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Caramel Pretzel Linzer Cookies are one of my favorite classic Christmas cookies, but with a salty sweet twist! Homemade caramel filling is perfectly placed between two linzer cookies that are rich with pretzel flavor. If you’re looking for the best holiday cookie that breaks tradition, this is the recipe for you!
Linzer cookies are a favorite of mine, especially when they’re perfectly baked. Too often, linzer cookies (especially store-bought ones) can be stale, too crunchy, and bland. With this easy to follow recipe, your linzer cookies turn out just like they should – tender, buttery, and just slightly sweet.
What makes these classic cookies unique is the fact that there are finely crushed pretzels in the dough and homemade caramel in the middle, instead of the typical jam. While I love the fruity flavor of jam, the salty sweet combination of flavors here really makes these cookies even more decadent.
And I mean really – who doesn’t love rich, thick, sticky-sweet homemade caramel?! The dough sure does bake into a perfect cookie, but that caramel center is what really steals the show. Since the linzer cookies aren’t overly sweet, the caramel center compliments the pretzel flavor of the cookie perfectly!
Ingredients for caramel pretzel linzer cookies
For the cookie dough, you’ll need:
- Pretzels – You’ll need regular sized pretzels as well as mini pretzels.
- Flour – All-purpose flour will get the job done.
- Sugar – For these cookies, you need both white granulated sugar AND brown sugar.
- Butter – Unsalted is best, as you don’t want a salty linzer cookie.
- Baking powder – To help them rise as they bake, of course!
- Salt – Just a pinch!
- Egg – You should have one large egg and one egg yolk.
The caramel filling calls for:
- Sugar – You should have granulated sugar for the caramel itself and powdered sugar for dusting.
- Butter – It needs to be room temp, so leave it on the counter for about an hour prior to using.
- Heavy cream – This should also be room temp!
- Salt – A pinch is all you need to help create that salted caramel flavor.
What is a linzer cookie? Linzer cookies are Austrian treats that have become a baking staple across the world. They’re almost like shortbread cookies, and usually have a fruity jam center.
How come my caramel keeps burning? You gotta watch it carefully and you have to keep stirring it. It needs a babysitter! You can’t take your eyes off it.
Salted or unsalted pretzels? In this recipe, you’ll want salted pretzels so you can get that salty sweet combination.
How long will caramel pretzel linzer cookies stay fresh? In an airtight container, these cookies will stay fresh for about 2 weeks. They’re great for making ahead of time!
Can you freeze these? Yes, they should be good for at least two to three months wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and put in a freezer-safe container. I would bring them out to room temperature and ensuring the caramel has thawed prior to serving.
Celebrate cookie season deliciously!
Caramel Pretzel Linzer Cookies
- 4 ½ ounces (127 g) mini pretzel twists, or ½ cup
- 1 ¾ cups (219 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (55 g) brown sugar
- 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, cold and diced
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
For the caramel filling:
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup (76 g) butter, room temperature
- 7 Tablespoons (105 g) heavy cream, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon salt
- powdered sugar, for dusting
For the cookie:
- Using a food processor, blend the pretzels until flour-like. Add flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt. Pulse several times to combine the ingredients.
- Add the butter cut into pieces and pulse until you get a crumbly mixture. Add the egg and egg yolk and pulse until the mixture is combined. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly. If you find the dough is too dry, add a teaspoon or two of water.
- Divide the dough into two parts, and roll each part between two baking papers, to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Transfer both rolled-out doughs with baking paper to a baking sheet or a large tray and place them in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (177 °C) and cover two baking sheets with baking paper.
- Take out one dough and peel off the top of the baking paper. Press the cookie cutter into the flour, then cut out the shapes as desired. Knead the rest of the dough briefly and roll it out again and cut as many cookies as possible. If the dough seems sticky, put it in the freezer for a few minutes.
- Cut out the center of half of the cookies. Transfer to a prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the refrigerator and bake for 9-10 minutes, until the edges start to get a light brown color. Don’t overbake. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.
- Repeat the process with the other part of the dough.
For the caramel:
- Heat the sugar in a medium-sized pot over medium-low heat, stirring gently with a wooden spoon. The sugar will clump first, but over time it will melt into an amber-brown liquid. Keep an eye on the sugar so it doesn’t burn
- Once the sugar is completely melted and turned into a darker color, add the butter and whisk until combined. Be careful as the mixture will suddenly start to boil and bubbles will form. Stir until the butter is melted and combined. If the butter seems to separate from the sugar, remove it from the heat and stir vigorously until everything comes back together.
- Slowly pour in the heavy cream and stir until combined. Let the mixture boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt. Allow it to cool, just enough so that the caramel is not hot to the touch.
- Lightly dust the cookies with the holes in the center with powdered sugar.
- The other part of the cookies, which are full shape, turn upside down and put about 1 teaspoon of caramel on each and cover with cookie lids dusted with sugar.
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