Monday, February 15, 2010

Buttery Deliciousness

My mother made Spritz every year for her Christmas cookie platter. The memories of watching my mother extrude the dough onto the sheets from her press still live in my mind’s eye. I can taste their buttery richness and savor that taste memory. Crisp, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness!

Spritz make a wonderful addition to any cookie platter. The combination of quick and easy to make combined with great taste make this cookie a baker’s delight. That Spritz also look fantastic is a bonus. Butter must be used in this recipe, and preferably unsalted. It is important not to substitute. Butter is important for flavor, but also the proper texture for extruding and baking. Use pure vanilla extract. Vanilla flavored extract just doesn’t have the same flavor. To make your own colored sugar how-to--click here.

A word about cookie presses. Simple is the by-word here. There are many different types, and I’ve used a number of them. Don’t bother with fancy presses as they just don’t work all that well. Get yourself an old aluminum Mirro model, in my humble opinion, these are the absolute best cookie presses. They aren’t difficult to find. Check yard sales, second hand stores, and antique shops, and they are also plentiful on E-Bay.

There are a number of Spritz recipes in my cookie recipe box, and someday they may be posted here. But, it is the basic simply delicious Scandinavian vanilla Spritz that has the honor of being posted first.

Christmas Tree Spritz

1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature

2/3 c. sugar

3 egg yolks

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2-1/2 c. flour

Preheat oven to 400. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and flavoring and mix thoroughly. Add the flour and mix to combine. Do not over beat. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Fit the cookie press with the Christmas Tree plate. Place one of the portions of dough into the press.

Extrude onto ungreased cookie sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough. Decorate cookies using green tinted sugar, colored nonpareils, and a silver or gold dragee or yellow “deco” star as the “tree topper.” Bake 4 to 6 minutes or until cookie is set. Rotate sheets halfway during baking time. Remove immediately to racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container separated by wax paper. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

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