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A perfect spritz cookie recipe (with lemon and almond variations) from the folks at Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen. This recipe includes detailed instructions for piping which you can ignore if you're experienced. If using a pastry bag, use a star tip to create the various shapes. For stars, a 1/2- to 5⁄8-inch tip works best, but for rosettes and S shapes, use a 3/8-inch tip (measure the diameter of the tip at the smallest point). To create stars, hold the bag at a 90-degree angle to the baking sheet and pipe the dough straight down; stars should be about 1 inch in diameter. To create rosettes, pipe the dough while moving the bag in a circular motion, ending at the center of the rosette; rosettes should be about 1 1/4 inches in diameter. To create S shapes, pipe the dough into compact S’s; they should be about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide. If you make an error while piping, the dough can be scraped off the baking sheet and repiped. We had the best results baking these cookies one sheet at a time. When reusing a baking sheet, make sure that it has completely cooled before forming more cookies on it. Unbaked dough can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days; to use, let it stand at room temperature until softened, about 45 minutes. Baked cookies will keep for more than a week if stored in an airtight container or zipper-lock bag. Recipe makes 6 dozen 1 1/2-inch cookies.
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position; heat the oven to 375°F In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk, cream, and vanilla with a fork until combined; set aside.
- In a standing mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and salt at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer running at medium speed, add the yolk-cream mixture and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl. With the mixer running at low speed, gradually beat in the flour until combined. Scrape down the bowl and give a final stir with the rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain.
- If using a cookie press to form the cookies, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to fill the press; if using a pastry bag (see TECHNIQUE below). Press or pipe cookies onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake, one sheet at a time, until the cookies are light golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet until just warm, 10 to 15 minutes; using a metal spatula, transfer them to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
- FOR LEMON SPRITZ COOKIES: Follow the recipe for Spritz Cookies, adding 1 teaspoon lemon juice to the yolk-cream mixture in step 1 and adding 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest to the butter along with the sugar and salt in step 2.
- FOR ALMOND SPRITZ COOKIES: Grind ½ cup sliced almonds and 2 tablespoons of the flour called for in Spritz Cookies in a food processor until powdery and evenly fine, about 1 minute; combine the almond mixture with the remaining flour. Follow the recipe for Spritz Cookies, substituting 3/4 teaspoon almond extract for the vanilla.
- TECHNIQUE: Filling a Pastry Bag: (1) Make a C shape with one hand and hold the piping bag. Fold the bag over that hand about halfway down, insert the tip, and scrape the dough into the bag. (2) When the bag is about half full, pull up the sides, push down the dough, and twist tightly while again pushing down on the dough to squeeze out any air. (3) Grab the bag at the base of the twist. Using the other hand as a guide, hold the top at a 90-degree angle about 1/2-inch above the baking sheet and squeeze to form the shape.
I was so excited to see this recipe on Food.com. I have tried several times to make Spritz cookies as good as I remember my grandma's being and haven't succeeded (even with her recipe.) ATK has done it again. These are better than Grandma's! My only complaint, which has nothing to do with the taste, is that they are still a bit (a tiny bit) difficult to pipe with a bag neatly. Now I have a reason to buy that cookie press I've been wanting for years!