How to Use a Cookie Press
Using a cookie press is as satisfying as messing around with your kid’s Play-Doh Fun Factory.
By Fraya Berg for Food Network Kitchen
Fraya is a chef and a contributing writer at Food Network.
A cookie press is one of the best cookie baking tools to have in the kitchen if you are serious about baking dozens of identical cookies with cute shapes. The mechanics of a modern cookie press are the almost identical to those of a caulk gun. Every time you squeeze the trigger, a plunger expels a precise amount of dough through a shaped disk, creating a perfect cookie. Once you get the hang of using a cookie press, you’ll think of excuses other than the holidays to use it. Here’s everything you need to know.
How to Use a Cookie Press
You can’t squeeze any cookie dough recipe through a cookie press, and that’s because most are too thick to go through. Instead, you’ll make a specific type of cookie called a spritz cookie. It’s a buttery, soft dough that easily squeezes through a cookie press and holds its shape when baked, yielding cookies with a delicate, almost crumbly texture that melts in your mouth. Although typically flavored with vanilla and almond extracts, spritz cookies can take on any of your favorite flavors: citrus is a great one to play around with. Follow our steps below to make successful spritz cookies with your cookie press.
1. Make the Cookie Dough
Our Butter Spritz Cookies recipe makes perfect dough: just soft enough to squeeze out of the press but firm enough to maintain a shape when baked. Use soft but not squishy butter in the first step for the best results. If you’d like to make colored cookies, add a few drops of gel food coloring to the dough when you make it.
2. Fill the Cookie Press
Choose your disk and secure it to the bottom of the cookie press tube. Divide the dough into softball-sized pieces and roll each piece into a log slightly smaller in circumference than your cookie press. Put one log in the press, fit the plunger on the tube and ratchet it down so that it just hits the top of the dough and forces any air out the tube.
3. Adjust the Amount of Dough Per Squeeze
Place the press on a cookie sheet (skip the parchment paper, which will pull up with the press, preventing the cookies from dropping out). Squeeze to release the dough and lift the press up quickly. You should have one perfectly formed cookie. If the cookie is tiny and the design isn’t completely there, adjust the press so more dough comes out. If the design is smashed and blurry, adjust for less dough per squeeze. Different design disks will use different amounts of dough, so you’ll be adjusting every time you change the disk.
4. Decorate the Cookie Dough
If you’d like, top the cookie dough with sprinkles at this step, such as sanding sugar, chunky crystal sugar, crushed candy or nonpareils. A gentle tap will ensure that the sugar sticks.
5. Bake the Cookies
Most spritz cookies bake for 5 to 8 minutes, so keeping an eye on them is important. Bake the cookies, flipping the cookie sheets halfway through baking to ensure even cooking. Check the cookies a minute before your recipe’s specified bake time. It’s a good idea to look at the bottom of a cookie: it should be just golden brown. There isn’t leavener in spritz, so taking the sheet out and putting it back to bake for a few more minutes won’t affect your cookies. Cool them on a rack.
6. Decorate the Baked Cookies
Drizzles of melted chocolate, royal icing and confectioner’s sugar are just a few ideas for decorating cooled, baked spritz cookies. Royal icing is the perfect “glue” if you’re looking for precise placement of nonpareils. We’re not suggesting you use tweezers to perfectly place each sprinkle, but we’ve seen food stylists do that.
What Is the Trick to Using a Cookie Press?
When you first purchase a cookie press, you’ll need to get the hang of using it – and there are several important factors to keep in mind.
- Temperature of the dough. If it’s too cold, it’ll be hard to squeeze out of the pres. If it’s too warm, it’ll be too soft, and it won’t hold its shape when baked. Holding your hand on the tube will warm the dough, so try to use just one hand on the trigger – place your other hand on the cookie sheet to keep it from moving. Putting dough in the fridge and taking it out of the fridge is part of the process of using a cookie press: sometimes there’s a back-and-forth to get the temperature and consistency just right. After you’ve figured it out, you’ll be able to adjust easily.
- How you pull up the press. Another thing to be aware of is how quickly you pull the press up after each cookie is squeezed onto the sheet. The action is: squeeze…lift. Lift straight up after half a second. For more information on using a cookie press and making spritz cookies, check out these resources: How to Make Butter Spritz Cookies and How to Make the Perfect Butter Spritz Cookie.
Cookie Press Spritz Cookie Recipes
We think of these as one-bite wonders. Each butter cookie is flavored with vanilla and almond and will melt in your mouth in one bite.
Be sure to crush the candy canes super-fine: you don’t wat them to clog the cookie press. For an extra punch of peppermint flavor, add a drop of peppermint extract to the dough.
These buttery spritz cookies get a double dose of lemon from fresh zest and lemon extract. Yellow sanding sugar adds sparkle to dress them up.
Who said all cookies needed to be sweet? Let’s hear it for these savory cheese-and-herb spritz snacks: perfect for hors d'oeuvres.
Red, green and white are the colors of Christmas, and these spritz cookies celebrate that tradition. You can color the dough with food coloring gel to match any holiday or party decor.