Showing posts with label Spritz cookies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spritz cookies. Show all posts

Monday, December 5, 2016

Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies

Every year I bake at least one batch of spritz cookies. They have a tendency to be a little dry, so I was excited to find a recipe using cream cheese in The Best of Fine Cooking's Cookies 2014. They say the recipe has been around since the 1960's, so it may be familiar to some of you.

The texture and taste remind me a little bit of shortbread. I didn't monkey with the recipe much, except to add 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom for flavor.

They recommend shaping the dough into a log and putting it into the cookie press, but that seemed like extra work to me. I just jammed it in with an iced tea spoon (long-handled teaspoon) like I always do and it worked fine.

You can bake them plain or dress them up. I tried both ways and there's not much difference. To dress them up, brush the tops with a little egg white before baking, then sprinkle with sugar, colored sugar or little edible pearls. But beware. They have to be baked on a cold (not hot from the oven) cookie sheet. Not greased. No parchment paper. If the egg white rolls down to the baking sheet, it will glue the cookie to the sheet, making it hard to remove without breaking it. So don't go overboard with the egg white!

These would be great to make with older kids who can handle the spritz press.

Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
2 1/2 cups flour

1 egg white, beaten (optional)
cookie decorations like sugar, colored sugar, or edible pearls (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.

Cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Beat for 4 to 5 minutes until fluffy. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and cardamom. Beat to combine. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time and beat.

Fit a star onto the spritz press. Spoon in the dough and press out star cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet. If decorating them, brush a bit of egg white on the tops of the cookies and sprinkle with sugar or pearls.

Bake 10-14 minutes, only until the edges begin to brown a bit. Cool on a rack.

Beat 4-5 minutes to get it fluffy.

It makes a lot of cookies!

See the egg white oozing onto the baking sheet? Don't do that!!!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Spritz Cookies

I’ve whined about the lack of good food in my town (while it has a population of over 20,000 people, they’re spread over a lot of area, with bogs in between, and the town center has one stoplight and one main street—and too few restaurants). This is the town where I was served a deep-fried lobster: a whole lobster, shell and all, dipped in batter and thrown into the fryer. Not exactly gourmet.

But I may have to change my mind. Last weekend I attended the third annual Herring Run Festival. Yes, this town has herring, and has had for centuries. They even have a herring ladder, where in a good year you can watch a whole lot of herring leaping their way up on the way to…wherever herring go. People used to bring bushel baskets and collect them—for free.

This year the herring came and went a bit early, but the food vendors appeared for the festival instead. And I was impressed. There were jelly makers and cookie and bread bakers and lobster rolls and cheese and barbecue and burgers and more. Hallelujah, the town has discovered food! The place was crowded, with people of all ages, and they looked happy.

No, I don’t know how to cook herring (also known as alewives, if you’re looking at an old history book). Unless I catch my own, I’m not going to find some anyway(except pickled ones in a jar). But you already know I’m a sucker for cookies, so…meet Spritzal, a small company which celebrated its second birthday this month. They had a booth at the Herring Festival.

I was attracted by the name first. Spritzal cookies are an updated version of traditional spritz cookies. I know spritz cookies because I had a Swedish (step-)grandmother who made them from scratch every Christmas. In fact, I inherited her cookie press and have used it to make my own spritz. But the vendor said that the pressed form of the cookies is difficult to handle and relatively fragile, so it wouldn’t pack well to ship to stores. Rolling and cutting them out makes them easier to package and deliver, without losing any of the flavor or texture. 

Looks well-used, doesn't it?

It’s a simple recipe, with only five ingredients: flour, butter, sugar and eggs, plus whatever flavoring you choose. I went for the lemon cranberry version, which includes lemon extract and dried cranberries (another local touch! Have I mentioned that we’re the corporate home of Ocean Spray?).

I found my grandmother’s press, which still has the original recipes in the box, including one for spritz cookies. But that one called for shortening (no!) and almond extract (traditional, but not the flavor I was looking for), so I swapped in butter. And I’m going to try rolling them this time.

Lemon Cranberry Spritz Cookies (a la Spritzal)


1 cup (salted) butter (2 sticks/half a 
pound. If you're worried about the fat content, go for half shortening and half butter.)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Dash of salt
1 tsp lemon extract
1 cup dried cranberries (not the sugared kind)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. You don’t need to grease your cookie sheets because there’s so much butter in the recipe, but you can use parchment paper.

Cream the butter. Add the sugar gradually and beat until light.

Add the egg and beat well.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then add to the mixture. Add the lemon extract.

By hand, mix in the dried cranberries (don’t use fresh ones or you’ll end up with a soggy mess!).

Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut out your cookies (I used a 3” round cutter). Place on the baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Let cool on a rack.

The original recipe says this makes about 5 dozen pressed cookies. This made just shy of two dozen largish cookies. Choose a smaller cookie cutter and you'd get more, but keep them simple, because you have to cut through the cranberries.

It’s tax day, so indulge yourself with cookies! And if you don’t feel like making them yourself, order them from Spritzal!

In case you're wondering, this is not a paid endorsement (we wouldn't do that at MLK!). These cookies are just plain good!

Dead End Street, coming in less than two months! (Sorry, there are no cookies in this book.)

Nell Pratt wants to save the city of Philadelphia, or at least a tiny part of it. Can she make it happen?

You can pre-order it at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Hazelnut Cookies

This Christmas cookie recipe is one that my mother made every year when I was growing up.  In German, they're called Spritzgebäck. You might know them as Spritz Cookies.

They aren't difficult to make but you do need to have a large star tip and a pastry bag or a cookie press. They're most commonly seen in S-shapes or crescents. This recipe also includes finely ground hazelnuts, which is why you need the large star tip. Even if the nuts are very fine, they could clog anything smaller. While the original recipe does mention grinding them with a mortar and pestle, I find my handy dandy food processor or blender much faster and easier.

The chocolate dip isn't required at all. I dip about half of them because I like the chocolate. I think the chocolate also makes for a nice presentation. The original chocolate for dipping was made with cocoa powder and was a bit of a mess. I prefer simply melting chocolate chips. It's easier and tastes great!

Hazelnut Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter (8 ounces), softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup hazelnuts, finely ground

2/3 - 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time, beating in between. Add the hazelnuts and beat.

Attach a large star tip to a cookie press or pastry bag. Load with the dough and press into crescents or S-shapes about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until the cookies are light golden brown.

Move to a cooling rack immediately.  When cool, microwave the chocolate chips in 40 second bursts, stirring in between. Dip half the cookie in the chocolate. Dry on a rack with plastic wrap, aluminum foil or wax paper underneath to catch drips.

Grind the hazelnuts.

The dough will be a little stiff.

Cool on a rack.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of our readers! May your holiday be full of joy, special moments, and the warmth and love of family and friends.