Traditional Spritz Cookies

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I love a good sugar cookie –

But sometimes you have neither the time nor the interest to roll each one, coat it in sugar, press into a disc, and bake. All that effort and you only get about 24. Granted, they are really good cookies, but the hassle factor has stopped me more than once.

Enter Spritz Cookies and the cookie press.

These charming bites are a cross between shortbread and a soft, doughy sugar cookie – and one recipe makes about 40 cookies … And you get to use a cool kitchen tool!

But do they taste good? According to my people, they are

About the best cookies you make

Good enough for me. It’s hard to go wrong with real butter, sugar, flour, and vanilla bean.

I made this batch with my mom’s cookie press, but sadly, it’s seen better days. The trigger sticks and it pumps inconsistently. Sometimes it just keeps pushing out the dough. No Bueno. Plus, it’s not see through.

Amazon is sending me this one. Yay!

Back to the Cookies.

When making these, pay attention to creaming the butter and sugar. It takes longer than you think – you want to get some air in the mixture. Go for about 5 minutes on high before adding the egg and another 5 on high after the egg is in.

There is a learning curve with a cookie press – at least one that has a mind of its own. I hope the new one is more compliant. 😉 Practice a few times and return any rejects to the dough.

Don’t forget the sprinkles.

Sugar sticks better than the fatter candy coated ones.

Traditional Spritz Cookies

Course: Dessert
Servings: 40 cookies

Cream the butter, sugar, flavorings, and eggs, add the flour, load the cookie press and have at it.

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Ingredients

  • 8 oz unsalted room temperature butter 2 sticks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (7 oz, or 200 g)
  • 1 whole vanilla bean scrape out the seeds, or use 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • 1 tsp salt salt.
  • 1 pinch ground cardamom ~ 1/4 tsp. Use more if you really want to taste the cardamom. It's an entirely optional ingredient.
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 c all-purpose flour, sifted (11 1/2 oz, or 325 g)
  • sprinkles, sugar, candied fruits, whatever you want to decorate the cookies with optional, but they do look bland without a little sompin-sompin on top.

Instructions

  1. Set out 2 sticks of butter to come to room temperature. Speed this process by cutting it into small chunks.

  2. Set oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375. 

  3. Clear space in your refrigerator and chill your clean baking sheets. Prepare a space on your counter with cooling racks.

  4. Cream together the softened butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, salt, and cardamom. It usually takes more than 5 minutes on high speed for it to get light yellow and creamy/fluffy. Scrape down the sides often. Add the egg and continue to beat for another 5 minutes or so. Scrape down the sides as needed. It will be quite soft and pale yellow.

  5. Add the flour all at once, and barely mix it in with the mixer. Finish incorporating the flour by hand. Don't make a career out of this. You don't want gluten forming.

  6. Put the cookie dough into the cookie press and crank out a few practice cookies. Return misshapen cookies to the dough. If the dough gets sticky, put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes.

  7. Press out the cookies on your bald baking sheets. There's enough butter so they will release. Greasing the baking sheet or using parchment paper will increase the tendency for the cookie to spread out, and these should just grow a taller in the oven, not spread out.

  8. Sprinkle them robustly with decorations and then bake 5 - 7 minutes. It's fine if they are a little soft when you take them off the cookie sheet. They will harden up and have a firm exterior and soft center. Bake longer for a crispier cookie.

  9. For doubling the recipe, make two individual batches. You'll need at least three cookie sheets and if it's cold outside, put the cookie sheets outside to cool in between batches. Don't load a warm cookie sheet with fresh dough. Shake/scrape off excess sprinkled decorations from the cookie sheet or the last few rounds will start sticking. I found that baking one cookie sheet at a time allowed me to have one cooling, one baking, and one being loaded. The timer on your phone is indispensable.

Recipe Notes

The cookies keep for several days in an airtight container. They are actually better the next day. 

This recipe is a combination of my mom’s and the tips/tricks found in Serious Eats. Mom’s recipe had Crisco in it and I never use Crisco – so I just replace it with real butter. And as for the ground cardamom, it’s often used in Indian cuisine and it’s sort of a chameleon spice. It’s just at home in desserts as it is in savory dishes. It’s worth experimenting with.

Let me know what you think of them in the comments below.

What more vanilla desserts? Try vanilla macarons with vanilla buttercream icing.

If chocolate is your thing, try oreo brownie cookies or chocolate cake with chocolate icing.


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