Spritzgebäck Butter Cookies (Piped Spritz)

Cover Pic Spritz Cookies - Boost V in iPhotos

Spritzgebäck (pronounced Spritz-ge-bäck, for audio click here) are classic butter cookies, which are popular in both Germany and Scandinavian countries during the Christmas holiday season. These sweet cookies are light and crisp, with a delicate and somewhat dry crumb. I would describe their texture as being similar to a Viennese shortbread. I chose vanilla extract to flavour my dough, but you can also flavour it with almond extract or lemon zest. Some recipes also included almond meal/flour, but I wanted this recipe to be nut-free, so I left it out. However, I think I’ll definitely give an almond version of these a go!

The full name for these German baked goodies is Spritzgebäck, with the word spritz originating from the German word, ‘spritzen’ (verb), which translates into English as ‘spray’ or ‘squirt’. The name refers to the fact that these cookies are either pressed or piped. The name is also often shortened to ‘spritz cookies’ in the U.S.A.

To make these, you can either use a piping bag or a cookie press. If you have the latter, you can make a variety of shapes, such as flowers, stars, trees etc… with all the different shaped discs that come with it. But it’s not essential to make them this way, as a sturdy piping bag is just as effective. As I always remind you, I have very basic piping skills, so I just piped the rosettes using a Wilton 1M piping tip.

Now it does take a little patience as you learn to either press or pipe the dough, as it is quite thick. So it will take some time and practice to get the hang of it. If the shape of your cookie is not quite right, just add the dough back into your bowl for reuse when you next refill your press or piping bag.

One very important thing to be aware of, when making these cookies using a press, is that you must press them out onto cold ungreased trays.  If you try to do this onto either a greased surface or with trays lined with baking paper/parchment, the cookie won’t stick to the tray at all. Instead, it will just lift off and stay attached to your cookie press! If your trays are too warm when you press out your cookies, they will instead just spread and loose their shape altogether. So you really have to get this step right.

Now these Spritz cookies can just be kept plain. However, they are a wonderfully blank canvas for decorating in a variety of ways. Also, if you have children, get them involved too, as they will absolutely love this activity!

Some of the fun ways to decorate include dipping them in milk, white or dark chocolate. For an even more festive touch, sprinkling over festive coloured 100’s & 100’s, before the chocolate sets. You can also sprinkle the cookies with 100’s & 1000’s or coloured sugars, before baking too. Try decorating them by piping over different coloured icings on them. If you have small circle shaped cookies, cut glacé cherries in half and place it in the centre, before baking them. Or if you wanted to get really fancy, you can sandwich two cookies between a layer of jam and then chocolate dip one end of them! The possibilities are endless, so have fun and get creative with your decorating.

Cover Pic - Jam Filled Spritz Cookies Dipped in Chocolate

For accurate cup measurements, I sift the potato starch before measuring, so that there are no lumps/clumps. All cup measurements are firmly packed.

Ingredients
Dry
160g (5.6 ounces or 1¼ cups) superfine white rice flour
64g (2.3 ounces or ½ cup) tapioca starch
46g (1.6 ounces or ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon) corn starch
33g (1.2 ounces or 3 tablespoons) potato starch
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) salt
Wet
224g (7.9 ounces or 1 cup) gluten and dairy free butter
120g (4.2 ounces or ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons) golden/raw caster sugar or superfine white sugar (I use this brand)
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
Add the flavour of choice:
1½ teaspoon (7.5ml) pure vanilla extract
OR
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (5ml) plus ¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) almond extract
OR
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (5ml) plus ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) lemon zest

Making the Cookie Dough

Preheat oven to 175C, 350F. or Gas Mark 4.

Using a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and caster sugar for 5 minutes on a medium speed, until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides when necessary.

piped-cookies-step-1

Next, add the egg yolks and vanilla extract, before continuing to beat until well combined.

piped-cookies-step-2

Gradually add the flour and mix until thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides when necessary. Once finished, the dough will be thick, but it will have a smooth and pliable texture.

piped-cookies-step-3

Using a Cookie Press

Cover Pic - Pressed Spritz Cookies

Cookie Press Tips:

  • Always use an ungreased cold tray, as this helps the dough to adhere, so the cookies will be well formed. If your tray is warm, the cookies will spread and loose their shape.
  • It’s very important to press the dough down the barrel to avoid air pockets.
  • Hold the cookie press upright and flat to the tray, without tilting it in any way after you’ve squeezed the trigger. Use consistent and even pressure to press out the cookies. I like to practice on a chopping board for the first few attempts.
  • You only press the trigger once for each cookie. If you press the trigger anymore than that, you’ll end up with round blobs with no delicate detail.
  • It’s really important to first allow the cookies to cool on the trays for 4-minutes. Then, as they are also delicate, use a very thin metal egg slice/spatula to transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Method

First choose the disc pattern you want for your spritz cookies.

Place the bottom of the cookie press firmly against a cold ungreased tray, squeeze the trigger once and then pull the press upwards. Repeat to press out cookies along the cookie sheet, a few centimetres apart.

pressed-cookies-step-1

Now sprinkle over with 100’s & 1000’s or coloured sugar, if using. Or gently press half a glacé cherry onto your cookies.

pressed-cookies-step-2

unbaked-cookie-with-glace-cherry

Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes until they are lightly golden brown around the edges. Then allow the cookies to cool on the trays for 4 minutes, before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cookies are completely cool, you can decorate them however you choose.

Store in an airtight container.

Piping the Cookies

Cover Pic - Piped Spritz Cookies

Piping tips:

  • I find the easiest way to fill the piping bag is to place the unfilled bag into a tall glass. Fold the bag down around the glass and then fill it with the dough.
  • Don’t over fill the piping bag, as you need to be able to hold it comfortably, then apply constant and even pressure while piping.
  • If you haven’t been happy with the shape that you’ve piped, you can reuse the dough. Just keep in mind that if you do this too many times, the dough will start to thicken and then it will become more difficult to pipe.
  • Holding the piping bag does take some practice. Start by having your dominant hand at the top of the bag, then pipe slowly and steadily, using pressure from the palm and using your other hand to help guide the bag as your pipe.
  • To ensure well-formed cookies, hold the piping bag in a vertical position and pipe at an even height above your tray. Then use constant and even pressure as you pipe.
  • When piping rosettes, start by first piping a small mound onto the tray, as this will become the centre of your cookie. Then, apply even pressure to the piping bag, as you pipe an outwards circle in one fluid motion. When you near the point where you started, release the pressure, you may need to use your fingers to gently release it from the piping nozzle. Now carefully tuck this end piece of the dough, up along the outer edge of the cookie, and this completes the rosette. Once baked, the tuck where you stopped piping will be mostly hidden, so don’t worry about this too much.
  • It’s really important to first allow the cookies to cool on the trays for 4-minutes. Then, as they are also delicate, use a very thin metal egg slice/spatula to transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Method

I’ve found when piping this dough, that it didn’t seem to make too much difference if I line my tray with baking paper/parchment or piped directly onto the tray.

Spoon the dough into a large piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M open star nozzle. Just remember that the tray has to be cold before you start piping the rosettes onto the tray. I only half fill the bag, otherwise it can be difficult to pipe with a constant even pressure. As I’ve mentioned before, the dough is thick, so you may have to use your fingers to gently release it from the piping nozzle, before carefully tucking in the end piece of the dough along the outer edge of the cookie.

piped-cookies-step-4

Once all the rosettes have been piped, dip your finger into cold water and gently poke the centre, making a small indentation.

piped-cookies-step-5

Fill a small piping bag with a jam of your choice, and pipe a small amount into each indentation, or you use a teaspoon to do this if you prefer. If you didn’t want to use jam, you can gently press half a glacé cherry into the cookie instead. Just don’t worry about pressing an indentation in the centre.

piped-cookies-step-6

Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes until they are lightly golden brown around the edges. Then allow the cookies to cool on the trays for 4 minutes, before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

piped-cookies-step-7

Once the cookies are completely cool, store in an airtight container.

Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse

 

2 responses to “Spritzgebäck Butter Cookies (Piped Spritz)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s