PUTTIN' ON THE SPRITZ
Butter cookies piped through a decorative nozzle or extracted using a cookie press are classified as Spritz cookies. Considered by many 'de rigueur' for holiday merriment, Christmas cookies were not part of my youth. However, Jessie was constantly replenishing a cavernous cookie tin with treats made in a Mirro cookie press.
I liked to get in the way of production, ooh-ing and aah-ing over the myriad of shapes. (I've mentioned before that I was partial to the dog shaped disc that looked more like a canine pre-bake as opposed to post-bake.) Jessie had years of experience with the aluminum kitchen gadget and knew that piping lengths of dough using the bar disc was the most expedient choice. Once piped, the ribbons of dough could be cut into 2" or 3" lengths yielding dozens of chocolate or vanilla wafers. There were the most agreeable of the Mirro lot; you knew exactly what you were getting regardless of embellishment. Sugars, drageés or nuts were a nice touch but unnecessary in order for the cookies to be recognizable. Occasionally, Jessie dunked the cookies in melted chocolate and dotted them with chopped walnuts. I suppose it had more to do with supply and demand, less about glitz.
The process of spritz cookie-ing is something I now enjoy, having recovered from Post Traumatic Spritz Disorder, a malaise that haunted me through years of cookie press demos; part of my job description when employed by an American retailer of high end bakeware. Spritz's blank cookie canvas is easily modified. Chocolate dough spiked with espresso is my idea of a balanced breakfast. When 5 o'clock rolls around, vanilla spritz with the lightest drizzle of Aperol glaze and candied orange seamlessly crosses the line from afternoon tea into cocktail hour. Melted chocolate on most spritz cookies is an excellent idea and though no one is forcing you, that's when you reach for your favorite sprinkles. The beauty of the spritz cookie is that underneath it all, they're quite plain, rather light and very easy to eat. If you don't have a cookie press, the holidays are rapidly approaching. Align yourself with the "nice" as opposed to "naughty" list and let it be known.
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