Italian "Easter" Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies
These cookies, with their touch of Fiori di Sicilia, are inspired by an Italian-American cookie made around Easter time. Although normally hand-formed, I was inspired to make these using my "Spritz Press". I decided to make a glaze (recipe from King Arthur Flour) that I drizzled over each cookie and then sprinkled with colored nonpareils. The Fiori di Sicilia is a baking extract that I buy from King Arthur Flour (online). It has notes of citrus and vanilla. You can, of course, use your own favorite extract-- almond, lemon, whatever you like. If you don't own a cookie press, you can use a pasty bag with a large tip to press out your cookies in whatever shapes you like. The traditional shape is more of a round/wreath. Cookie recipe adapted from Fine Cooking. Please click on the recipe source to see how I made these on my food blog, "A Feast for the Eyes".
- 8 ounces (1-cup) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 3 ounces cream cheese (I use Philadelphia brand), softened at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia (from King Arthur Flour) (optional, but gives a citrus-vanilla flavor)
- 11 1/4 ounces (2 1/2-cups) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten (optional, if not using glaze. Helps to adhere colored or coarse sugar, before baking)
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' or glazing sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- Nonpareils, for decorating
- Colored sugars or other decorations for sprinkling (optional) if not making the glaze.
Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 30mins
Adapted from foodiewife-kitchen.blogspot.com
Heat the oven to 375°F.
With a stand mixer (use the paddle attachment) or a hand mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugar in a large bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Add the egg yolk and vanilla and whatever extract you wish touse, and beat again until blended. Add the flour and mix on low speed until blended.
Fit a cookie press with a die plate.
Scoop up about a quarter of the dough* and, using a small amount of flour if needed, shape the dough into a log just narrower than the barrel of the cookie press.
Slide the log into the cookie press and spritz the cookies directly onto ungreased baking sheets about 1 inch apart.
(optional) Brush the tops with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with colored sugar if using. Repeat with the remaining dough. Otherwise, don't brush with the egg white and sugar and bake plain. Then make the glaze.
Bake until the cookies are just golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes (it’s best to bake one sheet at a time).
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet on a rack for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. Be sure the baking sheet is cool before spritzing more cookies.
Blend all of the ingredients. I like to lay my cookies on a cooling rack, and then drizzle the glaze with a spoon. Or, you can dip each cookie in the glaze. Sprinkle with nonpareils or colored coarse sugar. Allow to dry for at least 15 minutes.
Store at room temperature or freeze in an airtight container, separating the cookie layers with waxed paper.
Tips: I found the dough to be a bit soft to work with my cookie press. I refrigerated the dough for about 30 minutes, and froze each baking sheet.
Do NOT line the baking sheets with parchment paper, nor grease them. Spritz cookies want to be on a cool baking sheet.
The reason for freezing the baking sheets, is to prevent spreading of the cookies.