Fail, Saved: Making Good of a Bad Recipe

Last week I bought this adorable Springtime Linzer Cookie Cutter Set from Cookies in Seattle, for my weekly Serious Eats post (which you can check out here).

However, before I found recipe success, I had to deal with recipe failure.

Being infinitely curious about back-of-the-box recipes, I decided to first try the recipe printed on the back of the kit.

Here's what they looked like before they went in the oven:

and here's what they looked like when they came out.

Noooo! Where could I have gone wrong? The original recipe suggested letting the dough rest for 2 hours; I let it rest overnight. Too long?

Regardless of appearance, the cookies still did taste good: almost like sugar cookie crackers.

And when sandwiched with a thick dollop of lemon curd in the middle, these crunchy cookie sandwiches would almost have you believe they'd been made this way on purpose.

Here's the recipe (which, by the way, I would not suggest if you want perfectly formed cutout cookies--rather, try this one instead). I am writing it as it appeared on the package, but with steps 4 and 5 the perfect cutouts might not work the way you'd like, if my experience was any indication:

Failed Linzer Cookies (AKA Sugar Cookie Crackers)


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour

to fill:

  • 1 jar lemon curd (or whatever preserves you'd like, or frosting, etc)


  1. Mix butter, orange extract and sugar.
  2. Stir in one cup of flour at a time, mixing well.
  3. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours.
  4. Roll out 1/2 of dough on a cookie sheet to 1/4 inch thick and chill 30 more minutes. Cut with the Linzer cutter without an insert. Remove excess dough and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.
  5. Roll out the other half of the dough on a second cookie sheet, once again chilling for 30 minutes. Cut with the Linzer Cutter fitted with the insert or inserts of your choice. Remove excess dough and bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Cool completely.
  6. If your cookies came out Linzer-iffic, then good for you (jerk). If not, sandwich them with lemon curd or your choice of filling and enjoy.