Sunday, December 16, 2012
Mutti's Almond Spritz Cookies
My paternal grandmother, whom I called "Mutti" (which is German for mother), was a huge influence in my love for baking. She was this adorable, little, sprite of a lady who would tell you that she loved you over and over and if you got out of line, she'd whack you with her wooden spoon.
She always made Spritz Cookies for many holidays with her Mirro Cookie Press Gun and I spent years wanting to graduate from sprinkles to operating the gun. I had watched her so many times, I knew exactly how long to press, what temperature the dough needed to be at, and what the finished product needed to look and taste like. I had grown into a connoisseur and I know that she was thrilled to be able to pass along not only the knowledge of baking sweet, delicate German treats, but the passion...the love.
My beloved Mutti died from cancer in the late 1980's, but her legacy has lived on through me and that of my children. Several times a year, I take out my own (vintage) Mirro Cookie Gun, which I procured on Ebay and I make these special treats.
The exact recipe that Mutti used is under great debate because I remember her keeping a copy on an index card that was tapped to the inside of her glass cabinet...I thought it was the Mirro Cookie Press Almond recipe, but I also remember her using a tube of Almond paste, too....which the Mirro recipe does not call for, so I was perplexed....
until I ran into this recipe and tried it out...then the angels in heaven sang because I was instantly taken back to the days of my small childhood, barely able to see past the counter tops, but I definitely knew what my favorite cookies tasted like.
I hope you can try it out for yourself...they do require some patience, but they are more than worth it.
WHITE HOUSE SPRITZ COOKIES
1 can (8 ounces) almond paste
1/4 cup egg whites, unbeaten
6 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Almond Flavoring
1 3/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1. Break up almond paste with fingers in large bowl (just break up the almond paste. Broken fingers hurt.) Add half egg whites (Do half egg whites come from half eggs? Never mind.) Beat with electric mixer at low speed until mixture is smooth.
2. Beat in sugar and butter until light and fluffy. (No, this does NOT mean you beat sugar and butter till you burst into song.) Add remaining egg whites, salt and Almond flavoring and mix well. Stir in flour, 1/3 at a time, blending well. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
3. Fit a pastry bag with a star tip, fill pastry bag with dough. (Really this works just fine in a cookie press.) Press dough out on lightly greased cookie sheets; top each with red or green cherry half or sprinkles. Sometimes, I will drizzle these cookies with melted chocolate and then more sprinkles. (One can never have enough tiaras or sprinkles in life.)
4. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes or until set and edges begin to turn golden. (In my oven 7-8 minutes is fine.) Remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store in air tight containers. They freeze beautifully!
This is Home Girl and I bid you wonderful baking this holiday season.
Side Note: If you want to enjoy these cookies at optimum historical appreciation, make a Coca-Cola on ice in a glass. They pair so well.