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Spritz cookies are a classic Christmas cookie! With roots in Germany and Scandinavia, they're a simple butter cookie pressed into festive shapes and topped with all sorts of garnishes.
Photography Credit:Elise Bauer
This cookie is my other favorite Christmas cookie, along with walnut snowballs. I am sure my mum made all kinds of Christmas cookies over the years, but none were as memorable as these two.
Spritz, she called them, and little did I know that this was far more than a pet name she had for the cookie.
Spritz Cookies: A Timeless Classic
Flash forward 20 years, and here I am, looking to make these cookies again. I asked mum for her recipe and she gave it to me, and I then began researching this cookie.
Wow! I had no idea spritz was one of the most popular cookies in all Cookiedom, made in thousands of variations of shape, ingredient and garnish.
I was blown away, but I needed to make mum’s version, which is a very simple butter cookie with a little vanilla added, topped with red or green colored sugar or a piece of walnut. Only thing was, mum warned, I’d need a cookie press.
The Cookie Press Difference
Huh. I remember hers, a brass thing that looked like a fancy caulking gun. I reckoned I could do the same with a piping bag and a star tip.
So we went out and bought a cookie press, and then found out that using one requires practice and skill. After much fiddling, I learned to make decent enough cookies, but I’m certainly no expert.
So here it is: My mum’s spritz recipe. Simple, archaic—no mixer needed, just use your hands—but light, rich and full of memories. Surely there must be some of you out there who make spritz, right? How are yours different?
LOOKING FOR MORE COOKIES FOR YOUR COOKIE TRAY?
- Chocolate Crinkles
- Walnut Snowball Cookies
- Thumbprint Cookies
- Gingerbread Men Cookies
- Holiday Pinwheel Cookies
Here’s all of our Christmas Cookies—in case you want even more ideas!
Spritz Cookies Recipe
Make sure your butter has warmed to room temperature before making this recipe. It matters a lot!
For the Cookies:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour or cake flour
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small cubes
- Colored sugar
- Pieces of nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, etc)
- Maraschino cherries
- Powdered sugar
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2 Make the cookie dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl, then sprinkle with vanilla extract.
Crack the egg into the center of the bowl and then dot the flour mixture with the pieces of butter. Mix everything together with your clean hands until you get a dough.
Try not to knead it too much, as you will then make tough cookies. You just want everything to come together cohesively.
3 Press dough through a cookie press: You will need a cookie press to make traditional spritz. Put on the die of your choice—I like a star or snowflake pattern—then load the press with the dough. Ratchet out the dough onto an un-greased cookie sheet. This takes practice, so be prepared to mess a bunch up at first.
Just return the not-so-good ones back to the dough ball and run it through again. Some people like larger cookies that require 2-3 cranks, others just one; this makes a dainty cookie. My mum sometimes twisted her wrist a little when making these to get a swirly pattern going on.
4 Bake: Bake the cookies at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. As they bake, get your garnish of choice ready, because you will need to act fast once they come out of the oven.
5 Sprinkle with toppings: As soon as the cookies are done—they will not brown, so don't wait for that to happen—take the cookies out and garnish them. My favorite toppings are colored sugar and pieces of walnut stuck in the center of a star pattern.
6 Cool: Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully move them to a rack. Let them cool completely before putting the cookies away. They freeze well.
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A cookie press enables you to customize the color, flavor, and shape of Spritz cookies, making it one of the easiest ways to bake a wide variety of cookie designs all at once. Use the festive disk designs to press the cookies, then top with your choice of colorful sugars, sprinkles, nuts, and more!
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to spice up your holiday baking, Spritz cookies are the answer! Made using a cookie press and a variety of disks, these cookies are a holiday staple friends, family and Santa himself will love.
Classic Spritz Cookies
We’re celebrating all things cookies today! Remember how I said I was ready to start holiday baking? Well, cookies have definitely been a part of that holiday baking.
(This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. As always, all opinions are my own.)
I’m partnering with Bob’s Red Mill and their United States of Cookies. 50 different cookies that represent all 50 states.
Every state has something that makes it special and unique, and we’re celebrating those differences in cookie form!
When I think of a cookie that can be found at just about every holiday party and gathering in Minnesota, I immediately think of classic spritz cookies.
They are everywhere this time of year. You’ll find them at your office party, your family Christmas, and at your local grocery store.
Which makes sense when you think about the fact that spritz cookies are a traditional Christmas cookie in Scandinavian countries. Basically 1/3 of Minnesotans are Scandinavian!
If you’re from Minnesota, you probably know just which Scandinavian countries your family and your in-law’s family are from (there will probably be a lot of teasing when it isn’t the same country!)!
Spritz cookies actually come from a German word meaning “to spritz”, but are typically known as Swedish or Norwegian cookies. These fun little cookies show up in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors.
Some recipes call for confectioner’s sugar, while others call for granulated sugar. Some call for a combination of vanilla extract and almond extract while others only call for one or the other. There are even some variations that call for crushed almonds.
When looking through my recipe box at the recipes I’ve collected from family and friends, I discovered that no two were the same. So, I went with a combination.
I started with Bob’s Red Mill organic unbleached all-purpose flour as the base. This flour is a kitchen staple that is incredibly versatile and perfect for all of your baking needs, especially baking cookies.
To that I added granulated sugar instead of confectioner’s sugar and a combination of both vanilla and almond extract. More vanilla than almond.
The result? A soft dough that was easy to use in the cookie press and a baked cookie that is not too sweet, just the right amount of crunchy chewy, and perfectly buttery!
Since each batch makes a lot of cookies, you only have to make one batch of dough in order to have enough cookies to serve at your next holiday party!
Get creative with food coloring if you want to dye the dough to match the shape, stick to using different colored sprinkles, or even leave them plain.
Spritz cookies are crumbly, simple, and iconic, especially when shared in Christmas cookie boxes. Originating in Germany and Scandinavia in the 16th century, these cookies are extruded from a piece of kitchen equipment that gives them their unique shape. For whatever reason, the cookie press (the kitchen tool required to make spritz cookies) spiked in popularity in America from the 60s to the 90s, leaving most of us nostalgically craving this type of sugar cookie come the holidays. The good news is that a cookie press is a really affordable piece of kitchen equipment, and that the cookie dough that goes into the press is one of the easiest doughs to make. The dough takes no more than 5 minutes to come together, and then it&rsquos just a matter of picking the patterns you want for your cookies and pushing the cookie dough into the cookie press. The only trick when making spritz cookies is to break one of the rules of cookie making&mdashuse an ungreased baking sheet and do not use parchment paper. The cookie dough has to stick to the baking sheet&rsquos surface when it&rsquos extruded from the cookie press, and if the cookie sheet is coated in oil, the cookie will not take its proper shape. Lastly, once the cookies have cooled, simply brush the cookies with a small amount of light corn syrup to help colorful holiday sprinkles to stick to the cookies.
- 10 oz. (2 1/2 sticks butter or 300 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 oz. + 1 heaping tablespoon (100 g / 3/4 cup +1 tablespoon) powdered sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons whole milk (full cream milk)
- 3 tablespoons baking milk powder, optional
- 11 oz. (310 g / 2 cups + 3 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
- 4 oz cornstarch (110 g or 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup)
- holiday-themed sprinkles
- In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter with sugar, egg yolk, salt and vanilla extract until fluffy. Add in the milk, baking milk powder (if using) and mix well.
- Slowly add in the all-purpose flour and cornstarch, beat until the dough becomes soft and not stick to hands.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silplat. Cover the dough with a plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Transfer the cookie dough to a cooking press, following the instructions of your cookie press. Choose a festive disk, such as a Christmas tree. Punch out the cookies on the prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart between cookies. Add sprinkles on top of the cookies. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes, or until cookies are turn very light brown in color and the inside is cooked through. Cool the cookies on rack. Keep in an air-tight containers for storing.
How It&rsquos Made
There are a few different kinds of classic spritz cookies. My preference is to make cream cheese spritz cookies. I find that cream cheese-based cookie batter (like the batter I use for my chocolate rugelach) is always extra rich and tangy.
Start by mixing butter, cream cheese, and sugar together until light and fluffy. This takes about three minutes using an electric mixer on high speed.
Mix in egg yolk and vanilla. To get a stronger vanilla flavor, try using vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla with the paste, you&rsquoll get actual specks of vanilla bean throughout the cookies.
Whisk flour and salt together.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients a little bit at a time until just combined.
Using a cookie press fitted with your favorite design, press cookies directly onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
This photo was from before we learned that you should press directly onto the cookie sheet. There is no need to use a silicone mat.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden.
Cool on a cookie sheet for a few minutes. Then, transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
What is a spritz cookie?
Spritz cookies are similar to both sugar cookies and shortbread cookies. They are buttery and show off a beautiful intricate design.
The term “Spritz” is taken from the German word that means to squirt. As you “squirt” out each beautiful cookie you can see how it lives up to its name.
These cookies instantly transport me to my childhood. We made these every year during Christmas time. I love to color the dough and creating magical shapes. They are the BEST warm out of the oven, but they also make a perfectly delish dipping cookie to go with your milk.
- 1 ½ cups butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- Colored sugar (optional)
- 1 recipe Powdered Sugar Icing (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, vanilla, and, if desired, almond extract until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.
Force unchilled dough through a cookie press onto an ungreased cookie sheet. If desired, sprinkle cookies with colored sugar. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm but not brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. If desired, drizzle cookies with Powdered Sugar Icing.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 ¼ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Assorted sprinkles or sanding sugar
Position rack in middle of oven preheat to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add egg and vanilla and almond extracts, beating until blended.
Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl add to butter mixture gradually, beating on low speed until blended. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Press the dough into desired shapes, using a cookie press according to manufacturer's instructions. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. (Keep the remaining dough covered and refrigerated until ready to use.) Decorate with sprinkles (or sanding sugar), if desired.
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until just set and lightly browned around edges, 9 to 10 minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes on the pan, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Tips: Try these variations on the basic spritz cookie:
Citrus Spritz Cookies: Omit almond extract add 1 tsp. each lemon zest and orange zest with flour.
Spiced Spritz Cookies: Add 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg with flour.
Glazed Spritz Cookies: Combine 1 cup confectioner's sugar, 2 Tbsp. whole milk and 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract stir until smooth. Brush the glaze over the cooled cookies.
Equipment: Parchment paper cookie press
To make ahead: Store in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 3 days.