Spritz—known as sprut in Norway—is a popular holiday cookie throughout Scandinavia and northern Europe. Made with common pantry staples, this simple recipe yields a cookie that’s rich and buttery, with crisp edges and a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
The word “spritz” comes from the German verb “spritzen,” meaning “to squirt,” as the cookies are traditionally shaped by using a cookie press. In Norway, the custom was to press the spritz into s’s and o’s, but today you’ll find a variety of festive shapes, including Christmas trees, wreaths, snowflakes, and more. You can buy a cookie press for about $10 at most big-box and home stores. You can also use a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip or even just two spoons to drop the dough onto a baking sheet.
Spritz dough can be somewhat fickle when pressing, and I’ve modified my family’s recipe over the years to resolve this issue. Instead of using a whole egg in the dough, I use two egg yolks to create a richer and more pliable texture. I also add two teaspoons of milk to keep the dough smooth. And I never, ever chill the dough before pressing. These simple corrections have made my holiday spritz blitz easy and enjoyable, with nearly every cookie being perfectly formed.
Makes about 7 dozen cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons milk, whole or 2 percent
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, optional (may also use other extracts or citrus zest to flavor)
- Food coloring, optional
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place a baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill.
In a large bowl, use a stand mixer with paddle attachment or handheld mixer, on medium speed, to cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, at least 4 to 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks, milk, and extracts and mix again for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, and beat again to combine.
Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase speed to medium and beat for another 30 seconds until fully combined. Add food coloring, if desired, and beat again until fully incorporated.
In small pieces, pack the dough into a cookie press (see Notes) until almost full. Press the dough onto the chilled and ungreased baking sheet. The cookies will not spread much as they bake, so you will only need to leave about one inch between them. Any cookie dough that did not press properly can be placed back into the cookie press. To prevent spreading, chill the pressed cookies in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before baking.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until the edges just begin to slightly brown. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cooled, the cookies can be dipped in melted chocolate or drizzled with glaze, if desired.
Do not chill this dough, as the butter will harden too much to press.
Save the egg whites for use in another recipe, such as coconut macaroons or omelets.
If you don’t have a cookie press, you can also use a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip, or even just two spoons to drop the dough onto the baking sheet.