Pressed cookies are made from soft dough that is placed in a cookie press (also called a cookie gun) and pushed through, forming fancy-shaped designs. (Browse cookie presses here.)
A cookie press is a tube-shaped apparatus. One end is fitted with a plunger by which you press the cookie dough. The other end’s screw-on lid comes with a selection of interchangeable, decorative disks that allow you to create individual cookies in many different shapes. By simply changing the disk, you can make cookies in a variety of shapes such as stars, wreaths, flowers, and trees.
The cookies may also be formed using a pastry bag, filled with cookie dough. The narrow end of the pastry bag can be fitted with various metal tips. The dough is pressed through the bag. By holding the bag at different angles or by changing the tip, you can create a variety of cookies.
Spritz are a well-known example of a pressed cookie.
With just a bit of experience, you can acquire a good feel for the dough consistency that works well with your cookie press. If the dough is too soft, the cookie will lose its distinctive design when sitting on the tray or when baked. If the mixture is too stiff, the dough might stick to the insides of the press tube or it won’t release from the cookie press to form a cookie. Stiff dough also means cookies won’t spread well in the oven or the cookies will be hard and crumbly.
Never fear! The Cookie Elf is here with these tips to help you stir up successful pressed cookie dough.
Use solid shortening at room temperature. Do not allow butter or margarine to become too soft before creaming.
Cream butter before adding sugar. Gradually add the sugar, but do not over beat. The butter-sugar mixture should appear light and fluffy. Over creaming causes the butter-sugar mixture to build up too much in volume, making it too soft. In that case, the mixture may appear almost melted and will need some additional flour for the consistency to work in the cookie press.
Flour density can vary from lot to lot. You can adjust your batch of dough accordingly. Do not add all the flour specified in your recipe, but rather omit a tablespoon or two. Mix and then test the dough by using a small amount in the cookie press to check its consistency. If dough is too loose and the cookie does not hold its pattern, add a tablespoon or two to stiffen it -- or chill the dough for 10 minutes – and try again. If dough is too stiff, whether in sticking to the sides of the cookie press or in not releasing from the gun, add the yolk of one egg or tablespoon of milk to thin it.
Use dough at room temperature. Do not chill dough, except for a “quick fix” to stiffen it when it’s too soft to form cookies in the cookie press. Alternatively, when the dough is too soft, add 1 or 2 tablespoons flour.
Pressed cookie dough should be soft and pliable, not crumbly.
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