Recipe: Lemon Spritz Cookies

Recipe: Lemon Spritz Cookies

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Christine Gallary
Dec 16, 2016
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Spritz cookies are a busy baker's best friend. The ingenious contraption of a cooke press allows you to create different shapes of cookies so that you have a wide variety of cookie designs, all with very little effort. While the standard vanilla-flavored spritz cookies are delicious, simply adding some fresh lemon juice and zest to the dough gives it a bright flavor that's welcome on any cookie plate.

Rules for Spritzing

The spritz dough we love uses powdered sugar instead of granulated so the dough has the tender, melt-in-your-mouth quality these cookies are prized for. We learned that the cookies bake up best on ungreased, unlined aluminum baking sheets, as parchment paper or nonstick coatings make the cookies spread too much. It's also best to press just one shape onto each baking sheet, as different shapes can have varying baking times.

These cookies are delicious plain, but feel free to sprinkle on some sparkly sugar or even some granulated sugar rubbed with lemon zest for a festive touch.

For step-by-step directions with photos: How To Make Spritz Cookies

Lemon Spritz Cookies

Makes about 7-dozen bite-sized cookies

2 1/2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (4 ounces) powdered sugar
1 large egg
Finely grated zest of 1/2 medium lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 350°F. Have 2 unlined, ungreased, preferably aluminum (not nonstick) baking sheets ready.

Whisk the flour and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Place the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat on low speed until combined, then beat on medium speed until fluffy and lightened in color, about 3 minutes.

Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the egg, zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Return the mixer to medium speed and beat until well-combined, about 1 minute.

Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Add the flour mixture, return the mixer to low speed, and mix until just incorporated. Do not overmix.

Fill the cookie press with as much dough as will fit. Fit the press with a die. Press the dough directly onto 2 baking sheets, spacing them as close together as the press will allow. Press only 1 shape per baking sheet, as different shapes (i.e., trees and wreaths) have different baking times. Refill the cookie press with more dough as needed.

Bake the cookies for 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets between racks and from front to back. Bake until the cookies are a pale golden-brown, 4 to 5 minutes more depending on the shape, removing any sheets of cookies that are ready first. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with pressing and baking the remaining dough, being sure to cool the baking sheets completely between batches.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage: Baked spritz cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: Freeze fully baked and cooled spritz cookies in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight container (a bag is not recommended, as it does not protect the cookies) and store for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature for 10 minutes or reheat in a 275°F oven for 3 minutes.
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