“If God had intended us to follow recipes, he wouldn’t have given us grandmothers.” ~ Linda Henley
For twenty-plus years, December was no ordinary month on our family's calendar.
It was a series of nut-filled, chocolate-covered, butter-rich weeks. A month of afternoons spent churning out cookies, fudge, chocolates, bars, and candies by the dozen.
When it began, I toddled around amongst the church ladies. When it ended, I'd acquired a college degree and two little ones of my own. Along the way, a series of fickle love affairs, with nearly every confection that could ever be made.
Some of our family's favorites? Flops, kringla, peanut brittle, chocolate-dipped pecan bars with a shortbread crust, peanut butter balls, and caramel. Opening one of my grandmother's cookie tins was like peering inside her jewelry box, with rows and piles of color and shine
I haven't written much about the recipes we used to make. Mostly because I don't eat much of them anymore. Mostly because I'd like this space to be full of healthy inspiration. This season though, I've felt a pull on my heart to
document a few of them here
I'm often asked why I started The Veggies.
Certainly, I love to cook, as well as write; although what keeps me going is something different altogether.
My sincerest wish is to leave a piece of myself behind for my children, grandchildren, and family. I'd love for them to one day read through the stories, and know a little bit more about who I was. The things I thought about, the life I led, how much they were loved, and some of
our family's history
— — —
I'm sure you’ve heard of Spritz Cookies. They also go by the name Swedish Butter Cookies, and probably a few other names as well. They're always the underdogs of a holiday dessert platter. The little colored numbers that sit quietly amidst a heap of far more impressive options, and always seem to be picked last
Every year without fail, once we start eating them, it's nearly impossible to stop.
As holiday cookies recipes go, this one is as plain and bare-bones as they come. With only six ingredients and a mixer, the dough is ready in no time, and you're ready to bake. Decorating can be as simple as putting different colored doughs into the press or adding a few sprinkles
The return on your investment will be impressive; a cookie that's delicate, crisp, buttery, and terribly addictive. Although they're nothing new, there’s a good reason why we still make them and justify eating a forest's worth.
Think of it as accidentally saving the best for last
The recipe (along with the cookie press) my step-mom uses, was given to her by her mother (Mammaw), the year my grandparents moved to Ukraine to continue their missionary work.
“I'm not sure now if she gave-gave it to me, or if she gave it to me and I never gave it back”
(How we love our mothers)
After struggling through a few batches with dough that wasn't quite right, I gave her a call. She lent me the retro cookie press, and tucked away in the box; I discovered the recipe; written in her handwriting, on the back of a Christmas list.
While I'd like to think her version is unique, there are lots of recipes out there for spritz cookies, and most are similar. So similar really, that I'm not sure any of us can take the credit. My grandmother's uses powdered sugar, so we do as well.
It feels like the thing to do
As it turns out, the heritage of the Spritz cookie recipe is rich and runs deep. They've been a holiday staple as long as anyone in the family can remember. It was passed down to Mammaw from her mother, who got it from her mother-in-law (Mammaw's father's mother)
I couldn't help but smile. This fun and whimsical cookie originated with the most proper of grandmothers, who wouldn't dream of venturing “downtown” without a hat and gloves. At Christmas time, she always made them in green, red (pink really), and plain.
And Mammaw did too. It didn't matter if they were celebrating in the U.S. or in Ethiopia, where they lived and served as missionaries for fifteen + years while my step-mom was growing up. These cookies were part of the tradition.
A fun historical side-note?
During the years in Ethiopia, she made them with margarine, as good butter was nearly impossible to come by unless she made it herself. The last few years they were there, she was able to buy good Norwegian margarine (the brand was Marianne), which she used for baking. She found she needed to add more flour when using real butter ..
as it seemed to do something to the consistency
— — —
This past weekend I made five batches (admittedly some better than others). Some to bring to a cookie exchange and others to share with our neighbors
Everyone smiled when they saw them; the kind of smile that comes with a hint of nostalgia. Whichever they ate first, the too-fat trees or lopsided wreaths, there's no doubt;
they'll have saved the best for last
A few tips and tricks for making Spritz cookies
While our family's recipe doesn't go to any great lengths when it comes to the process, there are a few well-known tips and tricks when it comes to perfecting them.
Cream the butter and sugar together (I mean really cream the butter and sugar). Most recommend a full five to seven minutes in the stand mixer to produce the lightest, crispest cookies possible
Repeat the thorough creaming process after adding the eggs
Mix in the flour by hand to avoid over-developing the dough (which makes for a tough cookie)
Make sure your dough is the consistency of play-doh.
Press the cookies out directly onto a cold baking sheet.
Over-mix after you've added the flour. Stop as soon as no dry flour remains
Chill the dough before putting it into the press.
Use non-stick spray, silicone, or parchment paper liners on your baking trays. The concept is similar to chilling a pie crust before baking; to help retain its shape
Spritz Cookies (A Family Recipe)
- 1 cup butter, at room temp
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 small, or 1 large egg (the more eggs, the more cake-like they will be)
- 1 tsp clear vanilla or almond extract
- 2 ½ - 3 cups flour
- Preheat the oven to 400° F
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the butter and powdered sugar. Cream
- Add the eggs one at a time, along with the vanilla (or almond extract) and cream again
- Add 2 ½ cups flour and mix until just incorporated
- Check the dough's consistency. You're going for something that resembles play-doh. Depending on the consistency, you may need to add more flour (up to 3 cups total)
- Lots of times we'll divide the dough into thirds and add food coloring (⅓ white, ⅓ red, ⅓ green)
- After adding the food coloring, check the dough's consistency again. You may need to add a bit more flour to compensate for the liquid the food coloring added
- Place dough into cookie press fitted with a template. Form desired shapes, 1 inch apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake 6-8 minutes
I have to share this with you. I have my grandmother’s press, which is at least 50 years old. I have NEVER been able to get a dough to go thru it without a hassle – until now! This is the most wonderful dough to work with. It was a breeze – no chilling the dough. A couple of hints – be sure to let the cookie sheets cool completely so that your dough grabs it (I even put mine in the garage to let them chill). Also, I found that I got WAY more than 3 dozen out of a batch – I used the wreath and camel and tree patterns and a double recipe gave me more than 12 dozen cookies ( I gave up counting at that point 🙂 ) Also, I always find spritz taste better the next day ( like pizelles, they need that overnight rest to really let the vanilla shine through )
There is nothing like a piece of your childhood for Christmas! It’s really nice to have the chance to recreate old family favorites and share it with the new generation of kids in your family. I sure hope the recipe lives on!
The reason I’m so faithful to your blog is for your writing, but today I was so dazzled by all the pretty cookies that I couldn’t pay attention and had to skip ahead to the recipe. If anyone’s looking for me, I’ll be in the kitchen for the next few hours!
I loved reading about what made you choose to start your blog and I think it is so nice that you are dedicating your memories to your family. A truly beautiful message x
Have you ever made Lottie and Doof’s Sugar Saucers? They’re the funnest cookie ever and remind me of these. My modification? I subbed half of the butter with coconut oil and think they’re even better than the original. If you need more colorful sprinkle cookies in your life (and who doesn’t), try them with some coconut oil.
Off-topic: I’ve recently moved to Colorado, and am struggling with altitude baking. The main issue is that they dry out after no more than one day. I’ve found a few guides online, but they are wordy/confusing and not the end-all-be-all guide that I’m dreaming of. Do you know if said guide exists??
I’ve never heard of these cookies before but they look amazing! I love the idea of your home at Christmas, I can just imagine the smell coming from the kitchen and your family baking away. Such lovely memories. xx
Spritz cookie nostalgia! Growing up there was an independently owned bakery across from my house that made Spritz cookies in a million different shapes and colors. They were my favorite! I’ve never had one like them since. This recipe I’ll have to try ..
I too have fond memories of being in the kitchen with my mom, grandmother and my great grandmother. I don’t recall what happened to my great grandma’s cookie press after she passed but I’m sure it’s still in the family. So many memories. So many memories.
What a beautiful story. We share some of the same heritage evidently and traditions! I remember making these with my grandmother and great-grandmother. We also made TONS of peanut brittle and cinnamon bars! I can taste them right now as I think of them. Sigh, I miss those days! Thanks for bringing back fond memories!
There is no happier cookie!
Spritz cookies is something new for me. I love the story of the cookies. Of course, I love the cookie recipe and all the adorable decorations. Perfect for the holidays and a way to incorporate into the season.
I really need to try my hand at making Spritz cookies! I haven’t made them myself, but my friend has a cookie press and she made them fresh so the kids could decorate them. I’ll have to give it a try, these are just so cute.
I’ve seen these kinds of cookies in loads of Christmas markets and they look so tasty, you’ve done such a great job on them x
Super lovely, super easy. I personally pipe the dough with a star tip then make a dimple and fill it with jam before baking. xo
I have fond memories of my grandmother making special sweets over the holidays. These are so beautiful! I thought that I had outgrown my Spritz cookie phase, but these pictures alone have proven me wrong. I need these in my life immediately. BRB, going to get as many sprinkles as possible.
I love your blog! Good food has good story! I don’t know much of Spritz cookie but now I do. I love how recipes has been gave to child and grandchild in handwritten! What a special recipe to share. Thank you!
I think a lot of people find a love for sweets with their grandmother, growing up. I think it’s wonderful you decided to share some with us though!
Wow! This looks really good and perfect for my niece this coming Christmas!
Oh Spritz cookies! I LOVE THEM! So many delicious memories. WE would do these cookies with my grandma every year. One of my wedding presents 13 years ago was her spritz cookie maker. So special. We still bake them every year.
I was ready and planning to bake cookies this year like I did they last two years but honestly the amount of time I would need to bake everyone small deserts is not something I can budget for this Christmas. I absolutely enjoy baking them but unfortunately I will have to save them for next Christmas.
My family has many favored recipes. Finally I put them all together in a book and included a bit of family history. I wish I’d have done it sooner though. Some of the stories were too late to be collected.
‘Tis the season after all and it’s awesome that you’re sharing this well-loved recipe from your family. They look wonderful and how I wish I was one of the recipients of these cookies! Thanks for the recipe and the tips on how to make them perfect!
That’s such a lovely recipe to share this Christmas! It’s okay to indulge a little, even if we’re following a healthy diet. I would love to make this for my kids, I am sure they’ll love it.
I did not know that Swedish Butter Cookies were called Spritz cookies – They look super scrummy and pretty x
I love that you started the blog to leave a piece of your life behind for your family to enjoy and I think they will appreciate all the memories that you have documented for them. I think that it is really sweet. Also I have not heard of Spritz cookies before but I do love Swedish deserts and I love how colourful these goodies are!
I had never heard of Spritz cookies before today so am glad you shared them as now I know all about them, they look delicious. So glad also that you shared why you started this blog, it is always nice to know a little more about the person behind the keyboard
The holidays always reminds me of my mom and grandmother! I can still see them both cooking and baking treats for the holidays. This is actually my first time hearing about Spritz cookies and I’m so glad you shared the recipe. I would love to create these with my girls. Merry Christmas and thanks for always sharing your wonderful recipes with us!
This new recipe post makes me so happy! Spritz cookies are highly underrated and I just love how joyful they are. You can’t help but smile when presented with a colorful sweet treat!
This is my first comment, but not my first time visiting your blog or trying one of your recipes. Thanks so much for all of your hard work, great stories, and tried-and-tested recipes! I’ve loved every one I’ve tried.
I am going to make these cookies ASAP (i.e., tomorrow night!)
All of these cookies remind me of my childhood as well. My neighbors used to make cookies just like these and I remember loving every bit of them. My mom was never a baker really but she did have one specialty from England that always makes me nostalgic but also very unhealthy so I can relate to that for sure!
Perfect quick activity with a toddler – although he ended up eating more sprinkles than applying. I added an extra egg just to make the dough come together a little bit easier and it worked great.
Sounds like you have some fond memories from the kitchen. We’ve never seen cookies like this but like the thickness of them and the decoration x
These cookies look so cute!! I bet they would go perfect with coffee.
How cute are these – wish I had seen this recipe before the school fayre as they would have gone down a treat
These are so adorable! I have a Spritz gun but have never used it. I may have to give it a try now!
Great recipe! Those cookies are so pretty and I bet they taste amazing! Gotta try this with my girls!
I love family recipes and I have so many. I will certainly try these this year, they look amazing.
The cheetah and I will be happy to be your taste test dummies with any new cookies you wish to try.
Recipes are such a lovely thing to pass down families. I know I have some of my grandma and great-grandmas recipes written in their handwriting and I really treasure them.
Your spritz cookies look so festive and delicious. I’m not sure that we have them here in the UK unless they are called something else.
These cookies are too yummy ! Thanks for sharing the recipe, glad it’s easy that I and my friend who loves to bake can work on it and hopefully, decorate it as beautifully as yours!
Those look amazing. I love to make cookies and I have a press. I need to try these with the kids.
Aww, they are so cute and they look seriously delicious. There’s no way you could look at these and not be happy Impossible with the colors and the sugar all mixed together to epitomize perfection! xo
I think many people would like to leave a part of themselves behind. I think you’ve found, in your own way, how to accomplish that!
One day, I too hope that my kids and grand kids look back at me as I do my parents and grandparents. It’s not always easy to leave behind an impression on people but I think you will 😉
One day, I too hope that my kids and grand kids look back at me as I do my parents and grandparents. It’s not always easy to leave behind an impression on people but I think you will 😉
These look so cute and festive! I’m going to make these tomorrow with my family, thank you so much for sharing these goodies!
Aewww these cookies are so perfect for Christmas. So festive & pretty.
Wow, I have had Swedish Butter Cookies but not the same as you have shown in your recipe or pictures. Ask me ,and I wish to grab that fatty tree for my hungry tummy to taste and keep it to the last for relishing the goodness. I need to have much better hands when it comes to cooking and you give me an inspiration!
A lovely post and such tempting photos! I remember Swedish Butter Cookies but we never made them, but bought them in a tin. They were delicious! I love your story about finding the recipe. My grandmother was an amazing baker, I’d love to find one of her recipes to recreate for my children! Have a lovely Christmas
waoo that Spritz Cookies looks awesome and also very easy to make. Thanks for sharing these recipes all your recipes are quite easy to cook. My mom doesn’t eat eggs so plz share some eggless recipes. I would love to create with my friends. Merry Christmas Ali and thanks for always sharing your delicious recipes with us!
Omg i like how creative and well detailed you designed your cookies. It gives smile to everyone even to us your readers.
Around the holidays I’m all about the spritz cookies. Green wreaths preferred. Plus, small cookies are clearly superior because you get to eat MORE of them! Happy Holidays, Ali!
I made these with my 6-year-old granddaughter last night. What a great, simple, and fun recipe! She loved picking out the shapes and pressing the dough. They were the most delicious Spritz cookies we’ve ever had. Thanks for yet another amazing, foolproof recipe!
How have I made it this long in life without this recipe? They look so good and my 4-year-old daughter would be in heaven. Two of her favorite things on Earth: sprinkles and cookies.
These look so yummy! I can’t wait to try them. They seem to hold their shape pretty well, do you think these would work with cookie cutters?
I have never had a Spritz Cookie before (maybe they aren’t too well know in England?!) However they are so pretty and look very easy to make too, so they may have to become a new Christmas tradition in this household!
Love how you share a bit of your family tradition, childhood memories and some fun facts with every recipe. I am sure your blog will have a long life and your future generations will cherish all your delicacies and your thoughts. oh yes, the cookies look yummy too! 🙂
I miss my step-mother’s spritz cookies. They would just melt in your mouth. Best cookies ever!
My grandmother makes these spritz cookies as well. They are simply the best cookies!
Love these Spritz cookies! They’re so easy to make, take little time at all, and taste just as good the second day. I brought them to book club last night and everybody loved them. xo
These look so beautiful and so Chrismassy with the bright red and green colours. Makes me ready for Christmas right now.
Never heard of these cookies. They look fun, colorful and yum! I love the sound of choclate dip pecan bars, would love the recipe for that. And the reason you blog is just beautiful and aww! Recipes are such a lovely way to pass onto families
Every time I pass our corner bakery, I pick up a small bag of Spritz cookies for my kids. I would LOVE to make these for a party next week. Thanks for the recipe!
I made these on Saturday and my husband’s poker night (basically all dads) ate almost every single one. All while drinking beer and eating pizza. This alone is proof to me of how awesome they were! Definitely need a repeat soon.
I made these with gluten free flour (Doves Farm for those living in the UK) over the weekend and they were perfect. Did a basic 1-to-1 swap, plus a tiny pinch of xantham gum. Got rave reviews from everyone except my boyfriend, who thought they were too sweet. Which just means more colourful cookies for me!
hose are the prettiest cookies I’ve seen in a long time. The colors are fabulous, so zingy and festive. I could just stare at the photos and be completely satisfied. That’s the hallmark of good cooking. You don’t even have to taste it, the photo speaks!! 😀
Aww, I absolutely love the reasons why you blog. I’d love to think your grandchildren and great grandchildren will be reading in years to come. It’s such a sweet thought. And hopefully they’ll try to re-create lots of your lovely recipes as well. I mean, they always look so tasty!!
Some gorgeous talented cookie skills on show here! Your reasons for blogging are just lovely. Feel free to add these to #BakeoftheWeek.
Again an awesome creation by you. The cookies look so yummy and enticing to the eyes and cute as well. Loved the colourful topping on it. Great Stuff.
Ah, the memories. My father used to make spritz cookies every year (among the literally dozens of kinds of Christmas cookies he made annually). In fact, he made them in four different flavors: vanilla, coffee, chocolate, and black walnut.
So yummy with a cup of tea! Happy Holidays!
How did you make the tie dye wreaths???
Hi Rachel .. I put different colors of dough randomly into the cookie press. I wish I could say there’s a science to it, but there isn’t really. It’s fun to see what comes out. Happy baking and Merry Christmas. xx