Make Butter Spritz Cookies for Christmas

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Anonymous, Eng, Lynn and 3 others

Picture this: the aroma of butter, vanilla, and newly baked cookies has filled the house, and everyone is ready for a spritz cookie – or maybe two, or three. Christmas is just around the corner, and it is the season for gift giving, hospitality, and tradition. If you bake spritz cookies, you will be preparing a food item that fits right in with all three. Somehow, at least for a season, if you find time and space to do some baking, you will bring back some of the old fashioned pleasures that come with a homemade cookie.

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The spritz cookie is a buttery delight with roots that can be traced back to Germany, where it was customarily served as a Christmas cookie. Back in the old country, spritz cookies were called Spritzgeback, but as they became popular in America, people shortened their name to spritz, and the name has stuck ever since. The cookie's name is derived from the German word "spritzen", which means "to squirt". This is precisely what happens to the spritz cookie dough; it is squirted through a cookie press which has a nozzle that allows the dough to come out in different shapes such as Christmas trees, stars, wreaths, icicles, and doves.

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Today, in an era where fast food is the norm, you can instead opt to indulge in the warmth of an old-fashioned Christmas and whip up batches of spritz cookies. If you have kids and they are old enough to help, you can spend a lot of memory-making hours with them, decorating your cookies with nuts, raisins, colored sugars, or sprinkles.

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You can give away your spritz cookies as gifts, serve them to guests, and start lots of cookie traditions in your own home. The best part of making spritz cookies is that you can keep them in an air tight container for days and they will be as good as they were when they were newly baked. You can store them this way for a week – if they last that long.

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Three Recipes for Spritz Cookies

Spritz cookies are so well-loved around the world many cooks have created their own versions of this simple but unforgettable cookie. You might even come up with your own version if you set your mind to it. Here are three versions of this multi-generational favorite.

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Classic Spritz Cookies

To make classic spritz cookies, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Procedure:

  1. 1
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees; use a thermometer if necessary.
    Put your baking rack in the center of the oven.
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  2. 2
    Whisk the flour and salt together.
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  3. 3
    Beat the butter and sugar for about two minutes, or until the mixture turns light and fluffy.
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  4. 4
    Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until everything is well mixed.
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  5. 5
    Bring your beater's speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture.
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  6. 6
    Continue beating only until everything is well incorporated.
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To press cookies:

  1. 1
    Prepare at least two ungreased baking sheets.
    You can line your pans with parchment paper if you like.
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  2. 2
    Place dough into your cookie press.
    (It should have been fitted with the decorative plate you want to use.)
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  3. 3
    Squeeze the trigger with the tip almost, but not quite touching the baking pan while you hold it at a perpendicular angle to the baking sheet.
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  4. 4
    After you squeeze out the first two cookies, see if they hold their shape, with well defined edges.
    If they don't, this means the dough is too soft, and you need to chill the dough for a few minutes before pressing them out.
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  5. 5
    Position your cookies at least an inch apart on the baking sheet.
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  6. 6
    Before baking, you can decorate with nuts, bits of Maraschino cherries, or colored sugar.
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  7. 7
    Bake for 7-9 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies turn very lightly brown.
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  8. 8
    Cool completely on a wire rack.
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Amazingly Old Fashioned Spritz Cookies

This is a recipe from a file that is more than 40 years old. Back then, you went to a store and just bought butter, period. Unsalted butter was rarely, if ever, available. A lot of people were also unafraid to undertake the baking of dozens of cookies without a food processor. Surprisingly, the process is not as difficult or drawn out as it may seem.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 drops lemon extract
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Procedure:

  1. 1
    Beat softened butter about 80 strokes using a soft rubber spatula.
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  2. 2
    Add sugar a tablespoon at a time, and beat with at least 20 strokes after each addition.
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  3. 3
    Add the flavorings.
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  4. 4
    Add the eggs (one at a time) alternating each yolk with about ¼ cup of flour.
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  5. 5
    After you have added all the flour, use a pastry bag and pipe the dough onto ungreased cookie sheets.
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  6. 6
    You can use a ½ inch open star tip to make stars, flowers, or rosettes.
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  7. 7
    Your cookies should have at least an inch of space in between.
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  8. 8
    Decorate with bits of candied peel in Christmas colors.
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  9. 9
    Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or just until the edges of the cookies begin to turn light brown.
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  10. 10
    Cool completely and store in airtight containers.
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Brown Sugar Spritz Cookies

Everyone is becoming more health conscious these days, and fewer people are apt to pick up a cookie for a snack. However, if you make your own cookies, you can come up with a healthier and just as delicious versions of the traditional spritz cookie. Give this recipe a try and have something you can munch on as a treat without feeling guilty.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk, (unsweetened)
  • 4 ½ tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup unrefined organic cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons stevia extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter substitute
  • 1 tablespoon egg replacement
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • ¾ cup sorghum flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
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Procedure:

  1. 1
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Prepare three sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
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  2. 2
    Prepare a larger pastry bag and a large open star tip.
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  3. 3
    Whisk together soy milk, coconut oil, brown sugar, extracts, and salt.
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  4. 4
    In another bowl, whisk together flours, egg substitute, and baking powder.
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  5. 5
    Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, using brisk cut-and-fold motions.
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  6. 6
    Fill your pastry bag with your cookie dough, and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
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  7. 7
    Pipe the dough into desired shapes, and bake for 14 minutes or until edges have turned slightly brown.
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  8. 8
    Cool on a wire rack and either serve immediately or store in airtight containers.
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Packaging Your Spritz Cookies

After you have invested time and effort to make your spritz cookies, it would be a shame to just shovel them off in an ordinary box when you give them away. Here are a few ways you can package them so they are as beautifully put together as they are delicious.

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  • A tube of cookies. Take an old Pringles container and cover it all around with pretty gift wrapping paper or crepe paper in Christmas colors. Top this with a gold ribbon.
  • Brown bags. Put your cookies inside two resealable bags, making sure you have pressed all the air out before closing the bags. Paste on a nice Christmas tag on brown paper bags, fold them over or tie them with red ribbon.
  • A Christmas bowl of cookies. Take a really attractive plastic bowl, and fill it with layers of cookies. Seal the cookies in by wrapping the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, making sure there are no open areas. Take a large sheet of colored cellophane, wrap this over the bowl and secure with a ribbon.
  • A cookie jar. Of course, cookies in their own cookie jar are not just a heartwarming gift; they are also conveniently easy to serve! A nice, big, transparent cookie bar would allow your cookies to shine through immediately, and guarantee the jar will be opened in less than 24 hours.
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Tips for Baking your Spritz Cookies

  • Use only the best ingredients. When you buy vanilla, make sure you do not get anything artificial or synthetic because this will often leave a bitter aftertaste.
  • Make sure your dough is of the right consistency. It should be soft enough to come out of the cookie press easily, but not so soft that the dough cannot hold a well defined shape.
  • If you don't have a cookie press, use a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip, and other tips that will produce the shapes you like.
  • Bake spritz cookies only until the edges of the cookies are tinged with brown.
  • Test your oven temperature before you start baking. If necessary, buy a separate thermometer so you can make sure that your oven is only as warm as it should be.
  • These cookies can be stored about a week at room temperature or they can be frozen to last longer.

Questions and Answers

Is it possible to make butter spritz cookies with coconut oil instead?

I am on a diet and want to make cookies with a healthier oil.. I have tried: I have tried making butter spritz cookies with margarine but fear that this is not much of a healthy substitution either.. I think it was caused by: Butter is not good for high cholesterol but using coconut oil might be safer.

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Coconut oil is, indeed, safer to use in recipes. Butter, which is quite unhealthy, can be replaced with:

  • baby-food (or mashed or blended) prune, avocado, or apple puree: replace butter completely with it (dairy-free, vegan-friendly);
    • please note that cookies will be a bit less crunchy.
  • canola oil: take half the butter out of the recipe and replace it with canola oil (dairy-free, vegan-friendly);
    • alternatively, take 3/4th of the butter and replace it with canola oil completely;
    • you can add a little coconut oil for flavor;
  • Earth Balance products: replace all of the butter with it (vegetarian-friendly);
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Article Info

Categories : Desserts | Holidays & Traditions

Recent edits by: Donna, Alma, Lynn

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