Spritzgebäck - German Spritz Cookies

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Seriously, with all the fabulous food we typically indulge in during Christmas, who eats cookies? I ask Oma this question so many many years ago and this was her answer, 'It's not for us, darling, it's for the guests who come by for tea.' Aha ... she was right, she does have a lot of drop-ins. And of course, the gracious hostess that she is, there will always be a tin of cookies in the house. Who's going to 'drop in' my place here? LOL!

Drop ins I don't really need to think about. It's the live-ins that are expecting something. And as it draws closer to Christmas, expecting turns to requesting and finally pleading. And by then, I usually give in ;)

While many countries may claim the humble spritz as their own, most cookie historians are in agreement that the spritz cookie originated in Germany. I concur ... because, seriously, only German engineering can make a sophisticated contraption to squeeze out delicate buttery dough into beautiful shapes as this. Don't you think?

This recipe is slightly adapted from America's Test Kitchen, a most reliable source of recipes. I'm working on their Christmas Cookie edition and hope to try out at least half the recipes there. Slightly adapted for sugar quantity, due to my innate inclination of never being able not to. Adapt, that is ;)

1 large yolk
1 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
225 g (16 tbsp / 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
100 g (scant 2/3 cup) sugar
Pinch of salt
250 g (2 cups) flour

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the yolk, cream and vanilla extract together.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium high until pale and increased in volume, about 5 - 6 minutes.
4. Add the salt and the yolk mixture and beat until combined.
5. Reduce speed to low, then fold in the flour in 3 additions until just combined.

6. The dough can be piped through a pastry bag fitted with a tip, or filled into a cookie press.
7. Press onto the lined baking sheets, about an inch apart.

Tip: Have a spare parchment paper handy (cut to size) to fit the baking sheet. This is handy when both sheets are in the oven. You can then slide this cookie-laden paper onto the baking sheet when it cools.

8. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway, until slightly golden around the edges.
9. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
10. Press, bake and repeat, until the dough is used up. 

You may frost the cookies if you wish, but for me ... naked is sexier when it comes to cookies ;)

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