I had never made spritz before yesterday. I avoided making them because the prehistoric cookie press I inherited from my grandma was totally intimidating. All those little discs with odd shapes. . .I had no idea what to do with it.
But last week I found Grandma’s spritz recipe (in her own hand!), and I knew it was time to conquer my fear.
If you’re unfamiliar with spritz, you should definitely become familiar. They’re a crisp, buttery cookie similar to shortbread, and when they’re good they’re very, VERY good. I opted to add chai spices because I have a compulsive need to leave my fingerprints on everything I touch. And I’m not sorry about that compulsion because it led to the most amazing cookie I’ve ever tasted. And believe me, I’ve tasted waaaay more than my share.
The cookies are super delicate and just kind of crumble/melt in your mouth, and the warmth from all the spices pretty much screams CHRISTMAS SEASON IS HERE! They’re the kind of cookie you want to eat while curled up in front of a fireplace with a cup of coffee (or tea, if that’s more your thing).
No cookie press? No problem—sort of. You can use a pastry bag fitted with a large tip in a pinch. I experimented with a pastry bag and found it difficult because my hands are not the strongest and the dough is fairly stiff. But if that’s not an issue for you then by all means pipe away! I formed cute little “S” shapes by piping a long string of dough with a star tip, then cutting the string into 4-inch pieces with a butter knife and shaping.
This recipe makes TONS! I got about 6 dozen. If you don’t want that many you can easily halve the recipe; if you opt to do so, use one whole egg and omit the yolk. The remaining ingredients can just be cut in half. But you can always give the extras to friends because tis (almost) the season. And everybody loves gifts of cookies!
- 1 cup blanched slivered almonds
- 1 pound butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk*
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 22 cardamom pods, shelled and ground**
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a food processor, grind the almonds until they are a fine powder. Take care not to over-process or you’ll have almond butter instead of ground almonds.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed for 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add egg and egg yolk and beat until combined. Add vanilla, heavy cream, and spices then mix for 2 minutes more.
- Add flour 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until just combined.
- Chill dough for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Using a cookie press or pastry bag fitted with a large tip, press (or pipe) shapes onto prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies until just golden around the edges—8-10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets before carefully removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- *SAVE THAT WHITE! Put it in a jar in the freezer and it will keep for a year. You can use them for meringues, angel food cakes, egg white omelets. . .the possibilities are nearly endless.
- **I do not recommend using pre-ground cardamom as it is nearly flavorless. You can grind your own cardamom in a coffee grinder or a spice grinder.
I love that old-fashioned handwriting 🙂