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Spritz Cookies

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Spritz cookies are a festive addition to any holiday baking regime and they make wonderful food gifts. Flavored with almond paste and almond extract, these buttery cookies are sure to please any sweet tooth year-round. If you don't have a spritz gun, aka a cookie press, you can use a piping bag fitted with a large star tip--just be sure the cookies are the same size.

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Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) package almond paste
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 egg whites, about 1/4 cup
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • colored decorator sugar of your choice

Details

Servings 24
Preparation time 30mins
Cooking time 10mins

Preparation

Step 1

Break up the almond paste in the bowl of your mixer. Add the sugar and mix on medium-low speed, using the beater attachment, until the almond paste is broken up into small pieces. It may become smooth at this point, if the almond paste is very fresh.

Add 1 egg white and continue mixing until the almond paste is very smooth. Scrape down the bowl and add the second egg, mix to incorporate. Add the softened butter and beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides, then mix in the almond extract.

Add the flour and salt, mix on low speed just until it is incorporated and very smooth.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment.

PIPING BAG DESIGN:
If you are using a piping bag to make the cookies, fit the bag with a large star tip and fill the bag about 1/3 full of the spritz dough. Squeeze the dough out into simple stars. If the dough is not coming out of the bag smoothly, you can squeeze it back into the mixing bowl and add a teaspoon or two of heavy cream. Mix and refill the piping bag.

It doesn't matter what size your stars are, just be sure they are all the same size on the baking sheet. If you make some small and some large, they will not bake evenly.

I use my finger, dipped in a little water, to smooth the center of the cookie. This way you can fill the tops with jam after they are baked.

Sprinkle with colored sugar just before baking or leave them plain.

SPRITZ PRESS DESIGN:
Fill the press according to its instructions and press the cookies out onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Sprinkle with colored sugar or leave plain, depending on the look you want. Then bake.

BAKING:
Bake the cookies for about 5 minutes and then rotate the tray. If you are baking more than one tray at a time, then also rotate from top to bottom in the oven. Because the two trays may have different sized cookies, you will need to check for doneness frequently. The cookies are done when they just start to turn golden on the bottom. Remove from the oven and cool completely. You can add a dot of jam to the tops of the star shaped cookies or dip half the wreath in chocolate. Or, just leave them simple and let the almond flavor shine.

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