Well 2020 is soon to be gone! It’s almost over and not soon enough! I would have been remiss if I hadn’t done a New Year’s blog to Welcome 2021. 🙂 So again like my last post (Christmas Puppies), my son is helping me out as I’m still recovering from a concussion. Here’s the second guest post co-written by Ryan my communications majoring son. We brainstormed this one together, with lots of input from the whole family.
We had all sorts of funny ideas for the post. We were laughing a lot about how 2021 needs tons of good luck charms to make it go well. So we thought about including every “lucky” or “good fortune” disk shape we have, but in the end stuck with 3 simple ones (for this main shot anyway, I show some of our other funny ideas below LOL. The disk sets I used are pictured at the bottom)
In the top photo are cookies made with the fireworks disk from the Patriotic/4th of July disk set, and the Balloons and Plaque/Banner Disks from the Celebrate! set. I also added a few more makeshift “fireworks”. For those who don’t have or aren’t wanting to get the Patriotic/4th of July set, you could use flowers as fireworks! We have daisies that work pretty well – the Daisy is in the Flowers set and the Double Daisy is in the disk set that comes with our Impress! Cookie Press. The top 4 “fireworks” are actually daisies. I love it when our disk shapes serve double uses! (Our snowflakes make fabulous templates for spider webs at Halloween!)
Here’s just the actual fireworks with the balloons and plaque/banners.
As I have in quite a few posts this year, I decorated by painting with edible pearlescent dust, plus tinting some of the dough and using a little bit of icing to write with. The pearl dust is lots of fun to play with, so slowly decorating these on a Saturday afternoon was a nice easy task for my weary brain. Luckily Ry is a pro at making spritz dough and pressing for me.
The one cool thing I did for the first time was to make these into “confetti” spritz! I grabbed all the pretty little shiny nonpareils I had around and mixed them up in a bowl. After the dough was made we kneaded them in and I love the look! It’s festive, fun, whimsical, and just what this HAPPY post needed!
Ok let’s bake!
Gather your ingredients. I chose to do this in my cream cheese spritz, but you could choose any un-colored (i.e. not chocolate, gingerbread, red velvet or other already-tinted) dough. I have several recipes in the following posts that will work if you don’t already have a family favorite. The How to make Christmas Trees Cookies post has my gold standard spritz recipe, vanilla-honey spritz; Sparkling Almond Spritz Snowflakes has my Incredibly Almond Spritz recipe, and Christmas puppies has my Very Vanilla Butter Spritz recipe. They are all tasty and press great!
Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies
1 cup (2 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)
3 ounces softened cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Gel food coloring (liquid changes dough consistency too much)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside. (If you want a slightly crunchier cookie that bakes shapes that are slightly more sharp, go scant on the baking powder. They taste just as good with a different texture!)
Cream the butter and cream cheese very well with an electric mixer on its highest setting. Well creamed butter is the basis of great spritz recipes that melt in your mouth. Put your mixer on the highest setting and whip it until it is creamy and fluffy. Next add the sugar, and cream it again until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla (you may need to add another 1/2 to 1 teaspoon if it is very dry like it was at our house today!) and egg. After that – you guessed it – cream it again.
Add the flour mixture a little at a time and mix on a lower speed until all ingredients are evenly combined , but do not over-mix as that can make spritz dough too stiff.
You can always troubleshoot a spritz dough by adding water or vanilla teaspoon at a time to stiff, dry dough or adding flour a tablespoon at a time to overly sticky or soft dough. Perfect spritz dough has a soft, malleable texture that is not too sticky nor too stiff.
Tint your dough whatever colors you like, using gel food coloring (liquid changes the consistency too much!). I colored mine yellow, sky blue, pink, leaf green, and black. I left some of my dough plain for lots of fireworks to be decorated with pearl dust later. I use toothpicks to add the color to my dough and knead it by hand. Remember to start with just a little color – you can always add more, but you can’t take it out!
I added the colorful shiny nonpareils by kneading them into each dough ball.
Gather your disks and pack your dough into your cookie press barrel, using the back of a spoon to press the air bubbles out. This helps create consistent pressure to press with. Place the disk in the bottom ring and start pressing onto a clean un-greased cookie sheet. Use a consistent rhythm to keep the shapes a uniform size.
If you’re 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. It’s ok if the first few shapes come out weird. That happens as pressure builds. Have patience! And if any shapes ever come out wrong, just toss them back in the bowl to be re-pressed.
Here is how the fireworks and daisies pressed. Straight out of the press it’s easy to see which is which. The daisies really look like flowers. We’ll change that with paint!
For the Plaque/Banners, you’re going to want to smooth the tops. It takes just a few seconds. Place one or two fingers flat on top of the cookies and tap, tap, tap your way across until the surface is smoothed out. It makes a big difference for decorating so don’t forget to do it! In this photo, the left one is just pressed and the right one has been smoothed and flattened. You can also make your banners bigger when you flatten them, just give them a smoosh. Don’t worry about pressing banners too big or small, they’re cute both ways. It just depends on how much room you need to write on.
This whole sheet has been flattened.
Flatten and smooth the balloons the same way. Left are not flattened, right are flattened and smoothed.
I love the confetti look. 🙂
Bake for about 6 to 10 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown. Check them early and often as all ovens are different and spritz go quickly once the browning begins.
Let them sit for 4 or 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a cooling rack. This lets them set enough to prevent breaking. This recipe makes about 135 cookies.
Now to decorate!
Use edible pearlescent or lustre dust. There are many brands (just google it), but please make sure it is truly edible and not just “non-toxic”! You’re going to mix this with a clear alcohol like clear imitation vanilla extract (that’s what I use), lemon extract, or vodka. Don’t worry, the alcohol evaporates as well as the taste.
My technique is to keep a small dish of liquid ready, placing small piles of dust around a plate like a palette. Just drip a little liquid at a time next to the dust – this keeps the liquid clear and clean. Use a different brush for each color or rinse with water between colors. Mix the dust and liquid until there are no lumps.
I find that adding 1/3 to 1/2 white dust to colors makes them paint better. They’re more opaque/less translucent and give an overall better look.
Here I’m mixing the blue dust paint. I also made a spot with more white than blue to make a pastel blue, just to give the firework some dimension.
Paint along the ridge lines of the fireworks. Because there are already ridges, this is like a paint-by-number or coloring book, and very easy. You’re not free-handing the design. The paint goes on so smoothly!
Just smooth it on to the balloons!
Experiment with different colors and designs.
For the banners I simply wrote on them with store-bought white and red icing, using round writing tips.
We got a good giggle out of the “No 2020!” banner. 😉
Here are some of the other funny shapes we pressed, invoking some good luck and positive vibes for 2021.
Four leaf clovers (from the St. Patrick’s Day disk set) and Unicorns (from the Unicorns & Rainbows disk set) looked pretty lucky to us! Not shown: the horseshoes. We ate them before we photographed them. Ha!
One last close-up of the balloons and the fireworks and we’re done!
I truly hope you have all been as well as you could be in 2020 and I hope for a brighter 2021.
A heartfelt **Thank You!!!** to everyone who ordered from us this year. We are a teeny tiny family owned company and are grateful for every purchase and every fun communication with have with you spritz cookie lovers. ❤
We invite you all to “Press the possibilities!”
~Susie (& Ryan the Disk Designer’s very helpful son!, and Jill and both of our families here at Impress!)
Disk Designer/Co-Owner at Impress! Bakeware, LLC
“Get creative with your cookie press!”
Find all of our disks and our press on our website: www.impressbakeware.com
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The Patriotic/Fourth of July Set:
The Celebrate Set:
The Flowers Set:
The Impress! Cookie Press and 12 Disk Set: