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Christmas Cookie Making, a Family Tradition

Monday, December 6, 2010 @ 08:12 PM Karen Hood

Making Spritz cookies is one of my Christmas memories. It was extremely rare that we made these cookies at any other time of the year, so in my mind they are connected with the Christmas season. We would divide up the dough and color it, generally making some of it green and dark pink, and sometimes leaving some the original color. I liked to put two or three colors in the press to make cookies more than one color. We would decorate the cookies with colored sprinkles or strategically place those little silver BBs on them. (I didn’t learn until a few years ago that these are called dragees, and I’m no Spring chicken!)

My sisters and I usually squabbled over who got to do the pressing – we all wanted to do it! We had the old manual press. I don’t think there were electric ones back then. I remember that making the camels was the most difficult. If you didn’t squeeze out quite enough dough, you could tear off their heads or legs, but if you pressed out too much dough, they got too fat and didn’t really look like camels. The Christmas trees were fun to do, and we put the colored sprinkles mostly on them.

It seemed that we had to watch them like a hawk when they were baking. They just didn’t look right if they got browned on the edges. That ruined their looks. Inevitably, some did get too brown, though. We would sort those out if we were taking the cookies to share with others. Of course, I never minded eating them!

The Spritz cookies I grew up making used shortening, but this recipe, which is a Hood and Matsko Family Favorite, is made with butter. Butter makes a very tasty, creamy cookie. If you haven’t done it already, start a Christmas tradition of making certain types of cookies with your children. They will remember it fondly as they grow older.

Pressed Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

1  c. butter, softened (no substitutions)

1  c. sugar

2  tsp. vanilla extract

2  eggs

3  c. all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. salt

colored sugar or sprinkles (optional)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2.  Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla.
3.  Add eggs and beat well.
4.  Stir in flour and salt until blended.
5.  Using cookie press, press dough into long strips on ungreased cookie sheet.
6.  Cut into pieces about 1½ inches long.
7.  Sprinkle with colored sugar or sprinkles if desired.
8.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are just slightly browned.
9.  Remove from oven, and transfer to wire racks to cool.

Yields: 4 to 6 dozen.

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