It was an early dismissal day last Thursday when Kathe called and invited my kids and I over to play. And since it’s never a “should we cook?” but always a “what should we cook?” Kathe mentioned that she needed to make Christmas cookies for her church. Though I wouldn’t ordinarily think to bake cookies on a 67 degree, Indian summer December day, I did need to replenish my stash of chocolate chip dough balls so I agreed.
Plus, I knew my daughter would have fun using our awesome cookie presses to crank out adorable bite sized cookies with her pal, Emily. We’ve all been making Spritz cookies together for four years now and it’s become a favorite holiday tradition.
While shaking red and green Christmas sprinkles on their cookies, the girls noted that their teacher— who got wind of their after school activity—declared herself to be an official cookie tester. Sensing an opportunity to spread the cheer, the girls decided to bring cookies to all of their teachers. Since so much of our cooking and baking together involves sharing with others, this simple gesture by the girls was a brief moment for two moms to be especially proud of their daughters.
The warm breezes wafting into the kitchen combined with the sounds of their older brothers having loads of fun outside, was enough to lure the girls outside after one batch of cookies. And through their effort they earned the right to grab a handful of warm cookies, which they carried outside. In minutes, we had a crowded kitchen of muddy footed kids asking for their own. It was a good thing we each made a double batch!
While Kathe and I cranked out dozens of these simple cookies, we talked about other types of cookies we’d be making for her upcoming cookie swap. We strategized about the edible gifts we’d be making together for teachers, including chocolate peanut brittle, caramel popcorn, caramel pecan turtles and holiday bark. We even set two baking dates on the calendar so that we’d be set in stone. In a stage of our lives when it’s difficult to find a moment to make a phone call, we got a heck of a lot accomplished in an afternoon together. I even managed to make a few dozen of the chocolate chip dough balls in between batches of Spritz cookies. It was a fun start to a month of baking with friends for a festive holiday season.
Here’s our big batch recipe for Spritz cookies, which is the same recipe that Kathe used throughout the years making cookies with her own mother. We happen to sell the cookie press, made by Wilton in the Cooking With Friends store: www.cookingwithfriendsclub.com
Basic Spritz Cookies
Makes 8 dozen
These cookies are meant to be used in a cookie press. They are a great cookie to make with a friend since you can make tons in a short amount of time. You can easily get some assembly line action going — one of you can decorate while the other uses the press.
3 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1) Cream butter at medium high speed in a large bowl.
2) Add sugar gradually
3) Beat until light and fluffy for about 5 minutes.
4) Add in egg and vanilla and mix well.
5) In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter sugar mixture gradually in three sections. Mix well. Dough will be stiff.
6) Fill cookie press and use according to the directions.
7) Decorate with sprinkles if you are not icing the cookies.
8) Bake on 375 for 10-12 minutes.
Quick and Colorful Icing, Contributed by Jenn, CWF Member
These cookies are beautiful when dipped in a simple icing. Sprinkles and other decorations can then be added quickly on top of the icing before they dry. Jenn says that the icing is great for sugar or gingerbread cookies.
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 Tbs. Meringue Powder (found at baking and craft stores like
Michaels and AC Moore and some grocery stores)
Approx. 4-6 Tbs. of water
Mix the powdered sugar and Meringue Powder together and then add the water one tablespoon at a time until it’s the consistency you want.
Use a thicker consistency to outline the cookie with a pastry bag.
Then use a thinner consistency to fill in the middle of the decoration or for dipping the top side of the cookie.