Almond Spritz Cookies (Spritzgebäck)

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This was one of my mom's favorite Christmas cookies when I was growing up. At the time, I would eat a few, but preferred sweater cookies. As I got older, I found myself gravitating more and more the the spritz. This year, during a snowstorm I really got a craving for them, so I went on a quest to find a half-way decent cookie press during a break in the weather, so I could make some spritz. I lucked out and found one on sale at Kohl's, and set to work to restart the tradition.

Spritz has got to be one of the easiest cookies to make. The only concerns are that the dough doesn't get too warm, and that it is the right consistency to work with your cookie press.

Servings:
About 3 dozen
Preparation Time:
30-45 minutes
Tools
  • Cookie press
  • Baking sheets
  • Mixer (optional)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups AP flour
Cooking Instructions
  1. Preheat your over to 375 F
  2. Let your butter warm up till it is a little colder than room temperature. Cream your butter and sugar, either by hand or with a mixer. I prefer my hand mixer for this instead of using my stand mixer.
  3. Mix in the egg, salt and extracts.
  4. Start mixing in the flour a little at a time. I usually mix in one cup with the mixer, then use my hands for the rest. You want a reasonably stiff dough that forms a smooth ball, but is still moist. Once you get to 2 1/2 cups, you should add the flour only 1 tablespoon at a time. If it starts to feel like the butter is melting onto your hands, put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes to cool off.
  5. Put the dough into the refrigerator for about 4 minutes.
  6. Load up your cookie press and push out the shapes onto an ungreased cookie sheet. If your press comes with pastry tips, you can use a star shaped one to make letters or other shapes, otherwise use whatever shapes come with your press.
  7. If you want to sprinkle sugar on top, now is the time. I prefer them plain, but you can try them both ways.
  8. Bake them at 375 for 6 to 8 minutes. They have distinctly different flavors before and after they start getting a little brown around the edges, so I suggest you try them both ways. You get a lot more of the flavor from the butter and the extracts if you pull them out right before any browning starts. After they brown, the sugar becomes the dominant flavor.