Friday, January 31, 2014

Foodie Fridays: Valentine Edition

Confession: I didn't make this recipe this week (well, yet). I made these last week, but held off on sharing them until today. Gotta get a little closer to V-Day, right? (This week we made burgers on the stove, which really didn't involve too much of a recipe, just know that Italian dressing makes a yummy wet rub when topped with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper! The burgers were juicy and delicious!)

These cookies are the wonderful confection, and my husband's favorite cookie, Spritz. If you've never heard of or made Spritz, the main thing that makes these treats different is that they are made with a cookie press. So after you make the dough, you don't have to cool it, you just put it in the press and get clicking! Also, when you buy a cookie press, you get a variety of disks that help you make lots of cute shapes, sans cookie cutters. This past week, I made hearts and a circular, wreath-like shape.

If you have or buy a cookie press, it will come with recipes, but this one I'm sharing is my favorite, and I think the best. The trick is substituting in some almond extract. Spritz are sweet enough that you really don't have to frost them (you can add food coloring to the dough to tint them, or top them with sprinkles before baking), but everyone in my family loves the frosted kind the best. So I'm including a simple frosting recipe that can be used for any sugar cookie.

Classic Spritz Cookies
Makes 6-7 dozen
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract (if you don't have almond extract, use 1 tsp. of vanilla extract)
3 1/2 cups (14 oz.) whisked, not packed, flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1. Beat butter on medium speed until creamy.
2. Add sugar, egg, almond and/or vanilla extract, beat well.
3. Add flour, one cup at a time, mix well. Dough will be soft, do not refrigerate.
4. Follow directions on cookie press for use. If you're not frosting your cookies, remember to add colored sprinkles prior to baking, if you want them.
5. Bake 10-12 minutes or until firm but not brown. (I have dark cookie sheets so I top them with a piece of parchment paper before pressing the dough onto it. Then in my oven, I only need to bake the cookies for about 7-8 minutes.)
6. Cool for 2 minutes, then remove to cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Butter Frosting
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup softened butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
About 2 tblsp. milk
1. Mix powdered sugar and butter.
2. Stir in vanilla and milk.
3. Beat/stir until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency. If frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, slowly add a small amount of milk.
4. Add a little food coloring to tint your frosting if you want.

To decorate the cookies shown above, I put the frosting into a piping bag and used several different tips to create the designs. I used several dots of red food coloring to create the pink color and added red sugar sprinkles to some of the cookies for variety.

Making your own version of Spritz cookies? I'd love to see what you create! Email a photo to me at eliseloyola[at]gmail[.com] and I'll include it in an upcoming blog post!

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