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Christmas cookies fit for Grandma's kitchen

| December 20, 2016 2:00 AM

This week I had to make up a few cookies for the church potluck. Rather than purchase a package of some ready-made version, I made up a few batches.

I grew up making spritz cookies, but not shortbread. The spritz came from a favored recipe handed down from my grandmother, which was only made up around Christmas. The cookie press we used all the time was a bit of a pain to use, with a knob having to be twisted to get the dough through the die. I was introduced to shortbread after I had gotten married. I’m not speaking of the tins of butter cookies that show up around the holidays, but a true shortbread cookie.

A few years ago I came across a recipe for shortbread that I found in a King Arthur Flour-produced cookbook that I adapted for my own use. I found the recipe never makes enough dough, so I rewrote the recipe to call for 8 pounds of butter. Yes, this makes a very large amount of dough, so some gets eaten, some gets made into pucks that are frozen for later baking and some gets baked right away.

SHORTBREAD

2 cups butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 2/3 cups pastry or all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in the flour. Scoop out even amount of dough and drop them onto parchment lined baking sheets, leaving space between the cookies. Press cookie to gently flatten. Bake until golden brown. Allow to cool before removing from the paper.

GRANDMA’S SPRITZ

1 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 1/2 cups flour, sifted

Food coloring, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, cream butter and salt together. Blend in sugar, a little at a time until fluffy. Beat in egg and flavorings. Stir in flour until smooth. Add any desired coloring, a drop at a time. Mix well. Fill cookie press with dough and with desired disks, press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

EGGNOG SPRITZ

2/3 cup sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream sugar, butter, egg, salt, spices, and vanilla until fluffy. Beat in flour. Place dough in cookie press. Place into a cookie press and press out cookies a baking pan. Fill cookie press with dough and with desired disks, press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

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