Spritz are one of those timeless recipes that you can be assured someone in the neighborhood makes every Christmas. Light, buttery, just a hint of almond with a soft crunch, these are both my husband and dad’s favorites.
Of course, there is one barrier to entry, you have to own a cookie press.
There’s really no way around it. Without a cookie press, spritz cookies are boring lumps. There was a year when our press broke and my mom tried to use cookie stamps, but it really wasn’t the same.
So, is it worth the investment? Another kitchen tool that is single purpose? I think so, if you meet three qualifications:
- You or someone you love LOVES spritz cookies
- You’re willing to get creative
You have room
Okay, if you qualify for 1 & 2, you’ll probably make room.
The best part about spritz cookies is the all the discs that come with it. I like to add food coloring to the dough, and even mix colors for a textured effect. Also, one batch of dough can make ~6 dozen cookies. SIX DOZEN! Which is a great way to make bulk treats.
The Spritz Cookie recipe is pretty basic, and hasn’t varied much over the years. In poorer times we substituted margarine for butter, and even omitted the almond extract when we didn’t have any. Obviously butter is better, but austere times… Some people don’t even like the almond extract (can you imagine?!?!), so it’s optional but everyone here loves it!
Also, do not chill the dough. I repeat, DO NOT CHILL THE DOUGH. If you do decide to save the dough for another day, cover in plastic and keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. Allow to come to room temperature before using. If you don’t, you WILL break your cookie press.
Basic Spritz Cookies Recipe
Makes 72 cookies
- 1½ cups Butter, softened
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- ¼ tsp Almond Extract (optional)
- 3 ½ cups Flour
- Food coloring, sprinkles & toppings (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375°
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on high speed for 30 seconds.
- Add the sugar and baking powder, and beat until combined, scraping the sides if necessary.
- Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract (if desired), beating until combined.
- Beat in as much of the flour as you can. Stir in any remaining flour.
**** This is where you can divide the dough and add color, if desired ****
- Force unchilled dough through a cookie press onto an ungreased cookie sheet, ideally lined with a silpat.
- Bake for 8 – 10 min or until lightly golden at the edges.
Dine with the Dead, Brunch edition
The rules are simple:
- Create delicious food
- That looks scary/gross/weird/dead
The guests may come dressed:
- As the dead
- Mourning the dead
Dine with the Dead is one of my favorite Halloween traditions. We try to host this every year, some years better than others. The open chest cavity (rack of lamb with roasted red pepper heart) was exceptional, as was the eyeballs flambé. The squid ink pasta was not a huge hit. Forbidden rice? Win! Sinister chicken? Meh.
For this edition, we wanted to expand our horizons a bit, so we choose to do exclusively brunch items. Bloody Mimosas, Eyeball Yogurt Parfaits, and our hands down favorite, Breakfast Intestines.
This recipe can be adapted to nearly any filling, the one below is outstanding. It was, admittedly, hard to stomach (no pun intended), but taste-wise, resembled a breakfast burrito or a breakfast pot pie (if such a thing exists).
Breakfast Burrito Intestines
- 1 pkg Puff Pastry, thawed per instructions
- Small Sweet Peppers, in assorted colors
- 1 Egg White
- Red Food Coloring
filling (feel free to pick your favorite breakfast burrito ingredients here)
- 1 ½ cup Scrambled Eggs (we choose to dye half greenish and half mauve-ish)
- 5 slices Bacon, cooked medium-rare, chopped
- ½ cup Cheese, shredded (we used Cheddar)
- ½ cup Salsa
- Preheat oven to 375, and line a 9″ x 13 ” pan with parchment paper
- Divide each puff pastry sheet into 3 equal strips lengthwise. Lightly flour a long work surface and lay each strip so that the skinny ends connect (you’re making a really long snake). Press and seal the seams between strips.
- Layer the filling ingredients down the entire length of the dough, leaving the edges free to pinch close.
- Pinch the entire length of the dough to seal it closed. Stretch the dough where necessary.
- Cut the peppers into halves lengthwise (so that they are long and narrow). Place the peppers into the baking dish. If you’d like, you can roast the pepper in advanced for a more toxic organs look. In the image, we have one small yellow pepper, one larger red pepper, and one dark reddish green tomato that shriveled in baking.
- Gently arrange the intestine into a a squiggly shape over the veggies.
- Whisk the egg white with a small amount of red food coloring. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg white, adding extra to the crevices.
- Bake 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Serve warm.
A couple of notes:
- Do not overcook filling ingredients, as they are going to bake for additional time.
- Food coloring is your friend. We made 2 scrambled eggs with a greenish hue, and they looked like bile. We scrambled 3 eggs with a mauve-ish hue and they easily passed for just miscellaneous insides.
- Feel free to substitute or add anything. Other great options:
- Sour Cream (dye!)
- Hot Sauce
One year for class Christmas party, back when you could call it a Christmas party, my mom made the most amazing treats for me to bring to school. She hand-crafted 31 Rice Krispy Treat Christmas Trees, each dyed green, and decorated with Nerds and Skittles, and topped with a foil star with the name of each kid in my class written on it.
Ever since then, it has mystified me how people think something like this, could be called festive/impressive/worthwhile, when its clearly not:
For Halloween I was having a krispy-craving so I decided to make some pumpkins for my coworkers, and teach Monkey the ways of the Rice Krispy Treats, that will someday make him the coolest cat around.
We made two batches, one orange and one green…we had too much green so we made some monsters too. There are a couple tricks:
- Add the food coloring before the marshmallows are completely melted.
- Butter everything; pot, spoon and, most importantly, YOUR HANDS!
- Only do one color at a time. Otherwise your treats will get stiff and hard to mold.
From there we basically used the standard Rice Krispy Treat recipe, found on their website or on any box of the stuff:
Pumpkin Rice Krispy Treat Army
- 3 tbsp Butter
- 10 oz bag Marshmallows (make sure these are fresh, not the stale ones from your last camping trip)
- 6 cups Rice Krispies (I have not had good luck with substitutions)
- Food Coloring
- Extra butter for your hands and things
- Wax Paper
- Melted Chocolate
- Butter your pot and spoon.
- In a large pot, melt the butter over low heat.
- Add the marshmallows, and continue stirring until completely melted (add food coloring towards the end)
- Add the Krispies, and stir vigorously until they’re all coated
- Are your hands buttered? Butter your hands well!
- Working quickly, grab a handful of Kripies and mold into a pumpkin shape. This best way to do this is to make a ball, press it on to wax paper, and then form with your thumbs.
- Allow to cool, then decorate with additional colored treats, melted chocolate, or leftover candies of your choice.
Now lick your fingers clean, and enjoy the fruits of your labor! Pumpkin’s a fruit, right?
Setting the mood for dinner.
Every October we like to host a dinner called, “Dine With the Dead.” Basically we like to make delicious food that tastes delicious, looks creepy, and create a spooky atmosphere. Guests may dress as though they are attending a funeral, either as a guest or in the casket. Over the years we have collected several pieces to add to our table, and this is just a glimpse.
- Claw champagne glass
- Lacy spiderweb tablecloth over white tablecloth (buy)
- Black velvet, skull table runner
- Skull candles
- Spider candle holder
- Spider ring napkin holder
- Black cloth napkins
- Candles in red candle holder
- Red lightbulbs in regular dining room light (mood lighting)
The full scene