Spritz cookies are shortbread-like cookies made by pushing dough through a cookie press rather than rolling it out. Cookie press recipes end up looking so impressive because of all of the fun shapes that you can create! Spritz cookies are very easy, but some must-know tips will help you succeed in successfully making a great-looking batch.
What Are Spritz Cookies?
The word “spritz” comes from the German word spritzen, which means “to squirt.” Spritz cookies are literally cookies that are squirted through a cookie press.
They are very similar in taste to butter or shortbread cookies and can be decorated in all kinds of fun ways!
How to Use a Cookie Press
While a cookie press might not be considered an essential baking tool, it’s a fun extra to have in your kitchen (like a madeleine mold or a donut hole pan) – and a must if you want to make spritz cookies.
If you are shopping for one, look for one that doesn’t have flimsy plastic parts. I’ve had several break after a few times making cookie press recipes. My current favorite cookie press is from Wilton. It is well-crafted, ergonomic, and a pleasure to use. I highly recommend it.
Each cookie press will come with its own set of instructions, but there are some general rules to follow for the best success:
- Cookie presses require that the dough be a particular texture. Only certain cookie dough recipes will work when using this tool. When selecting a recipe to use with your cookie press, make sure that the recipe is for a cookie press or is a spritz cookie recipe like mine. For example, the dough from my Christmas sugar cookies (which are classic cut out cookies) would not work for this recipe.
- It is best to use an ungreased cookie sheet when making cookie press cookies. This is the one case where you want your cookie dough to stick to the cookie sheet. After using the tool a bit on parchment paper, I quickly learned how frustrating it is when you lift the cookie press and the dough comes up with it instead of making a pretty pattern on the cookie sheet.
- The dough sticks even better if the cookie sheet is cold, so try first putting the cookie sheet in the freezer.
- This dough should come out of the cookie press nicely, but if you encounter any problems, just mix in a little milk at a time until it is soft enough to come through.
- You do not need to refrigerate the cookie dough, but you may want to chill it for a few minutes if your house is warm and the dough becomes too soft to hold its shape.
How to Make Spritz Cookies
There are a few different kinds of classic spritz cookies. My preference is to make cream cheese spritz cookies. I find that cream cheese-based cookie batter (like the batter I use for my chocolate rugelach) is always extra rich and tangy.
Start by mixing butter, cream cheese, and sugar together until light and fluffy. This takes about three minutes using an electric mixer on high speed.
Mix in egg yolk and vanilla. To get a stronger vanilla flavor, try using vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla; with the paste, you’ll get actual specks of vanilla bean throughout the cookies.
Whisk flour and salt together.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients a little bit at a time until just combined.
Using a cookie press fitted with your favorite design, press cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden.
Cool on a cookie sheet for a few minutes. Then, transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
How to Decorate Cookie Press Cookies
There are so many options for decorating spritz cookies:
- Put festive sprinkles on them just before baking.
- Drizzle them with chocolate ganache after they bake.
- Make sandwich cookies out of them by putting caramel icing, dulce de leche or jam between the layers (as shown below).
- Bake a frozen cherry into the middle of each cookie (as shown at the top of this post).
Try adding spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom to the cookie dough.
If you are making them in the spring or summer, consider adding orange or lemon zest for a fresh, bright flavor.
You can also try using brown butter instead of regular better. Not only does this work really well in spritz cookies, but I use this same technique in my cookie cupcakes!
For another fun twist, try making chocolate spritz cookies.
Storing Spritz Cookies
Spritz cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for a week. They also freeze really well! And, since they hold up so nicely, they are perfect for shipping to friends and family.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste You can substitute vanilla extract, but it's nice to have the beans.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes when using an electric mixer on high speed.
- Mix in egg yolk and vanilla bean paste.
- Whisk flour and salt together in a small bowl.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients a little bit at a time until just combined.
- Using a cookie press, press cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden.
- Cool on a cookie sheet for a few minutes. Then, transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.