Spritz cookies are definitely a holiday tradition. It doesn’t matter whether you are making cute little Christmas trees or pretty pink poinsiettias. They are a fun cookie to make. I’ve eaten them for years and not just at the holidays. My third grandmother used to press them out of the little star shaped disc and made long wavy shapes. They were always kept in a shoebox lined with wax paper and they were always available when we dropped by for a visit. So Christmas cookies aren’t just for Christmas anymore! In our case, they were Jewish cookies because no one told us any different.
It is often debated whether Spritz cookies are German or Swedish. I don’t really care! Either way they are delish. However, I did learn that spritz is a German word for squirt and since you “squirt them out” onto a cookie sheet, maybe they really are German. I can also remember a Yiddish word used in such a way that it meant you were sweating or perspiring. Like in, “It’s hot today. I’m really spritzen.” And I also remember my kids fighting and asking each other (when they were really upset), “Now you gonna squirt a little?” I guess they could have just substituted the word spritzen. It has a nicer ring to it don’t you think?
Regardless, these cookies are a way to get your holiday baking started. They keep for a good while in an airtight container and they can also be frozen. This year I tried the star shape that my Ilse used to use. They are fun to do and then I chose to douse them with powdered sugar, though it isn’t necessary. And I will say that her Spritz cookies were always golden.
Ilse would also tell you that there is no need for a mixer to make these. Just put all your ingredients in a bowl and mush everything up with your hands. Since this is what she used to do, I know it works. This seems like a good way to teach your kids about baking! I tried baking them lightly colored and also until they were more golden all over. Personally, since I didn’t dye the dough I like the golden ones better. It really brings out the butter flavor when you bake them longer. And we all know just how good butter is!
(unfortunately not Ilse’s recipe as I never got it!)
2 sticks butter
1 1/2t vanilla
1 egg-extra large or jumbo
2 1/2 c flour
Preheat oven to 400 with rack in the center of oven.
In mixer, cream the butter. Add vanilla and sugar and beat well. Beat in egg. On lowest speed gradually add flour, scraping the bowl and beating until smooth.
Press dough through a cookie press. No, it doesn’t always come out perfect the first time but you can reuse the dough. Do not press onto a warm cookie sheet either. You can dye this dough and decorate it before baking. Or you can do like I did which is just to squirt them out and sprinkle with sugar when warm.
Bake for about 10 minutes, more or less.
Clean up and get ready for the next round!
Camera just ran out of battery!
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