Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Refrigerate UNGREASED cookie sheets until ready to use. NOTE: Pressing the dough out onto cool, ungreased baking sheets makes it possible for each application to stick on contact. You will need to clean off the cookie sheets between batches.
In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar, egg yolks and flavoring with your electric mixer or mix by hand.
Gradually add flour to mixture, mixing well after each addition.
The secret lies in the dough, which should be neither too soft nor too firm. It it is too soft, the cookies will have no definition, and if the dough is to firm, the cookies will bake too dry. To test the dough's consistency before baking a batch, press a small amount of dough through the cookie press cylinder.
If the dough is too soft so that it doesn't go through cleanly, chill the dough for about 15 minutes.
If the cookie dough is dry, your spritz will fail. To avoid dry cookie dough, be sure to measure your butter exactly and blend your ingredients together by hand rather than in a mixer. Dry cookie dough won’t flow through the cookie press and if you do happen to get some shapes onto the cookie sheet, dry cookie dough bakes into dry and crumbly cookies. Remember, don’t over-mix, over-handle, or over-bake. If the dough is too dry, use 1 or 2 teaspo ons of whole milk and mix it into the dough with your hands.
If dough becomes too soft during use, refrigerate dough about 5 minutes or until firm enough to hold its shape (the dough will crumble if it is too cold, and it won't stick to the cookie sheet).
How to Use an Old Fashioned Cookie Press – These cookie press tips will help you make beautiful spritz cookies.
Pack the dough into a Cookie Press fitted with desired template/disks of your choice (disks can include wreath shapes, stars, crescents, etc).
Begin cranking and twisting (if you use an automatic cookie press follow manufacturer’s instructions) the cookie dough through cookie press, forming desired shapes, onto chilled ungreased cookie sheets about 1-inch apart. If you press your spritz cookies the old fashioned way with a crank or twist press, the secret is all in the wrist. Turn the crank or the twist with the right hand, and then just before you are done, counter twist with the left hand and press gently down, then pull up and off the dough.
Hold the press upright in relation to the cookie sheet with the “legs” resting flat, and force out the dough until it appears at the edge of the mold, then lift the press away. Keep your cookies about 1-inch apart on the cookie sheet.
Sprinkle with colored sugar or add a maraschino cherry half before baking, if desired.
NOTE: I never get a perfect cookie the first, second or the 5th time out of the press. It takes patience and practice, and then the dough reaches the right temperature and the perfect spritz cookie eases out onto the sheet.
Don’t Have A Cookie Press: If you’re not using a cookie press, simply drop the dough by the teaspoonful onto the ungreased baking sheets. Top with coarse sparkling sugar or colored sugar, if desired.
Photos of different types of cookie presses Cookie disk’s choices Pressing the dough through the cookie press
Baking Spritz Cookies:
Remember – use cold and ungreased cookie sheets when baking Spritz cookies. The second batch of cookies on a cookie sheet may have trouble sticking if the cookie sheet is still warm. I usually use more than one cookie sheet when making spritz cookies. If you need to use the same cookie sheet and it is still warm, use some cool water to wipe it down and then dry it with a towel. This also removes any grease from the previously baked cookies that may inhibit sticking.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes in your preheated oven, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time, or until light brown.
Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet until just warm, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Using a thin, wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire cooling racks, and cool to room temperature.
* You must use butter in this recipe. The secret of a great spritz cookie is a dough that is fat enough to press or pipe, yet sturdy enough to hold it shape in the oven. It must be butter.
*** If desired, you can also color the dough with food coloring.
Best Spritz Cookie Recipe: https://whatscookingamerica.net/cookie/spritzcookie.htm