Christmas is a season of gifting and for some amateur bakers, like myself, who have the audacity and hubris to believe that our wares can be as good as those bought from the stores, it is also a time of happy frenzy as we pot around in our kitchen, churning out batches after batches of cookies and other sweet treats for friends and dear ones. For me, at least, the festival offers a legitimate excuse for me to indulge in my culinary expressions... L has commented that I would be making many people happy with my Christmas giveaways. I replied with my usual pragmatism, "I am not sure if I will be making them happy but at least I get to bake to my heart's content and not have to eat them up by myself..." So, not quite the right attitude to embrace the season's spirit but I swear, I try, I do.... at least I make the effort to conceptualise about what would delight others.
Last year, I gave away boxes of Hershey's Peanut Butter Blossoms. This year, the inspiration came from RasaMalaysia, Bee's Spritz Cookies Post. Her post reminded me of a similar cookie press which I had bought almost a year ago when I was traveling in the US. That and of course, Bee's ravings about the recipe made it difficult for me to resist baking this. It was an easy recipe and the cookie press effortlessly lends a cuteness to the cookies which I believe would be well received by all. The vision of a green Christmas Tree immediately had me reach for my new tub of Pistachio Paste. The first time I worked with the pistachio paste was with these financiers... The impression of those jade green crumbs remains vivid.
The full green pistachio spritz cookies were delicious with the sweet nuttiness from the pistachio. Embellished with a whisper of gold dust or a sprinkle of gold sprinkler beads completed the festive picture. Deciding to experiment a little more with my cookie press, I then dreamt up a dual flavour concoction by combining 2 strips of dough, one pistachio and one vanilla side by side and extruding them through the press. The result was delightful and I was really thrilled.
So, if you too, happen to have a cookie press lying somewhere in your cabinet, I urge you to rummage for it and give this a try. The fundamental recipe, as promised by Bee is wonderful and you can jazz it up with a little creativity. Happy Baking! Pin It
I will be submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #14: Creative Christmas Bakes (December 2011).
Recipe : (Adapted from RasaMalaysia's Spritz Cookies)
Ingredients:280g (260g for pistachio dough) unsalted butter, room temperature
85g powdered sugar+15g sugar1/4 teaspoon salt
20g Pistachio paste (for pistachio dough)
310g all-purpose flour
110g corn starch
3 tablespoons milk powder
2 tablespoons full cream milk/whole milk ( I omitted this for the pistachio dough)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream the butter with sugar and salt until fluffy. Add in egg yolk and vanilla extract and mix until well incorporated.
Add in pistachio paste (for pistachio dough) and mix until well incorporated.
Add in the milk powder,milk, and mix well.
Fold in the all-purpose flour and corn starch. Mix until the dough becomes soft and not stick to hands.
Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silplat. Transfer the cookie dough into the cookie press with your desired pattern. Ratchet the dough out onto the baking sheets. Make sure to leave some space in between the cookies. Top the cookies with some sprinkles and place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked. (For dual flavour cookies, form 1 strip of pistachio dough and 1 strip of vanilla dough. Combine them side by side along the length. Insert the combined dough into the cookie press and ratchet the dough as above)
Bake for about 13-14 minutes, or until cookies are completely cooked through inside or turn slightly brown. Cool on rack.