February can be a cold month, but we can warm up our hearts and our kitchens with a batch of cookies!
These fun, colorful cookies are made with the Valentine’s Day Cookie Press Disks. These light, delicate cookies are simple to make and fun to decorate. Whip up a batch for the kids’ class party or for that special someone. All you’ll need is a cookie press, the disks, gel food coloring, some icing & sugars for decorating, and the basic ingredients listed below.
Begin with making the spritz cookies. The key to great spritz cookies (cookie press cookies) is the dough. It has a particular consistency that when made right, presses smoothly, quickly, and easily.
I made the pictured cookies with our Almond Spritz dough, but you can use any spritz-type dough you like. If you prefer no almond and just want a plainer version of these cookies, simply change all of the extract to vanilla (1 1/2 Tablespoons total).
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened (not melted)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon almond extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
(*NOTE: As of our 2019 Re-Opening our new disks are made of a solid white material, but the designs are exactly the same, and press identically.)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter well. Add the sugar and cream it very well again. Add the honey, then vanilla & egg; beat well. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add it slowly to the butter mixture, just until the flour is mixed in. DO NOT over-mix! Spritz dough should be soft but not sticky. It has an almost crumbly texture that doesn’t stick to your fingers.
Above left shows the dough just before the flour is added, right is dough ready to press. Click to enlarge to get a good look at the consistency if you’re not familiar with spritz recipes.
Now tint the dough using GEL food coloring. DO NOT use liquid color as it will change the consistency of your dough! Divide your dough into three bowls, one for red, one for pink, and leave one un-colored. Add or choose other colors or shades if you like!
Gather your press and disks.
Place the dough in the cookie press, packing it well to remove any air pockets, and press onto ungreased cookie sheets. Do not use non-stick pans. Cookie press cookies STICK to the cookie sheet as you press them. They cannot stick to a nonstick pan! It is alright if the first few shapes do not press well. Even the most experienced pressers run in to this issue, as sometimes pressure in the press barrel needs to even out before consistent cookies can be pressed.
Try to use a consistent rhythm once you get a good shape. Don’t be afraid to play around with the amount of pressure you use to produce each cookie. Most presses have a “one click per cookie” design, but you can easily adjust the pressure you use on the trigger to exude more or less than one “click” of dough to get a cookie just the size you want. It takes a little finesse, but with practice it becomes second-nature.
Sprinkle with sugars if desired. I sprinkled a few in my batch, but mostly I waited to decorate with icing after baking.
Toss any misshapen cookies back into the dough bowl and simply re-press them. It happens to me all the time and I make Spritz Cookies nearly every week!
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool for two to three minutes on the cookie sheet then remove carefully with a spatula and cool on rack.
Once cooled, get creative with decorating! Here’s a few of the ideas I came up with.
I colored some canned icing (I had a very busy week with two teenagers and a sick dog! No time for homemade icing this week.) in red, pink, and green, again with gel food dye to avoid thinning the icing. I also made a very small bowl of confectioner’s glaze, simply combining powdered sugar and a little water until I had a very runny, thin mixture. Using a spoon and my fingers, I coated some heart cookies in the glaze, then turned them upside-down in colored sanding sugars, pressing gently in to coat the entire cookie top. I frosted the white cookie with the canned frosting as it made a better white background for white sugars.
Using decorating tips and a simple freezer-type plastic food storage bag with it’s corner cut off (a great trick when you’re out of decorating bags), I piped green stems on to the rose cookies. I decorated the double hearts with piped icing. Some I left plain and I dipped others in sanding sugars.
I piped icing with a writing tip for the kiss me, hug me and my love cookies. Some I spelled out in little dots, others I wrote and left frosted, others I wrote in icing and dipped in sugars. I also put dots all around a few hearts. When you pipe dots, they poke up where you pulled up. Simply wet a finger tip and lightly touch them to make rounder dots. To make the sugared words more precise, simply use a toothpick to trim the sugars and create cleaner lines.
Chocolate goes great with Almond or Plain Spritz Cookies! I melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips, placed them in a bag with a writing tip and decorated just as with icing. Chocolate also makes great sandwich cookies! I sandwiched several hearts and roses.
I used icing to outline hearts, then dipped them in sugars, then filled the center of the hearts with a different color icing and dipped again in other colored sugars or decors. To see what combinations I came up with, and for more ideas, click on the pictures below or at the top of the page.
And if you’re in a hurry and don’t have the time for so much decorating? Just color the dough and press them. They’re just as cute plain! Here’s a bowl full simply pressed in colored dough.
I hope you all have a Happy Valentine’s Day, and as always Happy Baking!
Disk Designer/Co-Owner at Impress! Bakeware, LLC
“Get creative with your cookie press!”
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The Valentine’s Day Disk Set: