I love Spring. The world comes back into full color and life re-emerges to flap, sing, and bloom. In honor of my favorite season I give you Spring Spritz Cookies! I combined shapes from our Flowers disk set and the disk set that comes with our Impress! Cookie Press to make a bright, cheerful plate of yummies. Let’s celebrate the return of warm weather, bird song, and blooms. This is a very easy recipe. If you can color a coloring page, you can do this. Trust me, while this may look like it has to be complicated, it’s not only pretty darn simple, it’s wondrously fun!
The butterfly, teardrop leaf, and songbird shapes are in the Press box set. The daffodil and tulip are in the Flowers set. To give you more ideas I show a few more shapes in the pics further on- the daisy and lily from the Flowers set, and the double daisy and sitting bunny from the Press set. More on daisies this summer… I have a lemon raspberry idea that’s just begging to be done in colorful daisies! The bunny just might show up in my next post for Easter. 🙂 (Photos of sets and links at end of this post. )
For today I decided to keep it simple. If you never master another spritz cookie recipe or decorating technique, this is all you need to look like a cookie genius every time.
You have all the tools you need to make amazing, impressive (haha no pun intended!) shaped cookies that will wow party-goers, friends, and family alike. It’s fun, creative, and kind of zen when you really get into it. Baking has wonderful powers to unleash your creative side, to bring you up when you’re down, focus your mind when you’re distracted, or to share your happy, cheery mood when you’re up! It’s such a wonderful hobby. And it doesn’t have to be complicated.
I used my go-to standard recipe, Vanilla-Honey Spritz for this bake. It’s solid, reliable, and consistent. If you’re just learning spritz cookies, this recipe is a great place to start. For decorating I went for my favorite new technique, painting with pearlescent dust. It’s just so easy. Let’s bake and I’ll show you how!
Gather your ingredients.
Impress! Vanilla-Honey Spritz
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened (not melted) (I recommend Land O Lakes brand as I know it creams well. I have had trouble with some generic butters not creaming properly and making the dough hard to press)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a big wire whisk is a good way to mix them evenly. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter very well. I say this in every post so sorry for being repetitive! Creaming your butter until it is fluffy is the key to great spritz cookies. I like to pretend I’m making frosting and use the “whip” setting on my mixer. Butter turns a slightly lighter color when it’s creamed well.
Add the sugar and cream it very well again. Add the honey, the extracts, and egg, re-creaming the mixture after each new addition. Next add the flour mixture a little at a time, mixing on a slow speed until a soft dough forms. Perfect spritz dough has a soft malleable texture that is not too sticky or too stiff. You can always knead it by hand at the end if your mixer is leaving any flour unincorporated. Smooshing it into a play-dough like texture by hand is actually pretty fun. 🙂 Always remember that you can tweak overly stiff dough by adding more vanilla a teaspoon at a time (or by the tablespoon if it’s particularly stiff), or tweak overly soft or sticky dough by adding flour a tablespoon at a time. Watch some of my videos to see what a correct spritz dough texture looks like.
Get your disks and pack your dough into your cookie press barrel, using the back of a spoon to press the air bubbles out as you add dough. This helps create consistent pressure to avoid mis-shaped cookies.
Place the disk in the bottom ring, attach to your press, and start pressing onto an un-greased cookie sheet. Use a consistent rhythm to keep the shapes a uniform size. It’s not at all uncommon for your first few cookies to be mis-shaped, as pressure needs to build in the barrel to make consistent shapes. It’s totally ok! Just throw them back in the bowl to be re-pressed. If you’re still having trouble pressing (mis-shaped cookies, trouble sticking to the pan, etc) press one cookie into the air and wipe it off and toss back into the bowl to re-set your pressure in the press. You can also refrigerate your cookie sheets for 5 minutes if sticking is an issue. (There are more troubleshooting tips on the Troubleshooting and Decorating Tips page- see the top menu on the blog homepage. 🙂 )
All five of these shapes pressed easily. The bird might take a row or two to get the hang of. You want them big enough so that the feet press, but small enough that they aren’t just blobs. If using a one-click-per-cookie type press remember that you don’t always have to follow that guideline. Some shapes may take more or less than one click and that’s ok! Cookies don’t have to come out in even “clicks”. One click, half a click, it doesn’t matter. A press (any press) is a dough pump (it’s kind of like a caulking gun). It’s simply a mechanism for pumping dough out, however many (or few) “clicks” it takes. Again, you can read all about that in the Troubleshooting and Decorating Tips page if you’re new to this.
You can sprinkle a little granulated sugar on before baking if you like. I left mine plain as they’re quite sweet on their own.
The butterflies press smooth as silk, and the daffodils make nice sharp ridges in this dough. If you want smoother butterfly wings, use a slightly wet finger to tap or flatten the rough dough spots. I decided to leave mine as they pressed.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 6-10 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown slightly. Check them early and often as all ovens are different, and spritz can brown quickly once they start to go. Let them cool for four or five minutes before removing to a cooling rack. If they’re too soft after baking they may break when you lift them, and if you wait too long they could stick to the pan. With time you’ll get a feel for it. Check them to see if they’re ready to be moved. If not, wait a few more minutes.
They baked up nicely! Now to decorate. I used several brands of edible pearlescent or lustre dust mixed with clear (imitation) vanilla extract. You could alternatively use lemon extract or vodka. The taste disappears. As you experiment, you’ll get the hang of mixing dust and liquid. It’s a lot like painting with watercolors as a kid in art class.
Because the shapes are already there in a spritz cookie, you don’t have to be an artist to make these come out spectacularly pretty. Follow the “guides” like ridges and sections of the cookies. The wings, beaks, feet, stems, etc, are all delineated for you, so there’s very little freehanding to do. I honestly can’t paint at all, but I can do this!
My technique (you may come up with a better one 😉 ) is to put a small amount of extract in a little dish or cup, then use a larger brush (always use food safe brushes) to drip the liquid a little at a time next to your piles of dust. I use a big plate and place small dust piles around it, then add extract a little at a time- it doesn’t take much! It also dries out quickly so you’ll find yourself adding more. I save that big brush and keep it clean so I’m always re-dipping it in a clean liquid.
Here I added a little yellow to my orange dust to get the color just how I wanted it.
Then paint! It takes a little practice to not get it too heavy or too light. Be patient a take a few minutes to see how runny or thick your “paint” needs to be.
Let them dry a bit in between colors so they don’t run or blend.
For the tulips I added thin white stripes down the ridges, let it dry, then filled in the colors on the petals and the green stems.
Here’s how they all turned out! Mix and match whatever shapes you want. There are plenty of cute critters and flowers and leaves spread throughout our disk sets. These birds are all done with the same bluebird/songbird disk, painted to look like a robin, a bluebird, and a goldfinch. Check out the Woodland Christmas Post to see more painting ideas and the bird as a chickadee! For the birds I used 3/16 inch candy eyes from The Baker’s Kitchen online. I keep boxes of their eyes handy. I use them a lot.
Experiment with how you present them, change up the colors, pick totally different birds to paint, whatever makes you happy.
As promised here’s pictures with the daisies and the lily!
Even on a plain white plate they’re just so lovely.
Also as promised here’s the bunny from the Press box disk set.
If you’ve followed me for years you know I’m crazy about rainbows. I love it when my window prisms splash them all about my kitchen, especially when they end up in my cookie pictures! I’m happy to say the rainbows made it into today’s post.
So that’s it for today! Spring Spritz Cookies.
Wishing you all a sunny, chirpy, flappy Spring full of new things blossoming adn plenty of rainbows.
And as always, Happy Baking!
Disk Designer/Co-Owner at Impress! Bakeware, LLC
“Get creative with your cookie press!”
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The Flowers Disk set:
The 12 disks that come with the Impress! Cookie Press: