The butter spritz is a grandma mainstay. Simple, rich, lightly sweet and crumbly, two or three and a pot of tea will see you through an entire afternoon of family gab. This stiff dough is commonly used in cookie presses or “spritz guns”. I learned to make them with a pastry bag and tip, so that’s what I’m going to do. The shapes take me back to neighborhood bakeries in Chicago.
The dough is a snap to make. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle. Cream the mixture on medium high until it’s light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg.
Stir in the flour. Or better still, fold it in. It’ll take longer, but the real spritz makers do it this way for maximum tenderness.
And lastly add any flavoring you like. I do almond extract and lemon zest.
I like big spritz cookies so I use a monster tip and a sturdy cloth bag (the dough is so stiff plastic bags often break).
Tips of this size don’t need couplers. You just cut a hole in the end of the bag big enough so it pokes out an inch or so…
…then fill it up and start piping. If the dough is impossibly stiff, or if you’re seeing large cracks along the edges of your shapes, unload the bag and stir a tablespoon or so of milk into the dough. You don’t want too loosen it up to the point that the shapes melt away in the oven, so be a little careful. You’ll squeeze hard…but trust me, you’ll put back all the calories you lose with the exertion. I do straight shapes…
…and these simple stars by extruding the dough and turning the bag slightly. You can do a fair amount of variation with these two shapes alone. However I should add that should you want to stop half way through and do some chocolate spritz, just add about three tablespoons of cocoa powder to the remaining dough and keep piping. If you want to get really nutty, put blobs of both chocolate and vanilla into the same bag and pipe bi-color!
Chocolate drops are great for the centers, or jam or candied cherries. Or you can just use sprinkles. Bake the shapes on separate pans so they brown evenly, about 8-10 minutes for these larger ones. Cool them completely on a rack.
I dip mine in a very cheap “coating chocolate”. I know there are one or two people out there who — ehem — might disagree with me. However the mild taste of the chocolate doesn’t overpower the butter or the hints of lemon. Also it doesn’t leave any cocoa butter streaks when it firms. If you decide to go with a higher-end chocolate, refrigerate the dipped cookies as soon as you finish a tray to minimize the streaking.
If you really want to guild the lily, spread raspberry jam on half of one…
…make a little sandwich…
…and dip the whole thing in chocolate.
That little love torpedo will do you for at least a day. Talk about a butter rush!