For all I love them, though, Spritz have consistently been the bane of my existence because of the dreaded cookie press. We had electric cookie presses when I was a kid, and I think I may well have learned to swear at my mother's knee because of the pain of dealing with them. In fact, it was only when I was in high school that I learned that one could have non-electric cookie presses. Since then, I've never gone back. I think all went well with cookie pressing in my Europe years (some shop in St Andrews had one that worked decently), but the past few years have been hell. I had a Wilton 'ergonomic' stainless steel on that was fine for a while but that I grew to despise for its refusal to move the dough through well. (Possibly related to my use of whole wheat pastry flour making a thicker dough?) This year, I had had enough and looked to Cooks Illustrated to show me the way. They recommended a Wilton press, but it was different from the one I had and hated. The only good thing I can say about the sorry piece of shit is that it cost us less than $10 (before tax). I know, so far this blog has used only family-friendly language, but I'm telling you that Spritz bring out the worst in me!
Anyway, to make a long and painful story short, I decided in the end to abandon the press altogether. I didn't want to roll and cut out the cookies, either, or smash them as I did the sugar cookies, so I opted for the peanut butter cookie method of smashing with a fork dipped in water. I felt such a failure and worried that the cookies wouldn't be thin enough and wouldn't taste right. It's true that they're not as thin as pressed cookies are, but I can honestly say they taste fine. In future, I think I'll always make them this way. My language might be more fit for Elspeth's ears and I won't have to store a piece of kitchen equipment that is only used once a year!
1 c. (2 sticks, 1/2 lb.) butter
2/3 c. evaporated cane juice granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour (or 12 1/2 ounces)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, make sure the oven racks are in the middle and prepare two baking sheets
- Cream together the butter and sugar (using a stand mixer, hand mixer, or your own strength)
- Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix
- Add the almond extract and mix
- Add the flour a little at a time and mix
- If using the Laurel-Keeps-Her-Sanity method, do the following. Roll the dough into balls a bit smaller than a walnut and place on the baking trays. Place some water in a small bowl. Dip a fork in the water and smash the dough ball one way with the fork; then smash the other way to make a tic-tac-toe pattern. (If you're a masochist, put the cookies through a press)
- Decorate the cookies with colored sprinkles in any combination you like
- Bake for 5-7 minutes or until just set (I tend to like mine a little darker than some people do). If you do the fork-smash method, you will probably need to increase the baking time a bit
- Cool on a rack and then store in an airtight container. Cool cookie sheets before making next round