Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Mamma's Holiday Butter Spritz Cookies

First, let me wish you all a Merry Christmas! :-)
From the past 2 years, I have started the tradition of gifting my dear ones a box of organic, homemade cookies. All this has started after I got myself this Cookie press. It is nothing but a small pump with steel cut-out discs to shape cookies into different shapes. But, the main pro on having a Cookie Press is that, it makes it a cakewalk to make cookies in large numbers without compromising on the shape and taste that gets affected when you are doing  it in batches, by hand.

My cookies are inspired by those tinned Danish Sugar Cookies that you get around Christmas season. I love them but don't trust the processed stuff that we get here in U.S. So I decided to make them at home. I used the base recipe provided by my Cookie press booklet but altered the butter and sugar to my taste.
And in case, you don't have a cookie press, by all means make these and roll them into a log, freeze then slice and bake. You will have perfect little round bite sized cookies, without the fancy shapes.
Here is my tried and tested recipe:

1 1/2 cup softened salted butter (3 sticks)
1.5 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs/ egg substitute
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 385 °F. (This is what works for me. Read tips below)
Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, then add the eggs and beat well.
Add the vanilla and combine but do not beat too much. Over-mixing after adding vanilla might get some of the alcohol in it to evaporate and reduce the aroma.

Sift the flour and make a well in the center. Add the liquid ingredients and mix with an electric mixer until a soft but non-sticky dough is formed. Roll the dough into logs fitting the cylinder of the cookie press. Keep the dough covered to keep it from getting dry.
Now fill the cookie press with a log of dough and in a CLEAN and COLD  cookie sheet, press the designs on. Bake for 7 minutes and cool down pan between bakes.

I have 4 cookie sheets and I use 2 alternately to optimize time. After every bake, wipe down the cookie sheet with a clean towel, to remove residual grease.

Repeat until the dough is all used up.
This will make about 6-8 dozen cookies. You can easily halve the recipe, if you need a smaller batch. But these will last long in an air-tight container, on your counter. So go ahead, and fill up that cookie jar with these dainty beauties.
Some tips while using cookie presses for baking:
1. Stick to the proportions, strictly.
2. Use a clean and cool cookie sheet every time as you pipe out the designs on.
3. Different ovens work differently. Find out the right spritz temperature in which the cookies neither browns at the bottom nor remains uncooked. Start at 350 and increase upwards by 15 degrees. It should be somewhere between 350 and 400 degree Fahrenheit.
4. These cookies are soft chewy ones. You could crunch them up by arranging the entire lot in a cooling rack and baking them at 275 for 10-15 minutes.
5. Pretty them up further by studding the piped out cookie dough with sprinkles or sugar crystals.

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