Tante Anneke's Chocolate Spritz Cookies

Saturday, May 28, 2016

These are cookies I grew up with. I love Tante Anneke's chocolate spritz cookies. So did my brothers. That's why my Mom usually orders two giant tins. One for them and one for the rest of us. And now my kids are growing up with these amazing cookies, too. For a while, it came from Tante Anneke's kitchen, but now that we're right on the other side of the world, it's coming from my kitchen.

For a few years, these cookies would be part of our 'homecoming' food basket. Yes, one does exist. And I'm happy to know that I look forward to these baked goods as much as the bakers are looking forward to see me. Okay, not me as much as they are looking forward to seeing the kids. And seeing the way the kids are devouring their fruits of their labour. I can empathize. I also love to see family and friends enjoying my baking. Don't you?

Well, back to these amazing cookies. I was so thrilled when Tante Anneke shared this recipe with me. She had all of us come over (the kids and I) and made a big batch of cookies. She will be so happy to know we are finally making them!

Tante's original recipe uses margarine. I prefer to use all-butter. The addition of margarine makes for a crispier and hardier cookie where the all-butter version lends itself to a more flaky and crumbly cookie that melts in your mouth. Who doesn't love that?

Unlike most cookie doughs, this one does not benefit from refrigeration. Because it becomes too hard for the cookie press. When it looks like your typical cookie dough, it won't press. Speaking from experience of course. Therefore the best spritz dough is the one that's soft and hardly comes together. Trust me ... it works!

400 g (3-1/4 cup) flour
50 g (scant 1/2 cup) cocoa
4 egg yolks
454 g (1 lb / 4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
250 g (1-1/4 cup) sugar

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and the cocoa. Set aside.
2. In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat the yolks for 1 minute to combine.
3. Add the butter and beat well for 4 - 5 minutes, until pale and fluffy.
4. Add the vanilla, then the sugar in 2 batches, beat another 4 - 5 minutes.
5. Fold in the flour mixture in 3 additions.
6. Let the dough rest for 10 - 15 minutes.
It will be softer than your usual cookie dough. But that's fine.

7. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 325F.
8. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
9. Place the dough into the cookie press and shape straight into the lined baking sheet.

10. Bake for 10-12 minutes until slightly firm, rotating the sheets halfway into the baking time.
11. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. It will crisp up by then.
12. Make sure the baking sheet is cool when pressing a new batch of cookies on it.
Tip: Have a parchment sheet ready (cut to size) as a back up, pressing onto this as you wait for the pan to cool. When the baking sheet is cooled, just slide this backup parchment paper onto it. 3 parchment liners for 2 baking sheets. Handy, huh?

Place cooled cookies in a jar (if there is still some left, that is!) Then, says Monique: 'Open your mouth, insert cookie, gobble it down and swallow! Repeat until all cookies are over'

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