Thursday, January 20, 2011

Valentines Day Spritz Cookies

Today, I was busy getting ready for Valentine’s Day.  I think Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that you LOVE or that you dismiss.  It seems like a lot of people call it a “hallmark holiday”  and don’t think that it really counts.  I’ve always been wrapped up in it.  Yes, you can say that you shouldn’t have to have a day to tell people that you love them, I certainly tell mine that I love them many times a day.  But isn’t it fun to make a whole special day just for that…for LOVE!  I think it is!  I love all the hearts and sparkles of the holiday, the cute stuffed animals, the flowers, the chocolates.  It’s a FUN day, that I LOVE to celebrate!  So in honor of the big day coming up in about a month, Miss Lily and I decided to make some Valentines Day Spritz cookies.

The recipe for these cookies came from my step-mother in law.  Every year at Christmas, her, her cousin, mother and niece get together to make a whole bunch of great baked goods to share for the holidays.  And they make these in green christmas tree shapes.  Last year, when Lily was just over a year old, we went to my Father-in law, Shawn, and step-mother in law, Debbie’s home for Christmas eve.  Lily LOVED the spritz cookies and helped herself to about a dozen of them!  So this year, when christmastime came around, I just had to have this recipe to make for her!
In order to make these yummy cookies, you need a cookie press.  I bought mine from amazon, and I think it cost about $20 dollars.  The cool thing is that it comes with all of these different disks so you can make all different shaped cookies. It has candy canes, flowers, pumpkins, stars and even a dinosaur!  They’re fantastic for kids because they are small and you can add any color food coloring to the dough to make it even more fun! The cookie press is super easy to use and clean, so it’s definitely worth it.  You can make all kinds of different cookies with it, and it’s fast and easy!
Spritz Cookies
(This recipe came from Debbie’s cousin, so I’m not sure of the original origin.)
1 1/2 c. softened butter
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract (optional)
3 1/2 c. flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat butter on high speed  for 30 seconds in an electric mixer. Add sugar and baking powder. Beat in egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Add in flour. Divide and add food coloring, if desired.  Force unchilled dough through the cookie press and onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with colored sugar and bake 8-10 minutes until edges are firm but NOT brown.

The cookie press can be a bit tricky at first.  I have a few recommendations to help you out, but remember, I haven’t had mine for very long, so I’m still learning as well!
  • Roll your dough into a tube shape that will fit easily into the barrel of your cookie press. It’s a lot easier and a lot less messy to get it in there.
  • Use your own judgement on the amount of food coloring.  I find that wilton’s food coloring paste is much better than the little liquid droplets.  Just be careful because it is VERY concentrated!
  • Set your cookie press directly on your cookie sheet before using the trigger.  The dough has to touch the cookie sheet in order to stick.

  • It’s sort of a pain, but I have learned that it works MUCH better to wash your cookie sheets in between uses.  The sprinkles and grease from the last batch of cookies can cause the dough to not stick to your pan very well.  It can definitely make your whole process longer, so take the couple of minutes and wash them off, or at least rinse well!
  • To help you out with cleaning, I have a great tip.  After you put the sugar sprinkles on the uncooked cookies, shake the excess sugar off into your trash can or sink.  The dough sticks to the pan so you don’t have to worry about them falling off if you’re careful, and it makes clean up A LOT easier
Hope you enjoy making these as much as we did!!  They are SO much fun and come out SO pretty!! ENJOY!!!
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