Note: This post is from 2020 but it holds just as true for many of our 2021 grads!
Just because our 2020 kids won’t be having in-person graduation ceremonies doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a big at-home celebration! This last semester is a hard one for both our high school and college grads. Remote learning is tough, and it’s disappointing having academic and athletic competitions, special events, field work, and internships cancelled. I know from watching my own kids that once they’re done they will have gone above and beyond to finish up this year, and for the seniors, earn their diplomas. So here’s to the class of 2020! We are SO proud of you all!
My daughter graduates from college with her undergraduate degree in May! For those of you who have been with Impress! For years, yes, it’s the daughter whose illness set our year-long 2018-19 closure into motion. Well she’s finally done it! After two life-threatening medical issues and a tremor disorder that has handicapped her last year and a half, all of her incredibly hard work and sheer endurance has paid off. She’s getting her B.S in Geology with a minor in Astronomy. She had a lot of hurdles to get here, like her senior advanced geology field work off in the desert and mountains, when often just walking across campus was difficult or impossible. This young lady works so very hard, is ridiculously resilient, and a joy to be around. She’s one of the sweetest, kindest people you could ever hope to meet. There was no way I could pass up the opportunity to mom-brag about her, to celebrate her and her achievement against so many odds. This one’s for you, kiddo. A testament to the human spirit. A celebration of perseverance.
So now let’s bake!
I made these with four disks from the Celebrate! Set, and also with disks that fit her areas of study. 😊 If your grad has interests like dinosaurs, sports, or music, etc, we have over 200 shapes to choose from! (Find all of our disks and our press on our website: www.impressbakeware.com )
I also included a variety of flowers since they would make any platter of yummies bright and happy. The flowers are from several different disk sets to show you options. I hope you can find a few that are in sets you’d like to have. Shown in these pictures are the Daisy from the Flowers Set, the Double Daisy from the disk set that comes with the Impress! Cookie Press, and the Rose 1 Disk from the Valentine’s Day Set.
We have carnations and lilies and more if you have other favorite flowers. I put pictures and links of all the sets I used at the bottom of this post. All of our sets are shown here on our website: https://www.impressbakeware.com/collections/all-disk-sets
There are also 12 disks that come with our cookie press: https://www.impressbakeware.com/products/impress-cookie-press-with-12-shape-disks
To represent her Geology major she asked me to use the Trilobite and the Brontosaurus! They’re in the- you guessed it- Dinosaurs set.
One disk is from a discontinued set- the Outer Space set. I still have the Galaxy disk so I used it in celebration of her Astronomy studies! (Our old disks were clear so the Galaxy looks different.)
I used her favorite spritz recipe, my vanilla-honey spritz to make the cookies. I tinted the dough in her school colors blue and gold and a little gray for the galaxies and trilobites. Then I dry-brushed edible pearlescent dust on the tops to give some shimmer and texture. Decoration was mostly icing piped on with round and star decorating tips, wet brushing pearlescent dust on the balloons, and sprinkling a few edible stars and colored sugars. Really easy!
(Any plain white-ish spritz (i.e. not chocolate or gingerbread or red velvet, etc) would work fine for this. I have other recipes on the blog you could choose from, such as: Chicks & Eggs, Bunnies & Carrots- Easter Spritz has a cream cheese spritz recipe; and Colorful Fall Leaves… has a powdered sugar spritz recipe. They are both tasty and press great!)
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. Then incorporate the honey, the extracts, and egg, and re-cream 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. It should not stick to your hands. 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.
I tinted parts of my dough blue and gold but of course you can choose any colors. It creates a nice effect to use the school colors to make plaques with wording and flowers using both colors. I’ve been doing that for years for my kids and their friends. Many platefuls of red and gold cookies went out to my kids’ high school friends’ graduation parties! And obviously their own, too.
To tint sprtiz dough use gel food coloring. Not gel writing icing, but food dye that’s a gel, not liquid. Gel maintains the consistency of the dough while liquid would change it too much. You can work the color in with a spoon or knead it by hand. Most gel colors wash off your hands surprisingly easily. Just make sure it’s evenly incorporated.
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. 🙂 )
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.
To make the plaque/banners nice and smooth to write on, tap them flat with a finger till the ridges of dough are evened out and smooth. You can also make the banners bigger by doing this. Here’s a side view of the banners as they press and after smoothing.
See the difference? Do the same to the balloons to make them smooth.
The tinted dough should press just as well as the plain dough.
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.
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.
Decorating these is a piece of cake… I mean, cookie!
Use any brand of edible pearlescent dust and dry brush the cookie tops using food safe brushes. You don’t have to to this, but I like the depth of color and cool sheen it gives the cookies. They really pop. White on white, blue on blue, yellow on yellow. Here’s a plateful of blue cookies as I started to brush them, and a galaxy after I was done decorating. See that sheen?! SO cool.
NOTE: Always make sure you are using EDIBLE dusts! Some lustre/pearl/glitter dusts on the market are “non-toxic” but that does not mean they are edible. Plenty of brands have actual food ingredients and are marked “edible”. ONLY use those for safety’s sake!
You can also use pearlescent dust to make the balloons look shiny and satiny. These take more control to be precise since you’ll be coloring just the balloons of a white cookie. Mix the pearl dust with a clear extract like clear vanilla or lemon extract or even vodka. The taste will disappear and the alcohol evaporates. Use the dust like a watercolor paint and brush it on the the balloons in your colors. Two coats works well. Let it dry a few minutes between colors so they don’t bleed and between coats it you do two.
FYI: Another way to do the balloons is to use light corn syrup instead of alcohol. This makes for a VERY shiny balloon! But it is stickier and a bit more time consuming because they take much longer to dry and “set” (which you must do between colors so they don’t bleed) so this time I just did the wet brush with vanilla. The sheen then also matched the rest of the cookies. I added black icing “strings”.
Decorating the rest of the cookies is pretty self-explanatory from the pictures. Write whatever you want on the banners using store-bought icing or make your own. The icing recipe in my Snickerdoodle Snowflakes and Angels post is fantastic! Whatever you don’t use for decorating, do yourself a favor and just eat it off a spoon! So use colored icing to draw tassels on the caps, black lines and colored ribbons for the scrolls, make stars in the flower centers for pizzazz.
Congratulations to all the graduates! May your futures be happy and bright and may your dreams come true. 🙂
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 Celebrate Disk set:
The Disk Set that come with our Impress! Cookie Press:
The Valentine’s Day Set: