Mom's Spritz Cookies
For me, there are 3 things that signal that the holidays are coming: One is that suddenly every store has poinsettias for sale (along with every other holiday gimmick, ornament, or keepsake they can think of!). Another is that I begin to see cars with Christmas trees strapped to them in some way shape or form (I'm sorry folks, but a smart car just isn't the best choice for Christmas Tree transport!). The other is that I begin to receive requests to bake my Mom's Spritz Cookies!
The baking of these cookies was our families signal that the holiday season had indeed begun. Every year Mom seemed to bake hundreds of these little cookies to hand out to neighbors, teachers, friends and family. These delicious little cookies are best described as a perfect blend of a butter cookie and a sugar cookie. They are a warm and friendly little cookie that simply screams, eat me I'm delicious and fun!
Part of their appeal is their shape, or rather I should say shapes. With multiple designs to choose from with most cookie press kits there is no end to the fun you can have with these or the number of events you can make them for. Traditionally a Christmas cookie some companies have started to include shapes such as hearts and pumpkins to include other holidays such as Valentine's Day and Halloween. Another part of the appeal of these cookies is how fun and versatile they are to decorate! Traditional decoration for this cookie is simply a sprinkling of colored sugar, but this dough is also really fun to dye. You can have green Christmas trees with red sugar decorations, yellow flowers with orange sugar centers, or red hearts with pink accent sprinkles. Just let your imagination run wild!
Let's get started:
|Mom's Spritz Cookies|
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup of shortening
½ cup of butter (softened but not melted)
1 teaspoon vanillavarious decorating sugars and food dye
3/4 cup sugar
1 cookie press
1-2 cookie sheets, lightly greased
Stand mixer or large mixing bowl and hand mixer
Heat the oven to 375 degrees and grease your cookie sheets
In a small mixing bowl combine flour, salt, and baking powder and stir until combined. Set aside.
(I'm sure you've noticed that there isn't much of a leavening agent in these cookies. The reason for that being they wouldn't be able to hold their nifty shapes if there was!)
In a mixer combine shortening and butter and beat on medium speed until fluffy. Then add the sugar, egg and vanilla and beat on low until incorporated.
To this mixture add the dry ingredients we mixed earlier. Beat on low until dough combines and forms a ball. (you may need to scrape down the sides once or twice during this step until the ball forms).
Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least half an hour to set up. I recommend that if you are planning on dying any portion of the dough to do so now as it will be harder to incorporate the color later). Chilling the dough first helps it to hold its shape when we start pressing.
*Note: This is a great time to pick out your shapes and your decorations!
Once the dough has set you're ready to start pressing some cookies! You'll want to form a handful of the dough into a long torpedo shape about the width of the cylinder. This will make it easier to fill the press. (Don't worry if it doesn't fill the whole cookie press, once we start pushing the lever it will compress the dough down and even things out.)
Once you have your cookie press full and the design plate and collar in place go ahead and press down a couple of times to even out the dough. This is also a great time to do one or two “test” cookies on your baking sheet. Each cookie press is different and each shape will require a little different “technique”. Now is the time to make a few test cookie to see how big the cookies will be and how well it holds its shape. (Note: for some shapes you will want to press down twice to get a fuller looking cookie while with others you may only want to press down once, hence the test).
As these cookies don't spread out much feel free to load up your baking sheet leaving only about a ½ inch of space between cookies. Once you have the baking sheet loaded let the decorating begin! Remember to be creative and have some fun with it! ;)
All done with your works of art? Place them on the middle rack of the oven for about 8-10 minutes until they start to get lightly golden brown on the edges (Make sure to check these often as they can go from delightfully crispy to burnt to a crisp in a New York minute!). Let them sit 1-2 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack.
|Yield: 5-6 dozen depending on size||Calories per serving: ~50 per cookie|
*Note: These are super yummy warm out of the oven so make sure you sneak one or two of them for yourself.
Enjoy and happy baking!