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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Spritz cookies

This fall, I signed up for my second The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  In case you missed my post last year, here's a quick rundown: It's really a fantastic event -- a cookie swap of epic proportions, so to speak.  The premise is this: sign up.  Get 3 matches emailed to you.  Bake 3 dozen cookies.  Mail 1 dozen cookies to each match.  Receive 1 dozen cookies from 3 bloggers who received your name as their match.  Blog about your cookies.  And the best part (the other best part, the best part besides receiving 3 dozen cookies mailed.  to.  your.  door!)?  Your $4 admission fee goes to Cookies for Kids' Cancer -- which really helps combine two of my passions: baking and helping kids (I am a pediatric nurse practitioner, after all!).

So last year I made some killer cranberry shortbread cookies.  They were awesome.  I actually made them four different ways, and ended up deciding the cranberry ones were the best.  This year I went with a classic spritz cookie.  A delicious crumbly not-to-sweet butter cookie that I topped with just a sprinkling of colorful nonpareils for a pop of color.  b and his mom were more than happy to be my taste testers for these a few days before I made my cookie swap cookies.  His coworkers were huge fans, too!

Spritz Cookies 
From America's Test Kitchen Step by Step Holiday Baking


1 large egg yolk
1 Tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
16 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 cps all-purpose flour


Adjust oven rack to middle position.
Heat oven to 375F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Set aside.

Whisk egg yolk, cream, and vanilla in a small bowl until combined.
Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Scrape down bowl as needed.
Reduce speed to medium.
Add egg yolk mixture.
Beat until incorporated.
Reduce speed to low.
Gradually beat in flour until combined, scraping down bowl as needed.
Give dough a final stir by hand.

If using cookie press, follow directions on the press.  If using pastry bag, insert star tip and fill bag halfway with dough.  (I used different tips to make different shapes.)
Hold the bag at a 90 degree angle about 1/2 inch above the prepared tray.
Pipe cookies, spacing them about 1.5 inches apart.
Refill cookie press/pastry bag as needed.
Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until light golden brown, 10-12 minutes.
Rotate sheet halfway through baking.

Let cookies cool on sheets for 10-15 minutes.
Transfer to wire rack to cool.
Let cool completely before serving (or packaging up to mail ;-)).

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