12 Days of Goodies: Spritz Cookies
:: Day 7 of the 12 Days of Christmas Goodies 2010 ::
My husband grew up with Spritz cookies every Christmas time. He remembers getting to pick out which patterns to use for the press, and decorating the cookies with colored sugars and sprinkles. I never made these as a child, as we didn’t have a cookie press. However, after my mother-in-law gave me a cookie press as a gift, they became a tradition in our house as well!
First, gather around your ingredients.
Like most cookie recipes, you’ll begin by beating together the butter and sugar.
After that’s well combined, add the egg and almond extract. If you prefer, you could use vanilla extract instead.
Then, you’ll mix in the flour and salt. Mix it up well. You don’t really need to worry about this dough being overworked, as you’ll be pressing it through a cookie press soon!
Some cookie presses require the dough to be at room temperature (like mine) and others require the dough to be cooled. Make sure you read the directions of the press carefully, as I just followed the recipe as written and chilled the dough. Lo and behold, I own a cookie press which requires room temperature dough and I broke the cookie press trying to squeeze stiff dough through the dies! Luckily, I called the company who makes the press and they sent me a new one (thanks to a warranty!). I won’t make that mistake twice!
I have been known to throw together this dough and store it in the freezer for a few weeks until I’m ready to press cookies. Shape the dough into a brick (rectangular prism!). Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and store in a plastic zippered bag. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
We like to make cookies of different colors, so I divide the dough into thirds and dye one-third red and one-third green. This can be a messy process, so you may want to wear disposable kitchen gloves. If you don’t mind a little food dye on your hands, just add a few drops to the dough and knead it like modeling clay until the color is uniform throughout.
I always let my husband pick out the dies to use each year. I suspect when my children are old enough, they will want to help choose as well!
Press the cookies onto ungreased baking sheets. Decorate them with sprinkles or what-have-you before you pop them in the oven. I find that sometimes I have to lightly wet the tops of the cookies with a drop of water to get the sprinkles to stick.
After a few minutes in the oven, they are ready to cool for a little while on the pan. Then, remove them to wire racks to cool completely.
We always have a small bit of each color left over, because of how my cookie press works. I like to put them all together and make what I call “leftovers” or “testers”, since they aren’t as pretty : )
These bite-sized treats are sure to make your holiday even sweeter!
A recipe from my mother-in-law’s recipe box
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
Sift together flour and salt. Beat together butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well. Mix in flour and salt until blended. If required by cookie press, chill dough at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Use cookie press to make cookies on ungreased baking sheets. Decorate before baking for 6 to 8 minutes. Allow to cool slightly on pan before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Makes ~6 dozen cookies.