I've been making these Spritz Cookies on and off for years. I first used a cookie press but that was more trouble than it was worth. All those cookie design plates had to be removed for each shape and then washing the thing with it's small chamber was always a hassle for me. I never did get the hang of it and my cookies were misshapen at best. Poor little lopsided Christmas trees and stars. Then I discovered the pastry bag and large French star tip and things took off. They're still a bit fussy to make but they look so nice on a Christmas cookie platter.
My one real complaint about these cookies is people think they're store bought and often over-look them on the cookie tray. I don't know if that's a compliment or an insult. People who do taste them like them very much and I've had several people ask me when I'm going to make them again.
Although I like them all, my favourite Spritz is the little thumbprint cookie with the jam centres. Some people fill these with chocolate disks and they're nice too, but I like the jam centres.
I don't garnish my cookies before they are baked except for the thumbprints. Some people like to decorate them with cherries, sprinkles, colored sugar, etc. before they are baked but I like to dip and fill them afterwards.
Butter Spritz Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
½ cup white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or favourite flavouring (I like orange extract in these.)
2 ¼ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
Garnishes before or after baking:
Candied cherries, chopped nuts, colored sprinkles or colored sugars, melted chocolate, jam
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line pans with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Do not grease.
In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the eggs and flavouring and beat until well mixed. On low speed, gradually add the flour and salt and mix until just combined. Do not over-beat.
You may want to bake a test cookie to make sure it doesn't spread too much on the pan. If your cookie spreads refrigerate your filled cookie pan for 10 or 15 minutes before baking. Do not refrigerate the dough in the bowl because it will be too cold to pipe through the bag.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until just starting to turn golden on the edges. Larger cookies will take longer baking.
Makes about 4 dozen.
Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well.
Add the flour but do not over-beat. The dough should be soft and pliable. If you are having a hard time piping these through the pastry bag, put the dough back in the bowl and mix in a few tablespoons of milk.
Pipe the cookies in the shapes you want. The dough should easily come out of the bag. I made four shapes today but whatever shape you want to pipe is good.
Here's a pan of shells on the left and thumbprints on the right almost ready to bake. Moisten your finger or thumb and make an indentation in the top of the round cookies. Fill with your favourite jam before baking. You won't need much jam.
After the cookies are baked stick 2 shells together with jam or chocolate. The jam will stick better if the cookies are still warm. If using chocolate let the shells cool completely.
The shells are ready to have their bottoms dipped in melted chocolate chips or disks and then in sprinkles or chopped nuts. I got so busy decorating the cookies I forgot to take pictures of the decoration process.
Here are the four types of cookies I made. From the bottom clockwise: 1. Shells stuck together with strawberry jam and dipped in white chocolate and sprinkles; 2. Fingers dipped in chocolate and chopped hazelnuts; 3. Circles/Wreaths dipped in chocolate and sprinkles and drizzled with white and semi-sweet chocolate; 4. Thumbprints filled with strawberry jam.