Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday baking: Spritz Cookies

This weekend is what I deem my Holiday Baking weekend.

Each year I take out a big chunk of time to devote to a baking marathon.  One of my favorite things to due during the holiday season is to bake goodies for friends, neighbors, and co-workers.  This all started with a neighbor we had growing up that would deliver a plate of goodies to us each year.  I looked forward to that plate e v e r y  y e a was a tradition and left great memories.

The numbers we have to share with are growing each year as now MGG has about 50 employees or so in addition to mine at work as well.  Plus friends and neighbors.  You get the picture.

This calls for lots and lots of goodies!  So I hunkered down and made 7 different types of goodies and could have kept going but ran out of time!  So this variety will have to do.  Seems like the trick to providing so many different varieties of goodies are to make items that make large quantities, like bars, and that are easy to put together.

Items like fudge, cookies, quick bread loaves, and bark come to mind.  So that's what I did!

First up is are a classic.  Spritz Cookies.  They were on my neighbors annual plate and they are now on mine too.  Without a doubt a tradition.

They are easy to put together, using very few ingredients.  The batter is basically a butter cookie dough that you use with a cookie press.  I actually got a new cookie press this year and I really found it easy to handle. Here is my press!  One trick to the press is to butter the sheets with melted butter so the cookie sticks to it.  This helps, trust me!  Also you need to press down firmly and pull the trigger, then lift straight up.  Practice makes perfect.

Kitchen Tip:  If your dough becomes too warm it will soften and spread, making the cookies come out irregularly shaped, flat, and the dough may ooze out of the press in unwanted spots!  Just refrigerate the dough for about 10 minutes to firm it up and it will work perfectly in your press.

This make a LOT of cookies.  The best part is that I was done from start finish in about 1 hour.  Prepped, baked and cooled!  How is that for quick baking?  Love it...and Love, Love, Love these cookies too! 

Stay tuned for more holiday baking ideas!

Spritz Cookies

Yield:  30 cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
2 cups flour,
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter two baking sheets with melted butter.   

In a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and beat until mixed in.   Add the flour and salt and mix until you have a well mixed dough that comes together.

Add chunks of dough into the tube of your cookie press, that is fitted with a the plate of choice.  Press cookies onto the baking sheet, spacing about 1 – 1 ½” apart.  (If the dough is too soft, because the shape of the cookies is not clearly defined, chill the dough.) If desired, decorate the cookies with sprinkles or jimmies. 

Bake cookies for about 8 minutes or just until the edges of the cookies are barely tinged with brown. Remove from oven and allow to sit on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies keep at room temperature for about 10 days.  Cookie may be frozen for several months. 

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