Thanksgiving has come and gone (although leftovers still remain in the fridge), and that means that it’s finally Christmas time! Or Hanukkah or Kwanza, you know, whatever works! I love baking any time of year, but Christmas has always been my favorite. I absolutely love Christmas cookies. I’ve recently discovered that the best thing to do is to make cookies that my husband Nate likes to eat too. That way I’m not the only one eating them! With that, I give you Spritz cookies. These are light, buttery, small, and delicious.
They are also super-easy-to-make: prepare the dough, put it in a cookie gun and pump away! I decided to decorate them, mostly because I couldn’t help myself. How cute are they?!?
In the meantime I would like to introduce the newest member of the Just Eat It family: Sylvia the Nikon D90! My D80 broke back in May, and I quickly discovered that it is more difficult to get good food photos with a point and shoot. Although I think I can safely blame my lack-of-blogging on sheer laziness. Needless to say, Sylvia and I are still getting to know each other and I’m hoping this will be a long, mutually beneficial (I won’t drop her or get her wet, she won’t break or stop working, that sort of thing) relationship!
From Cooks’ Illustrated and adapted very slightly
You are not supposed to bake these on parchment paper, or, I’m guessing, a silpat. However, you can bake them on a non-stick cookie sheet with no non-stick spray and you should be just fine. I used an eggwash to get the decorations to stick to the unbaked cookies, which resulted in some of the cookies sticking pretty badly to the pan. If you do decide to decorate them, be careful not to get any of the eggwash on the cookie sheet! And keep an eye on them the last couple of minutes: they go from appearing under-baked to dark brown in about a minute.
- 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)
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.
Using an electric beaters or 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/beaters running at medium speed, add yolk/cream mixture and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. Gradually beat in flour until combined. Scrape down bowl and give final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain.
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 (it’s important to let them cool a little, otherwise they break).