Friday, January 01, 2016

A Christmas mini-miracle

Photo from Taste of Home
Not, probably, a "real" miracle -- but then, if you believe as I do that God has His hand in every detail of our lives, then it's at the very least a mini-miracle.

We like making pressed cookies at Christmas time.  I've worn out several cookie presses, in fact. The first one or two presses that I had were metal and I really liked them.  But when it came time to replace them all that was available was plastic.  (I apologize for the blurry picture.)

I'm now on my second plastic cookie press and I really don't like it.  The press is larger but very similar to the one pictured above, and the cookies it produces are too big.  Spritz should be delicate.  These are not.  So, as much as we enjoy various flavors of spritz, I decided not to bake any this year.

Then a few days before Christmas my sister-in-law (who is also my Avon lady) stopped by.  As I browsed through the Christmas catalog, I noticed a plastic cookie press much like the one I have.  I commented that I was in the market for a new one, but that it wouldn't be plastic.  She then told me that she had found a vintage, unused, cookie press, still in its original box, at the dump.

She had brought it home and baked the very first pressed cookies of her life.  It worked perfectly, she said.  And then she offered to lend it to me since she was finished with it for the season!  She dropped it off the next day.  I wasn't home, but my hubby was.  After his sister gave him a few tips on the use of the cookie gun, he immediately mixed up a batch of Christmas tree spritz!  Here's the recipe:
Christmas Tree Spritz
At last!  Perfectly delicate spritz Christmas trees!
 And then he made a batch of another favorite: Lemon Spritz.

I wish he had added some sprinkles to these, but he forgot.  I dipped a few of them in melted chocolate -- a nice flavor combination with the lemon.
Then he decided to try a new recipe.   In this nifty little vintage cookbooklet from Pillsbury,

  I spotted a recipe for Pepparkakor Spritz.  Now I had been craving the spicy flavor of Pepparkakor, but didn't have time to make cut-out cookies.  So I suggested Mr. T give this spritz recipe a try.  A vintage recipe for a vintage cookie press -- what could be more suitable?

As it turned out, there was a mistake of some sort in the recipe -- using just 1 egg yolk made the dough very crumbly -- far too crumbly to work in a cookie press.  So he added the egg white as well, and that made the difference.  The flavor was wonderful, and we've amended the recipe.  Here it is if you are interested:

Sift together...
2 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 cup butter.  Gradually add
1/2 cup sugar, creaming well.
1 egg and
1/3 cup molasses; beat well.
Blend in...
sifted dry ingredients gradually; mix thoroughly.
a small amount of dough through a cookie press onto ungreased baking sheets, using any plate to make desired shape.  Decorate with sprinkles or colored sugar if desired.
at 400ยบ for 6 to 8 minutes.
Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies.
Again, these would be prettier with red sugar or colored sprinkles, I think.
So there is my little "Christmas miracle" for this year.  I'm so thankful that God is in the details of life!


  1. Mrs T, I too have worn out one plastic cookie press and I am eying a metal one on EBAY. I use the cookie press to make cheese straws( a southern delicacy!)) and the dough is quite firm. The plastic just does not hold up to it. So glad you have access to one that works. My mother used to make those little pressed cookies at Christmas as well!! I can remember eating them hot out of the oven.


  2. Hi Arlene!

    Yes, I am thinking that eBay or even Etsy may be the best place to look for a good metal cookie press. There are some available on Amazon, but the ones I've looked at have very negative reviews. So I think a vintage one is probably the way to go. I'm happy to have access to my sister-in-law's press, but will be happier still to have my own.

    I don't think that my mother ever made pressed cookies, but I remember always wanting to. When I was a child we always participated in a Christmas fair at the Methodist church, and one Swedish lady always brought these beautiful little spritz wreaths. You can probably guess that as a young mom with my own cookie press at last, those and the little Christmas trees were the first ones I tried. The wreaths are awfully fragile, though -- they break very easily. Still, so pretty and delicious!

  3. Yes they taste better if you eat them before they can break!lol...I am up for that job!! I tried the Wilton press and got maybe three batches of cheese straws out of it before it broke. Plastic was not made for hard jobs!!

  4. I have ALWAYS LOVED Spritz cookies. :) Years ago I was given a plastic one and it was horrible. I do have a metal one now ( from a yard sale ) and it is so much better. :)

  5. If this is a repeat, please delete. I remember reading and I thought that I'd commented. I was glad to see the new to me recipes...I have only tried a rather bland shortbread one. I had such difficulty with my cookie press in the beginning. John had to explain it to me!


  6. Nikki -- I've seen metal ones (new) on Amazon and the less expensive ones have very poor reviews. So I am looking for a vintage one. There are a couple on eBay right now that Carrie is bidding on for me. They are exactly like the one we borrowed.

    Vee -- nope, not a repeat! There are actually a good variety of spritz recipes out there. If you enjoy lemon, I think you would like the lemon spritz in this post. I've also tried, in the past, a recipe for peanut butter spritz. You make them in a flower shape and center a chocolate chip on each one before baking. And then there is this recipe for Fruity Pastel Cookies -- that was intended to be a link, but if it isn't, just do a search for Fruity Pastel Spritz on my Christmas blog. They're made with gelatin powder which adds both flavor and color.


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