Vanilla and chocolate cream cheese spritz cookies are my holiday go-to this year. Soft, buttery, petite cookies in decorative designs, baked to perfection. Straight up or topped with glaze and festive holiday sprinkles make for a classic holiday cookie that’s easy to pull off during that crazy time of year. These make a wonderful cookie at Christmas, or any other time of the year you crave a traditional butter cookie, minus all the work.
For those unfamiliar, Spritz cookies are vastly popular in Scandinavian countries, where they are a considered traditional Christmas cookie. According to What’s Cooking America, the name comes from the German word “spritzen“, which means “to squirt“, since the dough is pushed and squirted through the cookie press.
Spritz cookies are a lot like sugar cookies. Eggs help spritz cookies hold their shape when baked, so they don’t crumble like their cousin shortbread cookies can. Many credit the Germans for inventing the first authentic cookie press, but others say it was more likely the Scandinavians who are the press originators. A little cookie-history controversy is always fun.
What food historians can agree on, is that the first cookie press likely dates back all the way to the 16th Century. If you have never used a cookie press before, now’s the time. Holidays are stressful enough, a cookie press can make the often involved process of cookie making, substantially easier without sacrificing taste or appearance.
Wilton’s Guide To Using A Cookie Press:
- Fill: Before using, wash the cookie press in warm, soapy water. Dry thoroughly. Turn plunger rod and pull until center rod is all the way up. Unscrew ring at end of press. Shape dough into a log and place inside press.
- Select cookie disk and place on end of press with smooth side out (most models will indicate on the disk which side needs to face out). Screw ring back on press.
- Use: Hold press upright with the bottom ring resting firmly against a cooled ungreased cookie sheet. Do not tilt the press or hold it above the cookie sheet. Squeeze the trigger to form a cookie. Repeat for remainder of dough in press, then refill. To change cookie designs, change disks.
- Decorate: Before baking, add toppings like cherries, almonds, colorful sugars or nonpareils. If preferred, after baking, pipe with icing or drizzle with melted Candy Melts.
- Bake: Bake cookies according your prefered recipe.
- Clean: Twist the barrel off counterclockwise for easy cleaning. When twisting, be sure to grip the barrel and not the outer casing. Wash with warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly.
The take-away is, whether if you are a die-hard Christmas fanatic or simply a cookie lover like myself, these easy cream cheese spritz cookies will cover everyone. In terms of what brand cookie press to buy, there are lots of options, but truthfully, I love my Wilton’s press which is super easy to use (and clean) and not outrageously expensive. If you need more guidance than that, check out this link to the top ten cookie presses by Martha Stewart. Happy baking!
Chocolate And Vanilla Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies
- For the Spritz Cookie Dough:
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- dash of salt
- For the Glaze:
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 5 tablespoons cold water
- holiday sprinkles, colored sugars, optional
- Step 1 For the Cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Set two uncreased, unlined baking sheets near your work station.
- Step 2 In a bowl of a kitchen mixer, add the butter, cream cheese and sugar, beat on medium, scrapping down the sides as needed, to blend. Next, add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.
- Step 3 With the mixer on low, add the salt and flour gradually to the beat until incorporated. Turn the mixer off, scoop out 1/2 of the dough and set on a plate.
- Step 4 Turn the mixer back on low and add the cocoa powder to the remaining dough. Continue to mix until completely blended and there are no white steaks visible.
- Step 5 Work in batches, place some of the vanilla cookie dough into the cookie press with the desired disk. Press dough out onto clean, ungreased cookie sheets. Add some additional dough to the press as needed, until all the vanilla dough has been used up.
- Step 6 Place the cookie son the one and bake without coloration, for 11-12 minutes, rotating the sheet pans once halfway through. Remove from the oven and and cool slightly.
- Step 7 Once cool enough to handle, gently transfer the vanilla cookies to baking racks while you repeat the above process with the chocolate cookie dough. Note, once you switch to the chocolate dough, you will need to wipe down the sheet pans and clean your cookie press and stamps so no vanilla dough gets mixed with otter chocolate dough.
- Step 8 For the Glaze: In a medium mixing bow add the confectioners sugar and water. Whisk well to blend. Once the cookies have cooled completely, gently dip the cookies top side down into the glaze, holding the cookie over the bowl for a few seconds to allow the excess to drip off. Turn the cookie over and place back on the cookie sheets used for baking. Add colorful holiday sugars or sprinkles to all of some if desired.
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