Last year I acquired my Great Aunt Geral's cookie press. I hadn't used it all year so I was determined to give it a try for Christmas. Looking at the assortment of dies that came along with the press, the Christmas tree was the obvious choice.
Take a look at some of these options though: dog, camel, butterfly, clover, spade? What would you ever use a camel for?! Where are the Christmas dies I would have thought were included with the cookie press like the wreath and the snowflake? At least the heart and clover give me an excuse to whip up some spritz cookies for other holidays. I think the two oddball tips in the top left are for frosting.
I was a little nervous to try spritz cookies because of the bad experience using a different cookie press a few years ago. I am happy to report that I didn't have any trouble this time around. I don't know if it was the cookie press, the recipe, the temperature of the dough or having perfect conditions all around, but getting the dough out of the press and onto the baking sheet was a breeze. And there was minimal dough pushed behind the inside plate (which was the major problem I had when I tried that other cookie press).
When I was making these cookies, Kevin said he didn't like spritz cookies, but it turns out he likes these ones. He can't keep his hands off them! It turns out that these are my dad's favorite Christmas cookie (they remind him of his childhood). I had no idea! Needless to say spritz cookies will be added to my holiday must-bake list.
Butter Spritz Cookies
Adapted from Emily at Sugar Plum
Yield: Emily says 4 dozen, but I got about 6 dozen small cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (this is very important!)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
Colored sugar or sprinkles (if desired)
Preheat oven to 350. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg and desired amount of food coloring until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture until just combined.
Put on your die of choice, then fill the cookie press with dough. Form* the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle your garnish on the cookies if using. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool 1-2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
* The cookie press I have uses a method where you turn the knob at the end, other types of presses use a trigger method. For my particular model, I had to turn the knob about a quarter turn, then lift up for smaller cookies. It seems that most cookies presses available today are the trigger type. Use one crank for smaller cookies and 2-3 cranks for larger cookies.