From America's Test Kitchen
Spritz cookies, those golden-swirled holiday cookies, often end up bland, gummy, and tasteless. How come they never taste as good as they look? Unfortunately, this Scandinavian treat has fallen victim to many recipe modifications, such as the use of vegetable shortening instead of butter, an overload of eggs, and an excess of starchy confectioners’ sugar. We set out to spruce up spritz cookies and make them light, crisp, buttery treats—the life of any holiday party.
The success of these confections rests primarily in the management of a finicky ingredient list. Carefully balancing the butter, sugar, flour, egg (yolk only), heavy cream (just a drop), vanilla, and salt is the only recipe for success—a few simple ingredients gathered in the proper proportions. Creaming the butter and sugar in the traditional fashion worked well and produced a dough light enough to easily press or pipe the cookies. As for shaping, either a cookie press or a pastry bag can be used—it’s up to you.
Makes about 6 dozen 1 1/2-inch cookies
We had the best results baking these cookies one sheet at a time. When reusing a cookie sheet, make sure that it has completely cooled before forming more cookies on it. Unbaked dough can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days; to use, let it stand at room temperature until softened, about 45 minutes. Baked cookies will keep for more than a week if stored in an airtight container or zipper-lock bag. For longer storage, freeze unbaked cookies right on the baking sheet and transfer to zipper-lock bags for storage. When ready to bake, place them back on the baking sheet and follow the recipe, adding 2 to 4 minutes extra baking time.