Today felt like a day to get in the holiday spirit by listening to old Christmas songs and making my favorite Christmas cookies. These particular cookies have no special ingredients (recipe below), are very small, don’t have the “oh my gosh they’re so good” wow factor, but there is something quite tasty about them regardless. Years ago I made these for some coworkers and they said the same thing: “Quite plain, but you can’t stop eating them.”
So why would these regular cookies be my favorite? I don’t know. The only thing I can think of is that they’re related to my childhood. Each year, my mom and I would bake Christmas cookies for family, friends, and of course, Santa Claus. For these particular cookies you need a cookie press – and my mom – had an electric one. I’m guessing that right there is probably the appeal to a four year old: You get to push a cool button that makes the dough squeeze out of the end, and then try to guess when to let up. Sometimes you were left with a big doughy mess if you pressed the button for too long. Then when you had cookie dough on your fingers from picking it up, you got to lick them clean. Mmmm
These days the electric cookie press lives with my parents and I have your basic non-electric version. Which to be honest, doesn’t work quite as well, but definitely helps when you’re limited on storage.
So, to start out my cookie baking story for the day, I need to tell you about my hand mixer. This hand mixer has been with me for about 5-6 years. At the time, a friend convinced me to buy a very inexpensive version ($10.00) because, after all it was a hand mixer, you didn’t need anything special. Well, about 6 months after purchasing, it started to crack a bit. Still, I didn’t bother with it. Then about a year after I bought it, the crack grew. With use over time it started breaking in other areas. Still, I never bought another one – there didn’t seem to be reason since it was still working. Besides, it’s not like the queen was coming to my house to bake with me.
Then, a few weeks ago, the entire frame began to crack near the bottom – I can almost pull it apart. It also gets a little warm when I use it – but it’s still working. Now, with the batch of cookies today, one of the beaters broke! Here I am, mixing the dough, and suddenly the entire thing becomes very shaky. Almost like when you’re driving and you get a flat tire. I take a look, and couldn’t believe that the welding actually broke away from the top. Not being done with my cookies yet, you would think that I am now left with the task of mixing everything by hand. Well, you’re wrong there. My incredibly inexpensive hand mixer came with TWO sets of beaters! That’s right, this is the little hand mixer that could… and all for $10.00
I have had plenty of opportunities to purchase a new mixer, but it’s just something that hasn’t been on my priority list. Though, I may have delayed because I would quite fancy myself a purple one (pink would work too) and any colors outside of red (or the basics) are not common for kitchen electrics. However, I did see both a purple one today when I was perusing Bed, Bath and Beyond. Hmm, maybe Santa will bring one for Christmas. But for now, my falling apart mixer is still doing its job.
Now for the cookies.
The recipe is the Betty Crocker Spritz cookie, with nothing changed. I’m sure you could find this recipe many places on the internet, but here it is:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 ¼ cups flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
Heat oven to 400degrees. Mix together butter, sugar, and vanilla, then beat in the egg. Add the flour (mixed with salt) bit by bit. Use a cookie press to make desired shape. Bake 6 minutes (I think this is a good length of time).
See, pretty tough recipe to follow. I separate the mixture in half and then add food coloring. You can also add cocoa and make some delicious chocolaty cookies. Alright, here are the finished cookies. And as for me, I need to get to the gym. Like my coworker said, you can’t stop eating them.