Old-Fashioned Spritz Cookies – a delicate, crisp little cookie with a deep buttery flavor and a hint of almond. Classic holiday baking at its best!
Spritz is a German word (spritzen) meaning to squirt. The soft dough is ‘squirted’ through a cookie press fitted with various designs, directly onto the baking sheet. The dough can be tinted with food color and decorated with nonpareils, candy, sprinkles, fruit pieces, chopped nuts, currants or raisins.
To make Spritz cookies, you will need a cookie press, and two light colored, metal baking sheets.
Let’s talk about the essential Spritz tool, the cookie press. My cookie press came from Pampered Chef ages ago. I don’t even think they make this model anymore. But no worries, there are plenty of models to choose from in the world. This is one of those tools that is worth what you pay for it. If you purchase a $7.00 cookie press from Wilton, you’ll probably get a cookie press worth $7.00. If you spend over $50.00 for a Marcato brand cookie press from Italy, you’ll probably get your moneys worth.
Somewhere in between there’s probably a good, highly rated cookie press that will meet all your needs. OXO Good Grips makes a highly rated, middle range cookie press that might work. I recommend reading the reviews, checking the prices and looking for one that makes sense for you.
Spritz cookie presses come with a variety of interchangeable discs that are suitable for cookie making all year long. Some discs produce Christmas tree cookies while others make gorgeous little flowers. Each cookie press is different so make sure they have the kind of discs you’re looking for.
Trust the experts and purchase a cookie press which yields consistent results.
Cook’s Country tested numerous cookie presses and rated them as GOOD, FAIR and POOR. At the time, the Marcato Biscuit Maker was selected as the best cookie press tested. It produced well defined cookies and consistent results. The affordable Kuhn Rikon Cookie Press came in second, and looks very similar to my Pampered Chef Cookie Press pictured above.
All this to say, if you plan to use your cookie press to make Spritz Cookies all year long, I would invest in the better press. If you only use it once a year, something less expensive might work for you.
TIPS for troubleshooting your Spritz Cookies.
If you’ve ever owned a cookie press, from time to time you might have felt like chucking the whole thing in the trash. If the dough doesn’t stick to the pan when pressed, the feeling of helplessness and frustration can be overwhelming. The dough is simple to make and if you follow the tips below, pressing the cookies couldn’t be easier.
I’ve put together some tips for troubleshooting common problems:
- The butter should be very soft; so soft it will hardly hold its shape. Not melted, but close.
- Make sure your egg is at room temperature.
- DO NOT refrigerate the dough before pressing.
- Make sure the dough is warm, not cold. If it’s not tacky, it will not stick to the pan. Place the cookie press, with cookie dough inside, in a warm location if needed to soften.
Only use metal baking sheets. Do not use baking stones.
- The cookie sheet must be cold.
- If the dough will not adhere to the pan, try placing the cookie sheet in the freezer for a few minutes.
- Do not use parchment paper or a Silpat mat. The dough will not stick when pressed.
Pressing and baking:
- To get the cookie press started, squeeze twice to make a double thick cookie mound. Once you pull up the press, leaving behind the cookie on the pan, the remaining dough coming out of the bottom of the press should be a bit jagged and rough. This will help the next pressed cookie to stick to the pan. Continue pressing until the pan is full. Remove the larger cookie dough and put it back with the remaining dough before baking. Repress as needed.
- These cookies bake quickly so please watch the baking time carefully. Start by baking just a few to check your oven and the best baking time. Use a timer!
- Dark colored pans can brown the cookies too much. These Spritz cookies should be very pale in color, just set, and barely brown on the bottom.
- Take care when adding food color. Too much will alter the consistency of the dough and cause the cookies to spread more than desired. I recommend gel food color only.
- Bake tinted cookies separately as they brown more quickly than plain colored cookie dough.
I hope these tips help you have a terrific experience when making these Spritz cookies. They are very easy to make, but require that the dough is soft dough and baking sheets cold.
For more great recommendations to help you through your holiday baking, check out our post for the TOP 9 Baking Tips and Tricks.
Can you freeze Spritz cookies?
Spritz cookies freeze beautifully! Even decorated and glazed, these cookies freeze very well. Thaw at room temperature or keep refrigerated for longer storage. If you plan to ship these Spritz cookies to loved-ones, freeze them first and then get them to the post office while still frozen. They’ll arrive thawed and ready to eat!
Do I have to glaze my Spritz cookies?
No you don’t have to glaze any of your cookies. They taste terrific with or without the simple vanilla glaze. I usually put a glaze on half my batch, as I did again this year. The glaze makes them much easier to decorate, after they are baked. Some nonpareils do not bake well, so adding some sparkle while the glaze is wet is the best option.
After testing many methods, I find that lightly brushing the glaze on the cookies works best. If you dip or drizzle the Spritz cookies, the icing ends up much thicker and causes the cookie design to be less defined. Brushing the glaze also prevents a lot of wasted icing dripping off the cookies. The icing sets up and dries quicker, too.
What kind of food coloring is best for Spritz cookies?
I only use gel food coloring for these cookies. Too much food coloring can alter the cookie dough and cause them to spread. It also causes the cookies to brown more quickly. To ensure you don’t use too much food color, just dip a toothpick in the gel then run it through the dough. Mix well and press. You only want to lightly tint the cookie dough, for best results.
I grew up making Spritz cookies with my mom using a manual cookie press.
My mom used to make Spritz cookies each Christmas. I got my Spritz cookie schooling from decades of helping her in the kitchen.
The old school cookie presses we used when I was a kid had a giant screw mechanism instead of a ratchet movement. You had to twist the top of the plunger to press out the dough, but the cookies were often different shapes and thicknesses. The new cookie presses are much better at producing consistent sized and shaped cookies.
The key to using a cookie press is to have your dough at the perfect consistency so it will stick to the baking sheet when pressed. You’ll also need a good recipe so the cookies retain their original shape once baked!
I love the colorful party you get from just one small batch of dough. Traditional Spritz cookies will always remind me of my mom and how she loved to bake, especially during the holidays. Make some memories with your family and bake these lovely Spritz cookies this year!
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Originally posted December 2013, updated November 2019