Christmas Cookies – spritz cookies, sugar cookies, and cream cheese frosting
Vanilla Spritz Cookies
The recipe for spritz is so simple; enjoy the process and make it a fun activity for the entire family. Spritz cookies are a butter-based cookie that are quick to make because they do not need to be chilled like classic sugar and gingerbread dough. Spritz dough is soft and needs a cookie press to shape the cookies.
Be careful to NOT handle this dough too much with your hands. You want it to stay as close to room temperature (70 degrees) as possible and not warmed to the 98 degrees of your hands; otherwise that will make a greasy cookie.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temp. This is important so make sure you pull the butter out of the refrigerator several hours before you need it. Microwaving butter to soften is it not the same thing – you will end up with greasy cookies if you try this shortcut
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- (optional for chocolate spritz) 2 Tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa powder
- Cream together 1 cup (2 sticks) of softened (room temp) unsalted butter and 2/3 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy; about 2 minutes.
- Reduce speed and add in 2 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp salt
- Add in 3 cups of sifted all purpose flour in increments (if making chocolate spritz, add the cocoa powder now too) – a few tablespoons at a time. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl when it gets too high
- Place dough into the cookie press (we used the Wilton cookie pro Ultra II) and press cookies on an ungreased baking sheet. Optional – add sprinkles when cookies are raw.
- Bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown.
- Cool and frost if desired
Cream Cheese Frosting
The cream cheese frosting is ridiculously awesome. You have to try it! I NEVER use frosting from a can because it tastes like plastic and is just all processed oils. This stuff is MUCH better tasting. My friend Tia came up with this recipe and I am happy to share it with you.
- 4 T butter (softened to room temperature)
- 4 oz cream cheese (soft)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 5 cups confectioners sugar
- milk – add 1 teaspoon at a time
- Cream the butter & cream cheese (this means mix it until it is light and fluffy).
- Add sea salt, vanilla, almond & powder sugar.
- Add milk 1 tsp at a time, until you have the perfect consistency (I used 3-5 tsp of milk)
- If desired, separate frosting into several small bowls of ~1/4 cup each. Add a drop of food coloring to each bowl and mix well to make different colors
- Add frosting to a ziplock bag and cut a tiny bit of the corner to make a piping hole.
- Frost cookie as desired. To create a smooth look, use a butter knife to smooth the frosting.
Sugar cookies are a totally different style than spritz. They are a chilled dough that gets rolled into sheets and cut with cookie cutters. Check out this video from Sally’s baking addiction for the best tips and tricks to perfect sugar cookies.
We are using Sally’s Baking Addiction recipe as well. Link to her full post is here.
Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies (Sally’s baking addiction)
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 12 minutes
- Total Time: 4 hours
- Yield: 24 4-inch cookies
With crisp edges, thick centers, and room for lots of decorating icing, I know you’ll love these soft sugar cookies as much as I do. The number of cookies this recipe yields depends on the size of the cookie cutter you use. If you’d like to make dozens of cookies for a large crowd, double the recipe.
- 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional, but makes the flavor outstanding)*
- Royal Icing or Easy Glaze Icing
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract (if using) and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Dough will be relatively soft. If the dough seems too soft and sticky for rolling, add 1 more Tablespoon of flour.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Place each portion onto a piece of lightly floured parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness. Use more flour if the dough seems too sticky. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly 1/4-inch thick.
- Lightly dust one of the rolled-out doughs with flour. Place a piece of parchment on top. (This prevents sticking.) Place the 2nd rolled-out dough on top. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours and up to 2 days.
- Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Carefully remove the top dough piece from the refrigerator. If it’s sticking to the bottom, run your hand under it to help remove it– see me do this in the video above. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into shapes. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd piece of dough. (Note: It doesn’t seem like a lot of dough, but you get a lot of cookies from the dough scraps you re-roll.)
- Arrange cookies on baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. If your oven has hot spots, rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
- Decorate the cooled cookies with royal icing or my easy glaze icing. Feel free to tint either icing with gel food coloring. See post above for recommended decorating tools. No need to cover the decorated cookies as you wait for the icing to set. If it’s helpful, decorate the cookies directly on a baking sheet so you can stick the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator to help speed up the icing setting.
- Enjoy cookies right away or wait until the icing sets to serve them. Once the icing has set, these cookies are great for gifting or for sending. Plain or decorated cookies stay soft for about 5 days when covered tightly at room temperature. For longer storage, cover and refrigerate for up to 10 days.
This is such a fun holiday tradition to do with the family.
Happy baking, enjoy!