Today’s post is a look back at probably my #2 favorite recipe of all time – second only to my mom’s spaghetti sauce recipe.
It is for a spritz cookie, which is a lovely, simple butter cookie. Enjoy.
My family is one that is heavy on Christmas traditions. There are almost too many to keep track of. I’ve tried to keep most of them, but there’s one that is what Christmas is all about wrapped up in one magical cookie.
Butter, flour, sugar, egg, vanilla, baking powder. Simple ingredients – nothing fancy or elaborate – that combine to make a delicately delicious taste of the holidays.
This is my grandmother’s butter spritz cookie recipe. She made them in an ancient cookie press. My mother and Aunt Bun followed suit. The holidays didn’t really start until I could smell these delicious cookies baking in the oven.
My mom would take them out and I would marvel at the wonderful shapes – wreaths, Christmas trees, a wise man riding a camel. Sometimes I would get to decorate them with sprinkles, maraschino cherries, and nuts. Mom would make them by the hundreds.
When I became old enough to be entrusted with the recipe, and with a cookie press, I, too, began making these cookies, and I have every year since.
And so the generations continue on, with my kids now skipping delightedly around my kitchen waiting for the cookies to finish baking. Tonight we made our first batch of the year. After my kids had gone upstairs, I sat next to our Christmas tree, butter cookies and a glass of milk in hand, and smiled as I recalled all of the other wonderful holiday memories I have.
But this cookie recipe, filled with the love of many Italian women who preceded me, is one of my Christmas treasures. I hope you enjoy them, too!
1 cup butter (two sticks), softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 and 1/4 cups flour (sift first, then measure to 2 and 1/4 cups)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
Heat oven to 375. This recipe is much easier if you have a stand mixer to do the mixing, but if you don’t, it is still great. Just be prepared with a stiff arm!
Cream butter and sugar together until smooth and well combined. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients, which have been sifted together. Mixture will be very dense, heavy and thick. Dough can be put into a cookie press and pressed out onto cookie sheets or simply put into teaspoonfuls.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies just start to turn brown. Makes 60-72 cookies.
A cook’s notes: you can add food coloring to change the color of these cookies, and decorate with any sort of accompaniment you wish: sprinkles, nuts, etc.