Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Spritz Cookies

cookiespritz (2)

I never thought I would like a butter cookie, after all.. there's no brown sugar or chocolate. 6 cookies later, I realized that I've just never had a good butter cookie, one that is flaky and melt in your mouth. These were absolutely amazing!! I still can't believe I had 6, but I had to.. for 'testing purposes'. 1 extra minute in the oven can make a difference in texture or dryness so I baked at 10, 11 and 12 minutes to see if there would be any. Cookies straight out of the oven and completely cool also differ texturally. It's the texture of a completely cool cookie that actually matters, since cookies don't stay warm forever (if only!). So in the end, I had no choice but to eat 3 straight from the oven at 10, 11, 12 mins and 3 completely cool at each of those time points. 12 minutes was perfect in my oven because the edges were crisp, but at 10 minutes, there was a more melt in your mouth centre.

As enjoyable as these were in the moment, I suffered from major butter overload. After my little cookie splurge, I was craving broccoli and tomatoes! I can't help it, but everytime I try a new recipe I want to find the best possible version. I've had to force myself to accept that airbake pans are the best (although most people don't like them) because there are only so many test cookies I can eat! I find that they're better than jelly rolls because every single batch of cookies I bake on a jelly roll turns out dry with burnt bottoms yet a raw top, but it could be my particular jelly roll pan. Maybe it's time I get a Goldtouch one from William Sonoma. The Goldtouch pans are actually made by Chicago Metallic, which I love because cakes seems to bake up more evenly and leveled. If only it wasn't so difficult to find them and Amazon actually shipped to Canada.

I don't think I would've tried these if it wasn't for the piping part. Piping out cookie dough makes me feel all professional.. haha. It was a lot harder to squeeze the dough out of the bag than I anticipated. I better not wake up with arm pains tomorrow! I think it's time to add a cookie press to the baking gadget collection. I'm making these again tomorrow for Christmas in the almond variation, but other than that I still haven't decided what else to bake yet.. there are just way too many yummy desserts!

cookiespritz (3)

Spritz Cookies
Cook's Illustrated

Makes about 6 dozen 1 1/2-inch cookies

1 large egg yolk 
1 tablespoon heavy cream 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened (about 70 degrees)
2/3 cup sugar (about 4-3/4 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt 
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. In small bowl, beat yolk, cream, and vanilla with fork until combined; set aside.
2. In standing mixer, cream butter, sugar, and salt at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. With mixer running at medium speed, add yolk/cream mixture and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. With mixer running at low speed, gradually beat in flour until combined. Scrape down bowl and give final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain.
3. If using cookie press to form cookies, follow manufacturer's instructions to fill press; if using pastry bag, follow illustrations 1 through 3 below to fill bag. Press or pipe cookies onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing them about 1-1/2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are light golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. Cool cookies on baking sheet until just warm, 10 to 15 minutes; using metal spatula, transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

almond variation: Grind 1/2 cup sliced almonds and 2 tablespoons flour called for in the spritz recipe until powdery and evenly fine; combine almond mixture with remaining flour. Follow recipe for spritz, substituting 3/4 teaspoon almond extract for vanilla.
lemon variation: add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to yolk/cream mixture in step 1 and add 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest to butter along with sugar and salt in step 2.

17 comments:

  1. OMG! That first photo is just so tempting. I love butter cookies because of the melt in your mouth part. Be blessed this Christmas.

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  2. Glad you liked the butter cookies!! They're stunning.

    Steph, I wish you a VERY Merry Christmas!! :-)

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  3. They look perfect! I would be willing to taste test quite a few for you!

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  4. wow, Steph, these cookies are gorgeous! I can just about taste that buttery goodness. I've always used a wonderful old dark nonstick cookie sheet, even though the experts say they're not good. Always worked for me, and now I put a silicone mat on top and a cushionaire sheet below, and my cookies come out well.

    Wondering if you made the cheesecake - will be looking on Tuesday for your report!

    Nancy

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  5. Wow , perfect cookies for the occassion.
    I would also like to wish you Merry Christmas and wonderful ushering into new year 2009.

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  6. Yum!! There's nothing quite like a butter cookie, melting in your mouth in all of it's richness! They look fabulous!

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  7. I'm not sure I would have been able to stop at six - they look delicious! x

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  8. These look perfect. Great job!!!

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  9. Thiese are absolutely lovely and perfect! xGloria

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  10. Ooo those look gorgeous! I'm happy you found a butter cookie you like. =) I think it's true with a lot of things (at least for me) that I thought I didn't like something then I find a good recipe and make it at home and it turns out I do like it. As for the baking pans, I just recently made a huge order from Golda's Kitchen (http://www.goldaskitchen.com/) which is a bakeware/cookware store in Ontario. They carry Chicago Metallic stuff so you can try ordering from them.

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  11. Hey Miss Steph,
    Hope Christmas was full of miracles for you.
    Actually, I got my fake tree for $40 after Christmas a few years ago. I just can't bear to cut an innocent tree down or support that idea by buying one already cut.
    My little silver snowflakes were meant for tying on packages and were probably 20 for $1.99. My icicles were for packages also and were 12 for $1.99. The snowflakes were 6 for 99 cents. The ice string/garlands came about 20-30 strings together that I cut off the end and were $10. Remember, think different, don't necessarily think Christmas. Package ties, thick gift tags, floral picks, toys, flowers, feathers, fake birds, cookie cutters, whatever. I just got some cute little glittered present floral picks in bright colors at Michaels Crafts for 17 cents each for next year if I decide to change my tree. You can also bend the wire and use them like a napkin ring or tuck them into the ribbon on a gift. And also some white poinsettias bunches with 9 flowers for 89 cents, which I will most likely use for napkin rings, but, cut them off with wire cutters to about 3-4 inches of stem and wrap it around a branch, that comes out to 10 cents a flower/ornament. Trust me, this is not the first tree I have done on a shoestring budget. Then, when I want a new theme, I don't feel guilty about changing it and either give everything to some one who needs it or pack it away or my kids can have it. The theme tends to keep me focused on color and such so I don't waste money buying absolutely everything I want. Take old ornaments and paint them, glitter them, wrap them in yarn or strips of fabric. Treat them like a cookie or an outfit. Decorate them, accessorize them. I am just better at the tree and a table than a cookie or an outfit.
    Even the tree can be branches brought in and left natural or spray painted, just be careful of fire with dried wood.
    And you have to have a tree next year for Santa!
    Be cheap like me, ha ha.

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  12. these look so nice. I usuallt don t like butter cookies but when i know that i used the best butter and genuine ingredients I like them cause they taste way better then store baught ones :)

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  13. I don't find Golda's Kitchen so expensive. Some of the things are the regular price (like the brownie edge pan is $43) but the Chicago Metallic nonstick 9x2 round pan is $17.25 which is half the price of what I've seen it in any store locally (regular price anyway). And on Amazon.com it's $16.49USD, so it's comparable. You do have to pay for shipping from Golda's Kitchen but unless you can easily get to the States to pick up an order from a mail carrier, I think it's the best option. Haha okay it sounds like I'm advertising for them but I'm not - I just spent so long feeling blah about not being able to get a decent price on bakeware so I was really happy to find Golda's Kitchen.

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  14. These cookies look so professional! I love it!

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  15. I used to make these all the time but haven't in years and years...you've inspired me to make them again. Yours are so pretty, too!
    Happy New Year!
    Audrey

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  16. Butter cookies sound good and they look great!

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