At Christmas, in Britain, when it’s time to indulge your sweet tooth, you’re bound to get offered up something a bit off-putting–something with orange peel and brandy butter–something that we Americans would view as being of ‘an acquired taste’–something that has loads of dates and figs in it…something like mince pies or the ultra bitter Christmas pudding.
I’ve been over there long enough now that I actually have developed my taste buds a bit and I’m in a comfortable place where I can enjoy the occasional mince pie. The Christmas pud though, still takes like cognac soaked vomitous fruit cake…which is kinda what it is.
Mercifully, here in the U.S.A., where I am cozily returned for the holiday break, it’s all about the refined sugar. There’s always a bounty to choose from when you’re ready to pork out on sweets: pies, brownies, puddings, and a dazzling plethora of cookies. Cookies–it’s what Santa eats and it’s good enough for me. They are truly the holiday favorite for most American families. You made ’em with your Grandma when you were little, you probably make a batch for your colleagues at work this week, and they’re a dessert that allows you to go apeshit with sprinkles. As far as varieties of cookies go, when I’m ready to pack on an extra five pounds it’s with a fist-full of today’s favorite thing.
63. Spritz Cookies
You’ve probably consumed spritz cookies before even if you didn’t know that’s what they were called. Don’t confuse them with sugar cookies or cut-outs. They are dense, buttery, crunchy little biscuits.
A teeny bit of history: Though we know they are ttypically served exclusively at Christmas, this cookie’s origins are a bit cloudy. They are debate-ably either Scandinavian (they are sometimes know as Swedish spritz cookies) or potentially German (because the etymology of the word ‘spritzen’ is German–meaning to squirt or spray–which is how you make the cookies, by squirting them through a cookie press). The www.hungrybrowser.com website amicably suggests that Germans may have brought the crunchy biscuits over to Scandinavia. See. German history isn’t ALL bad. They shared their cookies. Like many Christmas treats (cut-outs, candy canes, and gingerbread men for instance) spritz cookies were probably designed as edible ornaments. So, before you eat it, why not dangle it from your tree or pin it to your favorite holiday sweater? Or screw that and just scarf them.
Making spritz cookies is a bit tricky because the consistency of the dough can easily get too malleable to keep its shape (you’ve got to use room temp–not melty butter) but it’s always fun because you get to use a gun.
A typical spritz gun is shown in the photograph above. Bang bang!
My Mom had a model more like this one pictured below. It’s more like a spritz-musket…kaboom!
Spritz cookies can come in all shapes. My Mom’s kit had patterns that produced little wreaths, trees, pinwheels, dogs, and camels, amongst other decorative designs.
They are made in all sorts of varieties. We ate the almond flavoured ones and the chocolate spritzes. Howver, I’ve seen recipes for butter, lemon, raspberry, coconut, sour cream, and pina colada (zoinks).
The chocolate spritzes are my absolute favorite. My Mom used the dog and camel patterns for these. Deee-licious! But, word to the wise, if you’re not careful, they’ll come out looking like little doo doo piles, so easy on that spritz gun trigger, my cookie cowboys.