We have an ancient copper and metal cookie press that was made back in the '60s. We actually found it at a thrift store and got really excited. Mike remembered Spritz cookies from when he was young, and I had never used a press before. Because of it's age, the cookie press does take some effort, but the end result, the choice of disks and the pure enjoyment in using it, makes these cookies a Christmas tradition in our home.
SPRITZ CHRISTMAS COOKIES - nut-free recipe
- 1 ½ c butter, softened (I used butter-flavored Crisco and got better than normal results)
- 1 c packed golden brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp run extract (you can also use almond or any other flavor)
- 3 ½ c all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp (approx) milk or until the dough holds together when worked with your hands. If you don’t add the milk it may be too thick for the cookie press.
- 1 recipe Powdered Sugar Glaze (below)
- Coarse sugar; silver dragees; non-pareils (sprinkles) – if desired. You may wish to use food coloring, a drop at a time, to color a portion of the icing (green for the Christmas trees, pink for the blossoms, etc.)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In large mixing bowl, beat butter <Crisco> with an electric mixer on med to high speed for 30 seconds (or by hand like I did). Add brown sugar and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg, vanilla, milk (as needed) and extract until combined. Stir in any remaining flour. I added a few tbsp of milk to make the dough easier to work with. You want a firm (not sticky) dough - one that will go through the discs more easily. It will be thick, like a shortbread dough, so I didn’t bother with the mixer at all, just used “elbow grease.
- Force unchilled dough through a cookie press fitted with your favorite Christmas shape, directly onto the ungreased cookie sheet. I preferred the Christmas tree, poinsettia, blossom and pinwheel shapes. Bake in the preheated oven for 7 to 9 minutes, or until edges are a very light golden color. Transfer to a wire rack or towel and let cool.
- Brush tops with the Powdered Sugar glaze and, while still well, decorate as desired. Place a silver dragee, cinnamon candy or whatever else you like in the center if you are making a blossom cookie. The glaze remains almost transparent, which gives a glazed effect. Arrange on waxed paper or on a tea towel and let stand until dry. This makes about 80 cookies.