Cookie of the Month: Loading my cookie press

Of all the cookies I’ve wanted to make, Spritz have been on my list the longest. I studied photos and recipes for Spritz as a child…I emerged from childhood, and still I was un-spritzed (I believe we had a cookie press, but it went unused). Young adulthood came and went, and still no spritz. I’ve come into my recent days of being determined to fulfill long-ago wishes (time’s a-wastin’), so this holiday season, I would load my cookie gun and not be afraid to use it.

What I discovered of Spritz — those delicate little buttery gems pushed through a cookie press into an array of delightful shapes — is that they really are not all that difficult, either to stir up or output. I considered the years of unused cookie presses and my holding off from the potential complexity of the instrument, as well as my own fixation on other cookies, all the while keeping the idea of Spritz dancing int he back of my wee brain.

I chose a recipe for Spritz from a foundational cookbook some cite as their favorite of all cookbooks on the subject, “Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book” (1963), which features all the recipes you would ever need for classic cookies and many more old-timey cookies that should be brought back again.

The dough is a butter-based shortbread, where butter and sugar are creamed with an egg, salt and vanilla and almond extracts. Flour is added to make a soft, but shape-able dough, that is forced through a press. Of German and Scandinavian origin, the name comes from the word “spritzen,” which means “to squirt.” 

So in the full disclosure of not having worked with a cookie press before. I tentatively loaded my press with about 1/4 of the dough, having chosen the shaping disc/blade with the little Christmas tree design.

I used the lever on the press to push the dough down and…voila, a tree! It was seemingly easy, so I started pressing out trees and other shapes.

The cookies  were tiny, which was OK. I made a good number of snowflakes, wreaths, florets, etc., and used a range of colored sugars and sprinkles to decorate, pre-baking. I did find that my cookies started to stick to the press a little bit, but could be easily pulled off to place on the baking sheet. I did end up chilling some of the dough before using, as I thought maybe the dough warming was causing the sticking. This chilling did seem to help the cookies release from the press.

The nice thing about the Spritz size was that you could fit a lot on the sheet and also they baked up quite quickly, 6 to 8 minutes. They held their shape and decorations quite nicely.

They tasted good, too, buttery and rich, but not overly sweet. A festive — and long-awaited — cookie wish fulfilled.

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