Buttery and tender spritz cookies are a Christmas tradition in many homes. Give them as gifts, or offer them to guests at holiday gatherings. Made with simple inexpensive ingredients, these delectable cookies are as much fun to make as they are to eat. You can make several different shapes of spritz cookies with a cookie press merely by changing the decorative plate at one end and then pressing the dough through. If you don't have a cookie press, use a pastry bag fitted with a large star-shaped tube (#4).
Specialty tools: Cookie press or pastry bag fitted with a large star-shaped tube (#4)
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 dozen
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Using a mixer, beat the butter in a large mixing bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and mix together until smooth. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the egg with the vanilla and add to the butter mixture. Stir to blend well. Combine the salt with the flour and add in three stages, blending well after each addition. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Transfer the dough to the cookie press and press cookies out onto the cookie sheet, leaving 1 inch between them. Bake for 10 minutes, until golden. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and transfer the cookies from the parchment paper to cooling racks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Freeze for longer storage.
You can make some delicious variations of Spritz Cookies by adding different flavorings like spices, chocolate, and citrus to the basic cookie dough. For Anise Spritz, add 1 tablespoon crushed anise seed to the flour mixture. For Chocolate Spritz, add 3 ounces melted and cooled semisweet chocolate to the butter mixture. For Orange Spritz, add 1 tablespoon finely minced orange zest to the butter mixture.