Spritz cookies and shortbread cookies both fall into the beloved category of classic and simple butter cookies. Side by side their ingredient lists are nearly identical in contents and measures. They both bake up buttery (no surprise there) with a tender, melt-in-your-mouth quality and a not-too-sweet flavor. What sets spritz cookies and shortbread cookies apart, then, comes down to one ingredient and shaping methods.
Spritz cookies are tender and have an enriched dough.
You can take most spritz cookie and shortbread recipes and side by side the only difference in ingredients is a single egg. An egg doesn't seem like anything extraordinary, but in a recipe with only four other ingredients, that single egg changes a lot. The egg in spritz cookies makes the cookie dough more pliable and therefore easy to shape into a number of designs.
Get the recipe: How To Make Spritz Cookies
Shortbread have some snap, thanks to rolling chilled dough.
Shortbread cookie dough also mixes up soft and supple, but requires a long chill before baking. These shaping differences also give the cookies different textures. Spritz cookies are baked straight away, with no additional rolling or chilling, giving them a more tender crumb. Shortbread, on the other hand, develop a crisp snap, thanks to gluten produced during the rolling and shaping steps.
Get a recipe: How To Make Shortbread Cookies