Troubleshooting and Decorating
Troubleshooting & Decorating
See the Creative Cookie Press Blog for LOTS of tips
In the blog posts I write and show through photos and in video all of my best ideas on pressing cookies. I address making the best possible dough and how to troubleshoot problems like stiff dough, sticky dough, mushy dough, and coloring dough without changing its consistency. Also discussed are pressing techniques and troubleshooting problems like partial shapes, blobs, shapes not sticking to pans, spreading shapes, etc.
Here are my most basic tips, hints, and guiding ideas. For more, watch me make some cookies in the videos to see how I do it!
Pressing cookies should be FUN!
And the results should be beautiful and delicious.
I have pressed literally thousands of spritz cookies. Along the way I’ve learned many do’s and don't’s.
Susie’s best tips for dough and cookie pressing
*Have FUN! Let your imagination take flight! Get creative!
*Be PATIENT especially if you are new to this. Pressing cookies is truly an art and it takes some finesse and definitely some practice to learn to do it well. With time it gets much easier, more intuitive, and definitely more fun.
*Only use SPRITZ-type, home-made dough that is soft and easy to handle.
*Perfect spritz dough has a soft malleable texture that is not too sticky or stiff.
My #1 tip on spritz dough
All of my spritz cookie recipes are based on the creaming method
Creamed butter and sugar is the foundation of great spritz cookies. By creaming the butter and sugar you begin to dissolve the sugar in the butter, and you bring air into the dough which gives spritz their characteristic melt-in-your-mouth, light, airy texture. I (almost hilariously!) repeat it in every recipe: CREAM YOUR BUTTER! Use an electric mixer and set it to the highest setting, whipping your butter like you’re making buttercream frosting. Cream/whip it again after adding sugars, and again after your wet ingredients. This light, fluffy, airy foundation will give you exquisite little cookies with great texture and flavor! (*NOTE:I always suggest using Land O Lakes brand butter, as I know it will consistently cream well. Some generic butters result in a very stiff dough!)
*If your dough is sticking to your fingers (even after washing and drying your hands) troubleshoot by adding flour (a tablespoon at a time) to overly soft or sticky dough.
*If your dough feels too stiff and like it would be difficult to press, add vanilla extract or water (a teaspoon at a time) until you achieve a soft, workable dough.
*If your cookies are not sticking to the cookie sheet well, try refrigerating the pans for 10 to 15 minutes to chill them. Dough sticks better to a cooler sheet. Never use non-stick cookie sheets! The dough must stick to the pan!
*If your dough itself is simply too warm (making it sticky or starting to separate), you can refrigerate your dough for up to 20 minutes. When you remove it, knead it by hand to make sure the dough has a consistent temperature and stiffness throughout. Usually when it comes out of the fridge the outside dough is hard and the inside dough is still warm and soft. When dough is of inconsistent temperature or stiffness in the barrel, it will make mis-shaped cookies as it won’t all flow out evenly!
Your press is a dough pump- here’s how to use it!
*Place your dough into the press barrel, filling it with small amounts at a time and packing it in with the back of a spoon as you go. This helps eliminate air bubbles and makes pressing easier and more consistent. Choose a disk and start pressing.
*It's not at all unusual for the first few cookies to come out imperfectly. Just throw the dough back into the bowl to be re-pressed.
*Think of the press like a pump (it's kind of like a caulking gun). Remember also with “one click per cookie” presses it's completely fine to use more or less than a click. Some shapes or doughs may take more or less than one click and that's ok!
*Think of the press as just a dough-pumping mechanism. Clicking is how you get the dough to come out. With any type of press, try to feel the cookies stick to the sheet and you'll get the hang of it! Even the most experienced pressers toss messed up cookies back in the bowl all the time. I do it every single bake!
*Once you've achieved a nice shape, try to press with a consistent rhythm.
Cookie pressing isn’t a precise science, it’s an art. Don't be discouraged!
TIP: Resetting the Pressure
If you're having trouble getting consistent shapes or they’re pressing too big or too small, try pressing a few cookies’ worth of dough into the air and wiping the dough away to start over. This resets the pressure in the barrel, which is essential for good shapes.
Remember these Don't’s!
*Don’t use store-bought dough. It is too stiff to press!
*Don’t use dough with chunky add-ins. They will clog the holes in the disks. Only very fine add-ins can be used. There are a few tutorials in our blogs.
*Don’t use non-stick cookie sheets as spritz cookies need to stick to the pan!
*Also don’t grease the sheets or use parchment paper. Spritz cookies release easily when made right!
*Don’t let your dough sit out so long that it gets dry or so warm that the butter begins to separate.
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how pretty spritz cookies are simply pressed. Plain, undecorated, spritz cookies are truly lovely. However, if you do some of the easiest things, they really “come to life” and take on whole new dimensions of exciting and cute!
*Simply sprinkle on colored sanding sugars before they go in the oven. Shake from a jar or tap a spoonful. That’s the easiest way to jazz up your petite cookies and give them a little extra sweetness, too!
*If more sweetness is really what you’re after, you can also sprinkle regular granulated sugar over the cookies before baking. This doesn’t affect the look or color much, it just adds a slight sheen and a sweet kick.
*Color the dough- always use GEL food coloring as liquid will change the consistency of the dough. Christmas Trees, T-Rexes and Four Leaf Clovers look amazing when pressed in green dough. Learn how to make stunning multi-colored cookies from our blogs & VIDEOS!
*Use tiny candy eyes to make the animal shapes even more adorable. Look online for 3/16 inch “candy eyes” or “icing eyes” and help them stick with a little icing.
*Use decorating icing as an accent. Some examples from various disk sets: try using star decorating tips to make Santa’s beard and the trim on his hat, or to make the Lamb look woolly. For a dramatic look press the snowflakes in blue tinted dough, then outline the ridges with a writing tip in white icing.
*One of my favorite techniques is to brush on edible pearl or lustre dusts. Many varieties are available in absolutely gorgeous colors. Dry brush the dust on with food-safe brushes for a sparkling affect on cookies like snowflakes, fireworks, or the wedding set, or to deepen the color and give a polished look to colorful cookies like flowers, holly leaves.
Remember, there are many more decorating ideas, tips, recipes, and videos on the blog!
You can always reach out to us here, on the Creative Cookie Press Blog, Facaebook, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Baking Adventures!
~Susie the Disk Designer