I know, I know. Christmas cookies in March? But I promised myself I’d make this. It took me this long to get around to it. The backstory for this is that I brought Mom’s cookie press back with me after Thanksgiving with the intention of making assorted Christmas cookies to give out to everybody. My mom never makes spritz cookies because she hates using the press, so this was no loss to her. She gets together with her friend every year to make Christmas cookies and lets her friend make the spritz. Usually wreaths and Christmas trees. They’re my second favorite after pecan puffs. So I made some for a Christmas party using the recipe provided by Williams Sonoma. I didn’t like it very much, so I asked Mom for Aunt Donna’s. But because the recipe made so many cookies and I’d gotten frustrated with the press, I decided to just make pecan puffs. Those are amazing, and I can make them in my sleep. So the spritz never got made. Until today! It’s my mom’s birthday, so I figured it’d be an appropriate thing to make.
I let the butter sit out (two sticks). I creamed it with the sugar (2/3 cup). I started mixing in the egg yolks (3). I decided to go with 1 teaspoon of almond flavoring. The ones I’d made before were with vanilla and very bland. Then came the fun part– mixing in food coloring. The only discs I have for the press are candy canes, trees, and a sort of flowery wreath shape (I left the others at home). So flowery shape it was. The food coloring gel packing had a sort of color guide for mixing colors. I thought I’d try to go for rose. It said 8 parts red to 1 part blue. I’m not sure how parts work when measuring gel, so I kinda just squirted in what I thought was a good amount. I put in red and then mixed in the blue. I started panicking for a minute because the blue turned it kind of a brown color. I didn’t want to have gross colored cookies, so I added more red. That brought it back to a more normal color. It is kind of like a dark pink.
I sifted and added the 2 and a half cups of flour. Here’s where I think I went wrong. I measured the flour before I sifted and ignored the directions to measuring after sifting because I’d just washed the measuring cups and didn’t want to fiddle with them. Remeasure after sifting, kids. The dough mixed together. Everything seemed to be going well. Until I put it in the press. The dough was way too hard because I used too much flour. The dough needs to be soft enough to be pushed out of the press yet not too soft that it won’t hold it’s shape. The butter was for sure room temperature, so I knew it wasn’t because of that. I did a quick google search which recommended adding a little bit of milk to soften up the batter. I added milk teaspoon by teaspoon until it felt soft enough. I’d gotten the hang of the press back in December, but had to sort of relearn it again. It was easier this time. It wasn’t til the second pan of cookies that I really got into the flow of it again. I think if I make spritz again I’m confident enough to just churn them out. I baked them 7-10 minutes at 376. They turned out fine.
It’s just funny to me that the recipes other people make you that you love as a kid (and as an adult) just never taste as good when you make it yourself. Even when you follow the recipe exactly. There just must be a magic touch to it. Or it feeds into my philosophy that things just taste better when you don’t make them yourself. I filled up two small tupperware containers with the cookies. My coworkers at almost a whole one. Jane said they looked like cherry blossoms, so success on the color (the pictures make them look more red). They do taste good. They just don’t have the magic. Maybe it’s because I didn’t add the festive sprinkles?
Ugh. And I’m headed to ebay right now to buy a new camera charger because all my phone pictures are blurry. Sorry, folks.
Cooking Movie: Newsies (Headlines don’t sell papes! Newsies sell papes!)