Sunday, December 4, 2011

Virtual Cookie Exchange - Not my mother's Spritz Cookies

I mentioned in my post earlier today that I had a holiday party last night.  It was for a bunch of people from work, most of whom have eaten lots of the baked goods that I take to work.  One person walked into the house, commented on how pretty our Christmas tree looked, then walked over to the kitchen (we have a pretty open floor plan) and said, "So this is Di's kitchen, where the magic happens!" =)

There's definitely something magical about Christmas cookies.  I have fond memories of helping my mom make cookies during the holiday season.  There were certain types that we always made every year.  I don't have quite the same line-up now, but there are still some varieties that have to make an appearance.  One of my mom's favorites was Spritz Cookies.  They were usually in the shape of trees, and the dough was tinted green.  My mom had an old school cookie press that required you to turn the handle on top to make the dough come out--definitely a workout with a stiff cookie dough.  One of my sisters has the cookie press, but I do have the recipe.  I don't make it much, though, since it uses all shortening, no butter.  I just love the flavor of butter cookies, so I use a recipe from Cook's Illustrated that first appeared in the magazine in 2004.  

The dough for these cookies is easy to mix up.  First you whisk together an egg yolk, a bit of cream and some vanilla in a small bowl and set it aside.  Next up is creaming the butter, sugar and salt.  Once that mixture is light and fluffy, you mix in the liquid mixture.  Finally, you stir in the flour.  The fun part is playing with the cookie press.  I have one much like this.  It holds just enough dough for a pan of cookies, about 2 dozen of the small trees.  I spooned a little bit of colored sugar on top of each cookie before baking.  

I almost always bake cookies on parchment lined baking sheets, but that doesn't work for these--the dough from the cookie press won't stick to the parchment.  So use an unlined, ungreased pan.  For the best flavor, be sure to bake the cookies until they are just starting to brown around the edges--if they're still completely pale, they won't have that great browned butter flavor.  I baked mine for 12 minutes at 375ºF.

The verdict?  I love these.  The butter and vanilla flavors are immediately apparent, and they have a lovely crisp texture.  The only thing that you might not like about these cookies is how easy they are to pop in your mouth, since they're bite-sized.  The good news is that the recipe makes at least 6 dozen, so you'll probably still have enough to share even after you eat a bunch yourself.  Brianna paid me a high compliment indeed, making a point to say how much she liked these cookies. =)  

Spritz Cookies - ingredients

1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
225 grams (two sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
140 grams (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
285 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour

You can find the full recipe online at Cook's Illustrated, or in the current Holiday Baking newsstand issue.  

Check back next weekend for a full round-up of delicious holiday cookies from our cookie exchange!

Logo courtesy of Allifer Designs


  1. That WAS a high compliment from Brianna, especially since there wasn't any chocolate involved! Spritz cookies are so good; I've inherited one of those old cookie presses, but don't use it much. Now that I have a tried and true recipe (thanks for sharing!) I might haul it out sooner rather than later!

  2. I have the same Wilton press, and it is so much easier than the old-fashioned kind. I don't think I've tried this CI recipe yet, but it is definitely going on the list for this year! Love the comment about the magic in your true! :)

  3. Thanks for organizing this. I have a cookie press...I will have to dig it out.

  4. 6 dozen! That's a lot of cookies! Glad they were enjoyed. Thanks for hosting the exchange!

  5. We love these as well...cookies from my childhood and also Mark's. Mark's mother puts green food coloring in the dough so the trees are green when they come out and then sprinkles them with white sprinkles for snow and they look lovely. My mother uses the dough like you have it with the red or green sprinkles. Fun to have some of each! Yours are beautiful. It was fun hearing about your party and seeing it all set up.

  6. I have my mother's cookie press, but haven't used it yet. I really would love to make these with it and have fond memories of making some like these with her. They are beautiful and I am sure your girls enjoyed them!

  7. These are lovely! I've never had much luck making cookies with a press but yours look great so I'll definitely give this recipe a try. Love your candleholders too, very pretty :)

  8. Your Spritz cookies look absolutely wonderful and festive! I would love to try one :)

  9. LOVED loved loved the cooky press. But not so much the shortening in my cookies! Yours look more like the ones mom used to make - more buttery! And the christmas trees are so classic too - I hope the girls helped "press" too! They look wonderful and buttery-good! Thanks for organizing the wonderful Round-Up again this year!

  10. Thanks for organizing this - so much fun to see everyone's treats! My husband grew up eating spritz (I'd never touched one until adulthood), but I can't get his grandmother's recipe to work right for me. So I'll have to try this one - CI can't be wrong! They look adorable and dangerously addictive.

  11. Spritz cookies were THE Christmas cookies I grew up with! I make mine with a combo of butter and shortening. I have my grandmother's hand press and my mother's electric press from the 70's, haha! Planning on making some this week! Yours look so pretty. Your girls are going to have wonderful cookie memories ;-)