Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tis The Season To Make Spritz Cookies

Well every year it sneaks up on us and before you know it the Holiday season is here. We have our first Christmas party this weekend so I thought I would make a batch of my favorite Christmas cookies, spritz. Apparently the word spritz originates from the German word Spritzen which means “to squirt or spray”.

I love this cookie in it’s simplicity. It is pure butter, flour and sugar with a little flavoring of almond and vanilla extracts to give it a distinct flavor. I only make these once a year so that is why I relish them so much. Making this cookie is a bit of a ritual for me. It is the one cookie I make that has a special machine to make it. Over the years I have developed a confidence in making them that I have passed on to Eva my 14 year old daughter. 

Atlas Cookie Press

The most important part of this cookie is the cookie press. It is a dough extruder.

This is the second one I have owned, my first one broke after many years. When my press broke I went down the street to Crate and Barrel and got their version. I saw the shiny white new press and I was excited. When I got it home and started using it I was underwhelmed. I missed my old Atlas.

You know how personal cooking/baking equipment is. You get used to things and they work for you. You know it with all it’s quirks. Now for someone else the Crate and Barrel version might be the cats pj’s. But not for me.

I am a purest. I like things to work well and simply. So my cookie press from Italy that has no bells and whistles is pure perfection to me. We formed a relationship all these years. I knew just what to do to make the perfect cookies. So on ebay I went, in search of a replacement. I found one and it did not disappoint.

Let’s get started. First you make the dough. My go to recipe is from the Joy of Cooking Christmas Cookie book. It works like a charm every time.

After making the dough you chill it. This is important. Depending on the temperature of your refrigerator I would say 20-30 minutes. You want the dough the perfect temperature because too cold and it won’t squeeze out. To warm and it will not squeeze out.

This is something you will need to experiment with.

When the dough is the perfect temperature you pick out your metal disk shape and insert it into the cylinder and load it up with dough. Simply turn the lever and press. There is a knack to it. Just play around or call me and I’ll help you.

Then decorate with your favorite sprinkles or sugars and bake. This is the creative part. I like to mix sprinkles with sugars. Another idea I have seen done is to add food coloring to the dough to make colored spritz.

Another thing I like about this recipe is that the cookies are small, about 2 inches in diameter. They don’t spread much when baking so you can really crowd the cookie sheet. This is good because you get a lot of cookies with each sheet and who does not want a lot of cookies.

Gorgeous Bits of Joy

Another factor in the success of these cookies is telling when they are done. I tend to be an underbaker by nature so I have to watch myself. To tell if your spritz are done they should have a tinge, very slight, of golden brown on the edges. Pull them from the oven at this point. When you bite into this cookie, after they have cooled, you will notice a slightly crisped edge almost like a shortbread with a buttery interior.

I am a baker. Pies, tarts, bread, cakes, muffins, scones I have a passion for anything made with flour, butter, sugar, eggs.  My truest love is cookie dough, simply adore it. That is why this time of year is pure magic to me.

Now the kids are older and they love to unleash their creativity as well. So put on your favorite festive music and get baking. My personal favorite is Charlie Brown’s Christmas.

P.S. These are the perfect cookie to leave for Santa…
He will not leave a crumb.


1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cups sugar
2 lg egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsps vanilla
3/4 tsp almond extract
2 1/4 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar until very fluffy and well blended, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, salt and extracts until well incorporated. Sift flour over bowl and mix.

Place dough in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes until chilled.

Load the dough into your cookie press and follow manufacturers directions.

Use sugars or sprinkles to decorate and bake at 350 degrees F until the edges are a slight tinge of golden brown.

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