Spritz recipe served family well over the yearsPublished 10:43am Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Melt a package of chocolate almond bark, roll pretzels in the chocolate and sprinkle liberally with holiday candy sprinkles.
OK, so that really isn’t a recipe, but add peanut butter or peppermint extract and the chocolate pretzels, always a perennial holiday favorite, become something quite extraordinary.
I made a few bags of the pretzels over the weekend and realized that having another bag of chocolate
on hand will allow me to make a quick, festive treat at the first sign of company.
The real recipe I want to share with you is my favorite Christmas cookie. While the recipe will look familiar, I’ve made a few changes over the years based on my tastes.
The Spritz cookie has dozens of variations, but this is still the best recipe in my mind. It came from a
cookbook I received at work when I wrote a weekly food column, oh so many years ago.
Some of you may remember those columns, written around the themes of comfort foods and sharing time with family and friends. It seems all great gatherings, those filled with laughter and fun, come together at the
dinner (or breakfast or lunch) table.
The book, “Rose’s Christmas Cookies,” written by Rose Levy Beranbaum, is complete to the detail about
how to make many Christmas cookies, but I’ve only taken a few from her book, the Spritz one among
them. It was copyrighted in 1990, so within a year or so, my copy arrived.
I have used it so many years that the pages fall all over the floor every time I pull it from the shelf, so the first thing I have to do is put the pages in order and return them between the book covers. It’s a holiday tradition. This year was no different.
The Spritz Butter Cookie recipe can be found on Page 17 and goes like this:
1/2 cup blanched, sliced almonds
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup butter, unsalted and softened (I still use the salted butter)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups flour
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place almonds on a cookie sheet and bake them, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes or until
lightly browned. Cool.
Grate the almonds powder fine (I found when I left the almonds a little bigger, they didn’t go through the cookie press as well.)
In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the egg and extracts and beat until blended.
On low speed, gradually add the flour, salt, and grated
almonds and mix until incorporated.
If you like, color a portion of the dough red or green, and put into a cookie press or pastry bag. Press out your favorite shapes. Decorate with sprinkles.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on size, or until pale golden.
Store in an airtight container or these freeze well, too.