosimple.com. You can also share it on my Facebook page if you would like. Thank you!
I just found your blog and am loving it!!! Thanks for the great recipes!
Beverly, thanks for a nice comment! So great to hear that you like the blog and the recipes!
Those are a thing of beauty!
Thanks! Whoever came up with the idea of making the original Linzer cookies can get all the credit. I’m just copying 🙂