Saturday, December 22, 2012

Almond Spritz Cookies

Many years ago my grandmother used to make very special cookies for Christmas.  Okay, she baked all year round but even more at Christmas with different special cookies.  My grandmother really liked to use nuts in a lot of recipes which I didn't like so there were a few cookies that I really liked because there weren't any nuts in them.  One of my favorite ones were cookie press cookies that I thought were really yummy but even better because they were small so we could have more than one.  I didn't know much about baking back then but I knew what I liked and these little gems were always good.  My grandmother passed away when I was a teenager so I hadn't had these cookies in many years.

One year, we got a special Christmas plate of cookies from our friend Christel, after my husband fixed her computer.  They were gone in minutes of arriving home.  After they were gone, he went out and got this cookie press for me that Christmas.  Needless to say it was a hint that he would like these cookies!!  Sadly (for him but not me), I am horrible at using the press and my husband is in charge after the dough is made to press out all the cookies.

After more trial and error, we made the cookies using the cookie press.  My husband was in charge of the press and I was in charge of the sprinkles.  I think that we both did a good job.  What do you think?  Aren't they super cute!! 

Plus they make a ton of cookies so there is lots of enjoyment.  They don't last long in this house though!!

Have you ever had them before??  I highly suggest you try them.  If you don't have a cookie press, the dough can also be used to make cut out cookies or candy canes by rolling them out and twisting two strands together.  There is also a recipe where you add chocolate flavor to the dough and make logs with icing.  They are my favorite but I never make them either.  Something to change in the new year :)  I hope that you try and love them too!

Almond Spritz Cookies

1 1/2 c sugar
1 c butter or margarine
8 oz brick of cream cheese (must be regular and not light)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
1 tsp almond extract (or more to taste)
4 cups flour (maybe up to 1/2 c more if too sticky)
1 tsp baking powder

Cream sugar, butter and cream cheese until fluffy.  Add egg and extracts to creamed mixture and beat until smooth.  Add flour and baking powder slowly to the above mixture.  Refrigerate until use with cookie press (or alternate suggestions below).  Bake cookies at 375 for 8-10 minutes.  Please note that you don't want them to brown so take out while still soft.

1.  Can add food coloring to make green trees and red candy canes through the cookie press or do with white dough.  Press and decorate before baking at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

2.  Can use dough for cut out cookies.  Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 for 8-10 minutes. 

3.  Can die half red and leave half white.  Roll out like rope and twist both colors into a candy cane cookie crimping each end so that they stay together.  Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes based on size of candy cane.

4.  Also can, melt 2 squares of semi-sweet chocolate to mix with dough.  roll into 2 inch log and chill overnight.  Cut the log into 6 sections and roll each into rope.  Cut each rope into 6 pieces and shape straight or like a C.  Bake 375 for 8-9 minutes.  Remove and dust with confectioner sugar or use powdered sugar icing.  Straight ones are called logs and curved ones are called reindeer antlers. 

We never get past the cookie press on the first batch but all of the cookies are really great tasting!!  Hope you try them and enjoy the yummiest Christmas cookie (which can also be made everyday).

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