One of the things I love about my social media news feeds at this time of year is seeing all of the pretty cookie boxes that pastry chefs, bakeries and baking blogs make and send out to loved ones and customers.
Cookie boxes are essentially boxes filled with an assortment of cookies. For obvious reasons, they tend to be cookies that are easy. to produce en masse, and also durable enough to be shipped over long distances.
One of the best types of cookies for a cookie box in my opinion is the Spritz Cookie. Spritz cookies are given their name because of how they’re made. The dough gets funneled through a cookie ‘press’; a tube fitted with a metal stencil that presses the dough out into a specific shape. The dough is very easy to put together, and provided it’s been put together right, spritz cookies can be made very easily, and they hold up really well in terms of transport and longevity.
If I had to describe the taste of a spritz cookie, I would probably liken it to the Blue Tin butter cookies (you know which ones I’m talking about), except when you make them from scratch they have the potential to taste even better. (And I say that as someone who actually enjoys the blue tin butter cookies)
In building my own little ‘cookie box’ for the 12 Days of Christmas this year, I decided to do a riff on a spritz butter cookie and add some spices that I thought would give it a holiday flair. Once I put the dough together, I fitted my own cookie press with the snowflake stencil, and within about 45 minutes, I had a cookie box of very delicious spiced butter snowflake cookies.
Another great thing about spritz cookies is that you actually don’t need a cookie press to make them. They will bake just fine when the dough is shaped into a log and divided into slices, and I’ve included directions for this in the recipe below.
We’re now halfway through the 12 Days of Christmas–be sure not to miss the last five days of recipes, and stayed tuned fort he remaining six!
Day 6: Spiced Spritz Butter Cookies
Spiced Spritz Butter Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temp
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice or cloves
- 2 large egg yolks, room temp
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place 3 baking sheet pans in the freezer to chill thoroughly.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour with the spices and the salt. Stir together with a fork and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, or using. hand-held mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy.
Add the egg yolks one at a time, and the vanilla, mixing just until combined.
Add the flour in 2 increments, mixing just until combined.
Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
Place chilled dough into your cookie press. Press dough out onto ungreased and unlined baking sheets.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned at the edges. Allow to sit on baking sheet for about 60 seconds before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Note: no one oven is the same, & different baking sheets bake cookies differently. Keeping this in mind, I will ALWAYS test bake one cookie before baking entire sheets of the whole batch, just to get a good idea of how long they should be in the oven and if I need to adjust the way I’ve cut, rolled them out, etc. I highly recommend that you do the same.
*If you do not have a cookie press, once you have finished mixing the dough, divide and mold it into 2 long, rectangular logs. Tightly wrap the logs in plastic wrap and shape into a square shape. (I used these molds, but using a bench scraper or the inside of a 13 x 9 baking dish works as well). If using the molds, press the plastic wrapped log into the molds, then refrigerate both overnight.)
Remove the logs from the molds and unwrap. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, slice cookies about 1/4 inch thick (or to your desired preference). Place about 1 inch apart on prepared pans and sprinkle tops with sugar. (Depending on how thick you cut them, this makes quite a few cookies; you’ll probably have to do this in a few batches)
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.