Butter Spritz Cookie Overview
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Techniques Used: How to Fill a Piping Bag
Butter spritz cookies, or really butter cookies in general, are one of my all time favorite cookies! I love how simple the ingredients are because it really lets the butter flavor shine!
For the holidays this year I wanted to make some spritz cookies without a cookie press. I don’t love adding gadgets to my kitchen because I live in a small apartment in Chicago. So I was determined to use the tools I had on hand to make these “spritz cookies” into beautiful holiday wreaths!
I love how these Christmas wreath cookies turned out. I am also looking for ways to make easy decorated Christmas cookies because doing intricate piping work is not a skill I have. These turned out adorable!
How to Make Butter Cookies
First we need to start with the butter cookie dough. It is a fairly standard dough, similar to a shortbread cookie dough, except we have the addition of egg yolks for richness and to help hold the shape a little more.
Step 1: Lightly Cream the Butter and Sugar Together
It is important to note that for these butter cookies you don’t want to cream the butter and sugar together too much. For many cookies you cream until light and fluffy. But for these butter cookies we are only going to mix until combined because the more you cream the butter and sugar, the more the cookies will spread out.
Step 2: Mix in Egg Yolks & Extracts
For these cookies we are only going to use the egg yolks instead of whole eggs. This will add some richness and help bind the cookies without making them spread out.
I also like to use both vanilla extract and almond extract in my butter cookies. The almond extract is optional but I think it adds a really nice complimentary flavor.
Step 3: Mix in the Flour
When you measure your flour make sure you spoon it into your measuring cups without packing in and level it off. This will ensure you don’t get too much flour into your cookie dough.
Add the flour into the mixing bowl and mix until just combined. The mixture will be very thick and slightly crumbly. As soon as the flour is absorbed, stop mixing. The cookies will get dry and tough if you mix too much.
How the Make Spritz Cookies without a Cookie Press
I do not own a traditional cookie press to make spritz cookies. If you do have one of these, you can use this dough in your press. However, you can make these spritz cookies without a cookie press.
You’ll want to transfer the dough into a piping bag fit with a large open star tip. Something like the Ateco 869 tip or the Wilton 8B tip. If you don’t have a large tip, you can just use a large open tip.
If you want more traditional spritz cookies, you can hold the bag vertical over the parchment paper and pipe large dollops of dough. However, if you want to make the Christmas wreath cookies, pipe in a circle using strong even pressure.
The dough is very thick, so it helps not the fill the bag too much. It also, helps to massage the dough in the bag to warm up the butter slightly to help pipe it.
How to Prevent Spritz Cookies from Spreading
- Freeze the Dough: The best way to keep the spritz cookies from spreading is to freeze the dough before it goes into the oven. After piping your cookies, transfer the sheet pan into the freezer to freeze the cookies while the oven preheats. This will ensure the cookies set before the butter melts and spreads out.
- Bake at a High Temperature: I also like to bake these cookies at a high temperature (375 F, 190 C). This will also help the cookies to set before the butter melts and spreads out.
- Bake one Sheet Pan at a Time: It is also important to only bake one sheet pan at a time so that the heat is evenly distributed on the trays.
How to Decorate Spritz Cookies
I love making spritz cookies because it is such an easy decorated Christmas cookie. The shape looks beautiful all on its own!
For the Christmas wreath cookies, liberally sprinkle green sanding sugar on the cookies after piping and before freezing. After the cookies are baked, you can press the large holly berry sprinkles into the cookies. Don’t add those large sprinkles before baking or they will bleed into the cookies.
I hope you’ve been enjoying this 25 Days of Cookies series! If you have missed any, check out my gallery for all of the Holiday Cookie Recipes!
- 2 sticks (1 cup, 226 gr) unsalted butter, room temp
- 2/3 cup (135 gr) granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
- 2 1/3 cup (280 g) all-purpose flour (measured properly by spooning into measuring cups without packing in and level off)
- sprinkles for topping (optional)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt on medium/high speed until combined. Only cream for about 30-45 seconds. The more you cream, the more the cookies will spread out instead of holding their shape.
- Add the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and almond extract if using to the mixing bowl. Mix until incorporated.
- Add the flour into the mixing bowl and mix until combined. The mixture will be very thick and slightly crumbly. Once the flour is incorporated, stop mixing.
- If you like, you can scoop out balls of dough and flatten them out to make circular butter cookies. If you want a spritz cookie, you can use a cookie press or fit a pastry bag with a large open star tip. Alternatively, you can just use a large round tip or a plastic bag with a corner cut off. I find that a large french tip like the Ateco 869 tip or the Wilton 8B tip work well. Fill your pastry bag with about 1/3rd of the mixture. The mixture is very thick so you don't want too much dough in it or it will be almost impossible to pipe.
- Scoop or pipe the dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. If you want to make the wreaths like pictured, pipe circles of dough with the star tip. I like to also secure the parchment paper with a dab of dough on under each corner to hold it in place while I pipe. If the dough feels too thick to pipe, massage the bag with your hands to warm it up slightly so it is more pipeable. Add sprinkles on top if desired. I do reserve the larger decorative sprinkles, like the holly berry sprinkles pictured, until the cookies are done baking or they will bleed into the dough.
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer to set for 15-20 minutes before baking. This will ensure that the cookies really hold their shape. You can skip this step if you like, but the cookies will likely spread while baking.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Bake one sheet pan at a time for about 13-16 minutes. Try to avoid opening the oven during the first half of the baking time or the heat will escape and your cookies may spread. If you make much smaller cookies (the ones pictured are about 2 1/2 inches wide, you will need a shorter baking time about 8-12 minutes). Remove from the oven when the cookies are set and lightly golden brown. They will not brown very much. If using, press the larger decorative sprinkles into the cookies right when you remove them.
- Allow the cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before moving them to cooling racks to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
*Adapted from The Baker's Manual
Prep Ahead: If you'd like to make the dough ahead of time, you can follow the recipe all the way up to the part before baking. Move the shaped cookie dough into an airtight freezer container after they are frozen. Keep frozen for up to 3 months. When you want to bake, you can bake straight from frozen. They bake very well this way!