Spritz Butter Cookies

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I have had difficulty with cookie press dough in the past. The consistency of this dough was absolutely perfect and easy to punch through the press. So, of course, the new problem was that half of my little Christmas tree cookies had a practically unrecognizable shape! I opted to make these little “wreaths”- and had absolutely no issues with the shape. 🙂 This recipe was adapted from the Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. According to the author, the cornstarch makes the cookies more delicate and easier to push through the cookie press.

These were my husband’s favorite Christmas cookie this year; they reminded him of “fresh” Danish butter cookies. Buttery with a hint of almond. Lovely!

  • 44 g (1/2 cup minus 1 T/1.5 oz) blanched sliced almonds
  • 257 g (9.1 oz/2 cups plus 2 T) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 30 g (1 oz/1/4 cup) cornstarch
  • a pinch of fine sea salt
  • 150 g (5.3 oz/3/4 cup) superfine sugar
  • 2 sticks (16 T/8 oz/227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pure almond extract
  • sugar sprinkles for decorating, optional
  1. Set an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (convection) for 30 minutes or longer before baking.
  2. Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, or until pale gold. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid over browning. Cool completely.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt.
  4. In a food processor, process the almonds until fairly fine. (They have to be able to squeeze through the cookie press!)
  5. Whisk the almonds into the flour mixture.
  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater, beat the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  7. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat for 30 seconds, or until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  8. Add the flour mixture and pulse in just until blended. Do not over mix.
  9. Scrape the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and use the outside of the plastic wrap to knead together the dough until it is completely even and soft enough to pipe smoothly.
  10. Form sections of the dough into a log and put into the tube of a cookie press. (Cover remaining dough.)
  11. Using the press, place cookies on parchment-lined cookie sheets 1-inch apart.
  12. Decorate with sugar sprinkles, if using.
  13. Bake cookies for 6 to 7 minutes (convection) or up to 10 to 12 minutes in a standard oven, or until pale gold.
  14. Cool on a wire rack.

Note: Cookies can be stored airtight at room temperature for 1 month; refrigerated or frozen for 6 months.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Chewy Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies

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I had pretty much finished my holiday baking but decided that a gingerbread or molasses cookie was missing from my assortment. Last year I made gingerbread cutouts- but basically was out of steam to make them this year. :/ I was searching my cookbook library and the internet for the perfect molasses drop cookie when this one magically appeared in my WordPress Reader. Yay! They looked perfect and sounded wonderful. Thanks, Suzanne! This recipe was adapted from Food 52 via A Pug in the Kitchen.

When measuring with molasses, I always coat the measuring cup with cooking spray- it glides right out like magic. 🙂 I also grind whole cloves in a spice grinder. Whole cloves are less expensive and have a much longer shelf life. Freshly ground spices have so much more flavor too.

Yield: Makes 24 to 30 cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (I grind whole cloves)
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • turbinado or granulated sugar, for rolling
  1. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, salt and cloves in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar together in bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, 3 minutes.
  3. Add egg and molasses. Mix to combine well.
  4. Stir in dry ingredients. Do not over mix. Refrigerate the batter for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 F (convection). Scoop dough with a cookie scoop and roll dough into 1 1/2″ balls.
  6. Coat dough balls in turbinado or granulated sugar.
  7. Arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and gently flatten, just barely I use 2 fingers and lightly push on the dough.
  8. Bake in oven until set and crinkled on top, about 12 minutes. Remove and cool.

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One Year Ago:

Christmas Cookies 2014

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My kids are at the perfect age to deliver Christmas cookies to our neighbors- and they LOVE doing it! Fun! 🙂 Unfortunately, my husband has to do the delivering to his co-workers. Some jobs in life are tough. 🙂

This year, I added spritz butter cookies and chewy ginger spiced molasses cookies to my assortment (posts to follow). The spritz cookies are my husband’s new favorite cookie, but meringues are still my kids’ favorite. I love them all! Happy Holidays!

Center:

Chewy Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies (2x recipe)

Clockwise from the Top:

Pecan Shortbread Cookies (4x recipe- two batches of 2x recipe)

Haystacks (2x recipe)

Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps (4x recipe)

Spritz Butter Cookies (2x recipe)

Lemon Butter Cookies (2x recipe)

Raspberry Meringue Kisses (2x recipe)

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

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Christmas Cookies 2013

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I love giving out – and baking- Christmas cookies. We share them with family, friends, neighbors, teachers, and co-workers. The whole family is involved in the distribution process! 🙂

I wish that I had time to bake more cookies!! I try to add one new cookie each year- this year my daughter chose gingerbread boys and girls. She loved them. 🙂 The only constants are Raspberry Meringue Kisses and Haystacks which are a family tradition dating back to my grandmother. They are my kids’ favorites!

Raspberry Meringue Kisses (2x recipe)

Haystacks (2x recipe)

Gingerbread with Royal Icing (1x recipe)

Pecan Shortbread (3x recipe)

Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps (4x recipe)

One Year Ago:

Christmas Cookies 2012

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Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing

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I know that my Christmas cookie posts are belated, but I am sure that someone is still baking! 🙂 I wish that I had more time to make so many new varieties of cookies but this was my only new cookie this year.

My daughter was begging for gingerbread girls and boys to be included in the Christmas cookie lineup! 🙂 They may have surpassed Raspberry Meringues as her favorite too. (She would have been in big trouble if she hadn’t loved them– they require quite a bit of work!) This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. They have a wonderful and deep gingerbread flavor from the addition of fresh ginger.

For the Cookies:

  • 3 1/2 cups (or 14.87 oz) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 T plus 1 tsp grated, peeled, fresh ginger
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • Royal Icing, for decorating (recipe below)

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  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, and cloves; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, both sugars, and fresh ginger on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Beat in egg and molasses to combine. With mixer on low-speed, gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and shape into flattened disks; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with the racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  6. Remove dough from the refrigerator, and let stand until slightly softened. (This will help keep the dough from cracking when rolled.) On a large piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour- or between two large pieces of plastic wrap- roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick. To prevent sticking while rolling on parchment, occasionally run a large offset spatula under dough, and add more flour. (I don’t find this necessary when using plastic wrap.)  Stack cookie dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet covered with plastic wrap. Freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes.
  7. Remove dough from freezer; working quickly, cut out with cookie cutters. (If the dough begins to soften too much, return to the freezer for a few minutes.) Using a wide metal spatula, transfer cutouts to prepared baking sheets; chill until firm, about 15 minutes. (I stack the cut cookie dough on a plastic wrap lined baking sheet, placing plastic wrap between layers; chill 15 minutes to overnight.)
  8. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are crisp but not darkened, 7 to 8 minutes for small cutouts (on convection) and up to 15 minutes for large shapes. Transfer parchment and cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired with Royal Icing, if using. Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

For the Royal Icing:

  • 1/4  pound confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/4 T meringue powder
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar, meringue powder, and a scant 2 T water on low-speed.  Beat until mixture is fluffy yet dense, 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. Pipe onto cookies. Icing can be thinned for flooding, adding 1 tsp water at a time, if desired.

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

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These delicious cookies are loaded with vanilla flavor because the dough is mixed with an entire vanilla bean as well as vanilla extract. Before baking, the outside of each cookie is coated with turbinado sugar which provides sparkle and crunch.

I have made them several times and love them. 🙂  I find that cookies that contain confectioners’ sugar are more delicate than those with granulated sugar- wonderful. Before refrigerating the dough “log”, I wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in a recycled wrapping paper tube to help maintain the round shape. This recipe was adapted from The Craft of Baking, via Food and Wine, contributed by Karen Demasco (a “staff-favorite” recipe). They would be wonderful holiday cookies.

  • Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies
  • 3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons demerara or turbinado sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the chopped pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 6 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, vanilla extract and salt at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the flour in 3 batches, beating at low speed until just incorporated. Discard the vanilla bean. Stir in the pecans.
  3. Transfer the dough to a work surface and roll into a 1 1/2-inch-thick log. Wrap the log in plastic or parchment paper and refrigerate for about 1 hour, until chilled. IMG_5159
  4. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the turbinado sugar on a platter. Brush the log with the egg yolk and roll in the sugar. Slice the log into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart.
  5. Bake the shortbread cookies for about 13 to 15 minutes (on convection), until the edges are golden; rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let stand until cooled completely, about 30 minutes, before serving.

Make ahead: The cookie dough can be frozen for up to 1 month.

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One Year Ago: 

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