Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lemon Spritz Flower and Heart Cookies

Spritz cookies are usually a Christmas tradition, but the cookie presses these days come with heart and daisy disks that beg to be used for spring and Valentine's Day. Linc was my official decorator--for his usual handling fee in chocolate chips and sugar sprinkles. What can I say? Good help this cute is hard to find.
 As a special treat for Lincoln, I mixed up the usual spritz recipe to make it more like his favorite cookies from the grocery store bakery, a lemon spritz. I have to say, they're pretty darn close and don't have any of that nasty mystery ingredient greasiness. Not that these are health food by any means, with not one, not two, but THREE sticks of butter. Ah well. They're tiny. I'm sure five or six won't hurt. Much.

If you don't have any idea what I'm talking about when I say 'cookie press', here's a photo of one from Wilton for about $10. The model I have is very similar. Two tips to making this press and recipe work--don't grease the cookie sheets and don't chill the cookie dough until after they're pressed out onto the cookie sheets and decorated. Then stick them in the freezer for five minutes while you wait for the previous pan to bake. Freezing the dough once pressed will keep the cookies from puffing up and losing their shape. Also, don't re-use a baking sheet until it's cooled, cleaned with soap and water and dried. That way, the cookie dough will stick to the pan and release neatly. If you find your cookies are sticking to the disks, take a second to run hot water over the disk to get rid of any dough buildup, while it's attached to the press. You should get a nice, clean cookie on the next take. Don't worry, this will all make a lot more sense when you're actually using the press. :-) You can also try the chocolate version of this dough that's on the box (dipped in chocolate would be divine) or use food coloring to color the dough. Other cookie disks in my set include a pumpkin, Shamrock and Christmas shapes.

A cookie press might look or sound complicated, but once you get the hang of it you'll be hooked. How else can you make this many adorable and yummy cookies?

Lemon Spritz Cookies
Makes...too many to count (70-80 is a good estimate)

3 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 Tb fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tb grated lemon peel
1 Tb half-and-half or milk
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder

1.) Preheat oven to 375'.
2.) Cream butter and sugar.
3.) Add egg, lemon juice and peel and milk.
4.) Add flour and baking powder, mixing to make a smooth dough.
5.) Drop dough in press by the spoonful, tapping against the counter to help get rid of air pockets. Press out cookies and decorate.
6.) Chill in freezer five minutes before baking.
7.) Bake 8-10 minutes. Don't let them brown.
8.) Cool and move to wire rack to set.

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