My mother has been baking and decorating “spritz” cookies since the 1940s. Spritz cookies come in dozens of shapes, colors, and flavors. One thing they have in common is that they are all made using a cookie press.
Even as a child, I understood the beauty of my mother’s odd-looking metal cookie press… it let you produce dozens of pretty cookies super-fast. I always begged to use the press instead of baking other kinds of cookies.
Tonight, I’m turning over “the cookie story” to my mother Ruth. It was her story before it became mine.
(The family photo, below, is of my mother Ruth, my father Fred, my grandmother Jenny and grandfather Sam.)
RUTH’S STORY BEHIND THE HOLIDAY HEARTS
“One day when I was about twenty years old, one of my aunts came to visit my family and brought a plate of beautifully decorated cookies.
“My aunt was known as a great baker. The cookies were cut into all different shapes and were sprinkled with colored sugar and sprinkles. My aunt told my mother Jenny that she made them.
But when my aunt left, my mother Jenny said that she thought my aunt was lying and that the cookies came from a bakery. They are were too beautiful to be homemade.
Several months later, when my mother and I were shopping at a department store, I spotted a cookie press for sale. On the box was a photograph of cookies (made using the press) that looked very similar to my aunt's!
We bought the cookie press and took it home. After reading the recipes that came with the food press, we bought everything required and made our own beautiful cookies.
My aunt hadn’t been lying, after all.”
A cookie press
1/2 lb butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla, almond or orange extract
A few drops of food coloring (pink for hearts, green for trees, etc.)
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
Sprinkles, colored sugar or other cookie trims
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla and food coloring. Mix 3 cups of flour with baking powder and add to mixture. Add more flour, if tough is sticky. Add more food coloring, if needed.
Insert a heart disc into the bottom of the cookie press, then fill the press with a narrow tube of dough. Hold the press perpendicular to an ungreased cookie sheet and press out the hearts.
Decorate, as desired.
Bake for about 12 minutes. Makes about 80 cookies. FAST!Tonight's tiny menorah belongs to my mother. It was the first one she and my father bought after they were married. It holds small birthday candles.