I have fond memories of eating lots and lots of spritz cookies during the holidays when I was a kid.
Whether we had classic buttery spritz or green pistachio for ideal Christmas trees, they always had a place on the cookie tray in the 80s and 90s.
When I moved out on my own and had my own children I felt like I didn’t see them much, but was that only a quirk of no longer having the family we made them with nearby?
I don’t know the answer, but I’m glad that spritz cookies always make a bit of a comeback during the holidays.
I feel like folks fall into two camps when it comes to holiday cookies: you either do the roll-out sugar cookies that require frosting and other decorating, or you do spritz, that are basically already decorated.
You can add sprinkles or icing to spritz cookies but they’re honestly great on their own, in my opinion.
For my gingerbread spritz cookies I add just a light layer of icing. It gives the cookies a bit of extra sweetness but allows the design to show through.
To make different designs for spritz cookies, all you need to do is switch out the metal plate in the press. Most presses come with a basic set, but there are multiple holiday sets for each season, and these snowflakes came from the OXO Christmas set. (I’ve even seen sets for making dog treats!)
Note: If you’re like me and choose the most detailed spritz disc in the set, you might have a little trouble removing each cookie as you press.
tips for making spritz cookies
Chill the dough about 30 minutes before initial pressing and between baking batches. You want it stiff but not too stiff.
Don’t fill the press too full, or it will be difficult to use.
Use ungreased baking sheets without parchment or silicone liners. This will help the cookie stick to the pan as you release it from the press.
Hold the press directly and firmly onto the baking sheet when forming each cookie.
If you need to, gently loosen the cookies from the press with your finger.
If pieces break off, you can put them back together on the pan, and they will reconnect during baking.
how to ice gingerbread spritz cookies
In order to use icing on spritz cookies and let the design show through, you need to use a thin simple icing consisting of powdered sugar, milk, and a dash of vanilla extract (if you like).
I start with 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar — also called confectioner’s sugar — and 1 tablespoon of milk. Whisk together until smooth, and then slowly add 1-3 teaspoons more milk until the mixture pours easily.
When you take the cookies from the oven, let them cool slightly on the pan for 5 minutes, then dip the tops into the icing.
Let the excess drip off and set the cookies on a wire rack to finish cooling. The icing should harden into a thin layer that shows off the cookie details.
If you want, you can also add sprinkles on top before the glaze dries, or mix a bit of food coloring into the icing before dipping the cookies.
These gingerbread spritz cookies aren’t super spicy so they’re appropriate for little palates, but if you love ginger you can try my double ginger molasses cookies. Or maybe some gingerbread waffles for breakfast?
The best thing about gingerbread spritz cookies is that the recipe makes a lot of cookies, so there are plenty to go around!
- 1 cup (16 tablespoons) salted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the icing
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, optional
- Preheat oven to 375°F and set out two baking sheets. Do not grease or line them.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in molasses, egg, and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
- In another bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and salt.
- Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients in batches, mixing well after each addition. Chill dough for 30 minutes.
- While dough chills, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk to create a thin icing and set aside.
- Fit chosen disc to cookie press and screw into bottom. Fill press barrel with about 1 cup of dough, screw on top, and press trigger until dough reaches the disc.
- Set press bottom onto cookie sheet and press trigger to push out a cookie, then lift straight up. The cookie should stick to the pan. (You may need to do a few "primer" cookies to get it ready.) Repeat with remaining dough, leaving about 1 inch between cookies.
- Bake cookies for 6-8 minutes, then let cool on the pan for 5 minutes. Dip each cookie into the icing, let the excess drip off, then place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Chill dough between baking.
- If you can, swap your baking sheets between bakes so that you are not piping onto a hot pan.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 18 Serving Size: 4 cookies
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 159Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 45mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 1gSugar: 18gProtein: 3g