Thank you for joining us on Day 1 of our 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Countdown.
photo via cookingchanneltv.com
I chose the buttery rich classic of Germany and Scandinavia Spritz Cookie (courtesy of the Cooking Channel TV),for our first recipe because this is the first memory I have of baking Christmas cookies with my mom.I use to love spooning the dough into what I always thought of as the magical cookie press, and was always so amazed that with a few turns of the handle out came these delicate, adorably shaped cookies.This particular Spritz Cookie recipe has become one of my favorites because they have switched out the ground almonds with almond paste instead, bringing this creamy smooth dough to perfection!
TOTAL TIME: 40 min
Prep: 30 min
Cook: 10 min
YIELD: 80 small cookies
1 package almond paste (depending on the brand, you will find it in 7 or 8-ounce packages)
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg whites (1/4 cup)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Colored decorator sugar
Break up the almond paste in the bowl of your mixer.
Add the sugar and mix on medium-low speed, using the beater attachment, until the almond paste is broken up into small pieces. It may become smooth at this point, if the almond paste is very fresh.
Add one egg white and continue mixing until the almond paste is very smooth. Scrape down the bowl and add the second egg, mix to incorporate.
Add the softened butter and beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides, then mix in the almond extract.
Add the flour and salt, mix on low speed just until it is incorporated and very smooth.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment.
Spritz Press Design:
The best thing about a press is the variety of shapes you can easily achieve using just one dough. I selected a wreath shape, but my press has dozens of options. If you switch shapes, be sure you have all the same size cookies on one sheet or they will not bake evenly.
Fill the press according to its instructions and press the cookies out onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Sprinkle with colored sugar or leave plain, depending on the look you want.
Bake the cookies for about 5 minutes and then rotate the tray. If you are baking more than one tray at a time, then also rotate from top to bottom in the oven. Because the two trays may have different sized cookies, you will need to check for doneness frequently.
The cookies are done when they just start to turn golden on the bottom. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
You can add a dot of jam to the tops of the star shaped cookies or dip half the wreath in chocolate. Or, just leave them simple and let the almond flavor shine.
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