My grandchildren are growing up and can barely remember the day we made spritz cookies for a television pilot. That day, a seven-member crew moved into my kitchen, gear and all, and in the end, helped us eat the delicious cookies we created. Since then, I won a blue ribbon for this 1940s recipe at a website I enjoy called Just a Pinch.
All of my grandchildren have made spritz cookies with me. Each one had a turn using my press, which we call a cookie gun. Most children’s hands are strong enough to squeeze cookies onto a pan using a press. Enthusiasm trumps perfection when making these cookies. It’s fun to shop around for the perfect press for your needs. On the day we filmed, we tried eight different presses, but one was a clear favourite. Families often pass recipes and presses from one generation to the next. Perfect!
All spritz cookies are made from buttery dough consisting of flour, sugar, eggs, and butter. The dough is forced through a cylinder with a calibrated plunger of some type. The cookies emerge onto the pan in special shapes because they are squeezed through a patterned disk at one end of the cylinder.
The word spritz seems to have come from the German word spritzen, meaning to spray or squirt. In Germany, the popular Christmas confection called Spritzgebäck is made using a cookie press. Although the Germans have been credited with inventing the cookie press, some evidence indicates that the Scandinavians might have been the originators. A little cookie-history controversy is always fun. Food historians seem to agree that the cookie press originated in the 16th Century. I wonder what the inventor was searching for when he or she designed the cookie press. Did he visualize uniform, visually appealing cookies, or was there some thought of mass production? One thing is for certain; if you ever need to produce a pile of treats hastily, the cookie press allows you to do this in under an hour.
Every few decades, the idea of pressing cookies resurges. The Five Roses Cookbook, redesigned and printed in the early sixties, contains two recipes for spritz cookies. Old cookbooks, produced by local ladies’ groups, often provide spritz recipes. Today, you will find spritz cookie recipes on the Internet which contain pumpkin, ginger, chocolate, or cheese.
Every press comes with a booklet of recipes. This is true, even for the oldest press we tried, which dates back to the 1940s. I look for presses with narrower cylinders because they produce small, crisp cookies. In antique stores and at garage sales, you will sometimes find a press still in the manufacturer’s box, with recipes and an original price sticker as low as seventy-nine cents.
Using a cookie press with your children and grandchildren can be the start of a memorable afternoon. Make the dough (no chilling required), press and bake the cookies, dust them with icing sugar, and then have a tea party. Let the children serve, using your finest dishes, teapots, and teaspoons. They can practise pouring from various teapots, and once they have eaten their fill of cookies, they can wrap some to give to others. Encourage the use of good manners and fabulous conversation, and above all, have fun!
My spritz cookie recipe was passed down from my girlfriend’s mom to her, and from me to my daughters, and now to you. I won a Blue Ribbon for Marion's Mom's Spritz Cookies recipe from Just a Pinch. Their test kitchen coloured their dough green and made Christmas trees. They were festive, and I am glad they gave this amazing recipe a ribbon!
Marion’s Mom’s Spritz Cookies
(Each of my grandchildren, while still preschool age, made these cookies.)
1 cup of butter
1 cup of white sugar
1½ teaspoons of vanilla
2 eggs, unbeaten
3 cups of flour
¼ teaspoon of salt
Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add eggs and beat well.
Add flour and salt and mix until blended.
Press through a cookie maker onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake the cookies at 375°F for 10 to12 minutes.
Cooking time varies with the type of pan and oven used. Also, cookie presses produce varying sizes of cookies, requiring different cooking times. Check on them often.
Leave the cookies on the pan for three minutes after removing them from the oven. Then place them on a wire cooling rack. Sprinkle the cookies with icing sugar. These cookies can be frozen, but they keep well in a tin for a week. After a week, the tin is usually empty.
A serving of these delightful treats should be about one ounce, but the boy from the Get a Bigger Wagon stories thinks that is completely inadequate.
Watch me make spritz cookies with my grandchildren HERE.
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