Must Be the Season of the Spritz Cookie

Bake better spritz cookies with cornstarch.

Cookies, Bake

11/27/2021 10:25:00 PM

Bake better spritz cookies with cornstarch.

Break out the cookie press for these buttery Christmas time stalwarts—and add a little cornstarch to make the dough easier to work with.

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The Best Spritz CookiesThis recipe adds a little cornstarch for a more delicate cookie that is also easier to pipe or push through a cookie press.

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pumping out dozens and dozens of perfectly portioned squirts of cookie dough in neat little rows, almost seamlessly following the improvisational groove of Kenneth Bruce Gorelick’s sexy-ass clarinet. I am mesmerized. During the smoldering train wreck of 2020, I decided to give up my social media addictions in an act of mental preservation. I ditched Facebook and Instagram, and I now allow myself only 10 minutes of Twitter doom-scrolling per day. But I haven’t been able to quit YouTube—especially because after many nights of falling down its rabbit holes, I’ve finally gotten the recommendation algorithm to a sweet spot where it only suggests, say, pastoral scenes of grandmas harvesting apricots instead of clips of Nazi tradwives explaining why feminism is cancer or whatever. YouTube also knows that when my restless brain needs to settle down, it craves long, meditatively slow videos of industrial-scale baking operations, such as the one featuring these smooth jazz squirts of dough. And now all I can think about is spritz cookies . Replacing a little bit of the flour in the dough with cornstarch results in “a more delicate cookie that is also easier to pipe or push through a cookie press.” Joseph De Leo These buttery holiday stalwarts have allegedly been around since at least the 16th century, when food historians believe the first cookie press was invented. “Spritz” comes from the German word spritzen, meaning “to squirt”—and as such, spritz cookies are always extruded. When I was growing up, my mom didn’t own a cookie press, so she relied on a pastry bag fitted with a star tip to form our spritzes, which she often dipped in melted chocolate and ground, toasted walnuts. But one of the downsides of spritz cookies is that if the dough has been overworked, it can be a pain—and a revolting greasy mess—to pipe out. Baking maven Rose Levy Beranbaum has an elegant trick (which she further attributes to cookbook author Sally Longo) that prevents such tough cookies: cornstarch. As Levy Beranbaum writes in The Baking Bible , replacing a little bit of the flour in the dough with cornstarch results in “a more delicate cookie that is also easier to pipe or push through a cookie press.” Adding cornstarch helps tenderize tough gluten, contributing to a softer cookie dough with a finer crumb after it’s baked. The Baking Bible