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German Spritzgebäck is part of Xmas – has always been. At least for me.
For the record:
I know a trusted pastry shop making 1st class Spritzgebäck w/ & w/o chocolate. Full stop.
When roaming food blogs last week – which are full of Xmas baking ideas at the moment (it’s like an avalanche overwhelming you) – I suddenly stumbled over a recipe for straightforward Spritzgebäck … & I was enthralled. At Lisbeths there was a photo w/ some crispy fresh cookies, some w/ chocolate, some w/ almond flakes … & suddenly I thought about making Spritzgebäck on my own.
The basics lingered in my pantry & my fridge: flour, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla flavour … I even had some organic lemons in my fridge. There was only one thing lacking – an essential part of equipment: the cookie press.
Spritzgebäck means a rather tough batter although not tough enough for rolling out w/ a rolling pin & cutting out cookies or cutting cookies w/ a knife like shortbread. Otherwise it’s too tough for a standard piping bag …
So in Germany meat mincing machines (traditional approach) use to have some additional equipment for creating Spritzgebäck – these iconic strips & curls & sinuous lines. I don’t have a meat mincing machine.
Also there is special equipment coming w/ standard kitchen machines aka stand mixer/food processor (modern easy approach) for creating any type of batter. Unfortunately I also haven’t got a kitchen machine.
… & there is the manual cookie press … (Of course: I never bought one!) Roaming the internet I found that there’s a wide range of products w/ a just wider range of prices. The critics are varying: from breaking at 1st use up to useful since some years. I wasn’t sure if to order or make my way to the next city …
So I finally decided to rely on some handmade process w/o help of any kitchen equipment – well, I just tried!
I started w/ assembling the ingredients.
- all-purpose flour w/ baking powder
- soft butter
- fine sugar w/ vanilla sugar & a pinch of salt
- eggs – using only the egg yolks
- milk w/ vanilla extract
- a lemon for lemon zest.
I reduced the amounts of the original recipe because I wanted it all done in one single baking session i. e. I had 2 baking trays to be filled.
Now all was going really fast!
I preheated my oven to 160° C w/ fan. I lined my baking trays w/ baking parchment. I prepared the lemon zest.
W/ my handheld electric mixer I mixed sugar mess & soft butter. Then I added the egg yolks. All was combined w/ the flour mess & the milk mess.
The result was a rather crumbly batter.
W/ my hands I kneaded all of it together.
I formed little heaps of batter about the size you might get when using a teaspoon. It resulted in 44 heaps.
I arranged the heaps on the baking tray (in general: 4 x 5) – somehow the additional 4 also found some space.
Then I flattened the heaps w/ my fingers & finally I took a fork for adding some more structure.
Ready for the oven session. Because of my oven w/ fan I could manage both baking trays in a single baking session. It took about 12 – 14 min. (After 12 min I reduced the heat for another 2 min because I wanted slightly brown cookies.)
Voilà: crispy Spritzgebäck!
(It’s not the usual form of Spritzgebäck, however, the flavour, the texture – all is fine!)
For the record:
I know that the special form of Spritzgebäck is especially intriguing … It looks very professional. From my experience I can only stat that it doesn’t reduce the flavors & the crispiness if you stay homemade & handmade.
I let the Spritzgebäck cool down completely & stored it in an airtight container. My better half was thrilled … especially when I produced some chocolate leftovers (from the last chocolate icing affair). It was enough melted chocolate for about half of the Spritzgebäck.
- 125 g butter
- 100 g fine sugar
- 25 g vanilla sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 250 g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- zest of an organic lemon
- 2 tbsp milk
- 50 g dark chocolate (or more) OPTIONAL
- handheld electric mixer
- Preheat the over to 160° C w/ fan.
- Line 2 baking trays w/ baking parchment.
- Prepare the lemon zest.
- Mix sugar, vanilla sugar & salt, add the soft butter & mix w/ your handheld electric mixer.
- Add egg yolks & lemon zest & mix.
- Mix flour & baking powder; add the sugar-butter-egg mess & mix.
- Mix milk & vanilla essence, add to the mess & mix.
- Knead the batter until all is combined.
- Take a tespoon & make small heaps of batter (about 40).
- Arrange the heaps (4 x 5) on the baking trays.
- Flatten the heaps & take a fork to add some more structure.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 - 14 min.
- Let the cookies cool down completely & store them in an airtight container.
- OPTIONAL: melt some dark chocolate & add to the cookies.
The chocolate icing session …
… which is not mandatory!