I stole a book from the library once.
Though I didn’t know I stole it. I found it years later and noticed stamped inside was the name of my high school library. Oops. That book was The Field Guide to North American Birds. I am still not sure why I would have even checked out a book like that. Not the field guide part, but the bird part. So I had a bit of a flashback when Anita’s (Dessert First) cookbook arrived in the mail. For there in the mail was the best field guide I had every seen, a field guide about cookies! Now surely if my high school library had that this cookbook in it, it would have totally made sense that I would rip it off (though really I must say I do not condone stealing…buy the book instead!).
Anita Chu’s first cookbook Field Guide to Cookies, or How to Identify and Bake Virtually Every Cookie Imaginable, packs an enormous amount of cookie recipes and cookie information for such a compact little book. I had a myriad of cookies to choose from but the minute I saw the picture of the spritz cookies I knew that is what I wanted to make. You see I got a cookie press for my birthday this year and had yet to put it to use! I have always been fascinated by them. My mom never made them (probably because she never had a cookie press…good detective work I know). So since we never had them at home around the holiday time I would scour peoples cookie plates to see if they had them. They are essentially a buttery sugar cookie that get squeezed out of a tube in different shapes. I went with the festive tree shape since before we know it Christmas will be here. Be warned though, they are highly addictive and I now know why maybe my mom never made these. They made about 5 dozen. I made them 3 days ago. There are none left. 😛
The cookbook is easy to use and navigate through, and more importantly it has a picture of every cookie, a huge bonus to me. But the most interesting thing about the cookbook (well to me) is the information before each cookie recipe. Not only a general description of the cookie but the history about the cookie. I learned that my cookie, the spritz, is Scandinavian and they were made for Christmas celebrations (good thing I made trees) from as early as the 1500’s. This is a great little book especially for your friends who are not that comfortable baking. Has clear and easy directions that all bakers can appreciate. I’m glad I got to be apart of the tour. If you missed any part of it you can see the list of talented bakers who participated in this Cookiepalooza.
Since I am the last leg of the cookie tour everyone has pretty much asked Anita all the serious questions, I took the liberty to have a little more fun with mine. I mean, don’t you want to know which of her cookies is the most aerodynamic for a food fight?
P: The Keebler Elf or Cookie Monster¢â¬¦who wins in a fight, and why?
A: Cookie Monster – he¢â¬â„¢s big, blue, and has those awesome googly eyes.
P: Personally I feel that the Snickerdoodle is one of the most underrated cookies of all time. What do you feel is the most underrated cookie?
A: I love snickerdoodles as well! But I think one of the most underrated cookies is oatmeal raisin, mostly because it gets mistaken (and then ignored) for chocolate chip so often. When the two types of cookies are on the same plate, I always see people pick them over carefully, wanting to make sure they don¢â¬â„¢t end up with oatmeal raisin by accident. It always makes me feel bad for the oatmeal raisin cookies. They¢â¬â„¢re great too!
P: Do you think there is an overrated cookie? If so, what?
A: Hmm, should I mention one that¢â¬â„¢s in my book?:) That might be a little mean (you notice I¢â¬â„¢ve gotten very protective of cookies after writing this book!) You know those Danish butter cookies that come in round blue tins? I used to love those cookies when I was little, and now they always seem kind of dry and tasteless. Either the quality has changed or my cookie experiences have grown and I realized they aren¢â¬â„¢t what I thought they were. If there¢â¬â„¢s still excellent Danish butter cookies out there, I¢â¬â„¢d love to know about them!
P: Do you like to dunk your cookies in milk?
A: Certain cookies, like chocolate chip and Oreos, wouldn¢â¬â„¢t be complete without a glass of milk.
P:You and I both morned the loss of the beloved Mother¢â¬â„¢s Circus Animal cookies. Having tried to recreate them myself I know they were a little tricky. Is there a store bought cookie you wish you could figure out how to make at home?
A: I can¢â¬â„¢t believe you asked this! Yes, as a matter of fact. I got these cookies from Marks and Spencer a few years back, which were like a vanilla biscuit with bits of honeycomb toffee and dried raspberries mixed in, and the whole cookie was dipped in dark chocolate. I have been dying to recreate that cookie, especially since it¢â¬â„¢s hard to get Marks and Spencer in the US. The day I do this will make for one of my happiest blog posts ever.
P: Which cookie in your book would be the most aerodynamic for a food fight?
A: Well, I think the flat cookies like the tuiles might fly the farthest, but for damage potential I¢â¬â„¢d have to go with the big, solid guys like rock cakes. I mean, they really do harden into rocks over time!
P: When making a chocolate chip cookie are you a with nuts or without nuts kind of gal?
A: I am a no nuts kind of girl, but I have encountered chocolate chip -pecan cookies that have tested my resolve.
P: Did you eat every cookie that is in the book?
A: Yes, I¢â¬â„¢ve tried all the cookies, although I didn¢â¬â„¢t eat every single one out of every batch! There were times towards the end of the testing when it was all I could do to take one bite of a cookie.
P: What is next for you Anita? Are you working on your next cookbook?
A: Yes, I am! I am working away already on my second cookbook by the same publisher, due to come out at the end of next year. I¢â¬â„¢m looking forward to revealing the topic as it gets closer to the publication date. As well, I¢â¬â„¢ll be teaching a cupcake class at my alma mater, Tante Marie¢â¬â„¢s Cooking School, in the spring. And, of course, there¢â¬â„¢s a huge backlog of ideas I have for Dessert First that I¢â¬â„¢d love to explore. So much baking to do!
(You will need a cookie press in order to make these cookies)
2 cups cake flour
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
½ tsp almond extract
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 or 4 drops food coloring (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Sift flour into a bowl. Ad in the salt and sift again. It is important to sift the flour twice.
In a stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed for several minutes until soft.
With the mixer on low speed, add the sugar in a slow stream and beat until light and fluffy.
Add in the egg yolk and both extracts and mix until combined.
Add in the flour mixture and mix until combined.
Add a few drops of food coloring if desired.
Load the dough into the cookie press per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Press cookies onto the cookie sheets about 1 ½ inches apart. Decorate the cookies with sprinkles, candies, and other decorations. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden. Cool cookie sheets on a wire rack..
Makes about 5 dozen small cookies.
Aww, I’ve never had a Spritz cookie before! Maybe it’s because I don’t have a cookie press, hee hee 🙂 But it’s good to know there’s a great recipe waiting for me if ever I get one (which is more than I can say for some kitchen gadgets…).
Confession: I actually love the Danish butter cookies. Especially the rectangles with sanding sugar on one side 🙂
Thanks for the interesting interview! Those Spritz cookies look wonderful! Really pretty!
Cheers and have a nice weekend,
wow how cute these cookies. i m already feeling the Christmas spirit. 🙂 I enjoyed reading the interview with Anita. Such a great baker and nice person 🙂
Those cookies are very cute! I really enjoyed Anita’s interview!
Happy Cook says
You stole abook 🙂
Beautiful cookie, i totally agree with anita you have to dung you chocolate chip cookie.
I remember these cookies from the massive store-bought trays that would appear at Christmas parties. I bet this HM version blows those out of the water!
the picture of the cookies is amazing!
SUCH a great book and cookies!!
I always loved making spritz cookies for Christmas with my mom when I was a kid! They weren’t my favorite cookies on the holiday plate (that would be Mexican wedding cakes!) but they were usually the cutest, all sprinkled in colored sugar, and we’d always use a few different plates on the press for different designs. I remember using the tree!
I think I really want the Field Guide now.
Those cookies are adorable! I’ll have to check out the book now (whats another on the huge shelf, right… at least this one’s pint sized!)
bea at La tartine gourmande says
Extremely seasonal. Fun interview.
Spritz cookies are very dangerous in my house. Often we’re lucky if the dough makes it to cookie form at all. We substitute the 1/2t vanilla for another 1/2t of almond extract, so now I always think of Christmas when I smell almond extract. There’s also something about green food coloring. I swear that the green food coloring makes the dough taste better. In a blind taste test, I could tell the difference between green Spritz dough and white.
I’ve been making them since I was a pre-teen, and I have to say, they’re probably my favorite Christmas cookie – and we used to make a dozen kinds of cookies at Christmas.
If you ever get a chance to make them with an old-fashioned metal crank cookie press, do it. You’ll never want to use one of the new ones ever again.
I realize this is a really long comment… I’m just very passionate about my Spritz.
Thanks for blogging, Peabody, you brighten my day!
I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a spritz cookie before. I always look at them and thing that they look store bought! These are lovely. Now I want a cookie press!
Find a Culinary School says
The spritz cookies look very attractive. i need to try this recipe.
And thanks for publishing Interview with Anitha.
Dang I fear you’ve tip the scales and I’ll have to buy another book 😉
Haven’t used my cookie press in years. These are really beautiful.
Gorgeous write up Pea!
Thanks so much for closing out the tour in grand fashion, Peabody! I am so glad you enjoyed the spritz cookies – the photos are gorgeous!! And I really loved answering your creative questions:) Thanks so much again, and I’m glad you have another field guide to add to your growing collection:)
The most aerodynamic cookie! Only you! Too funny.
I am so glad to try this spritz cookie as I do not like my current spritz recipe. I will try this for sure. Thanks.
I love spritz cookies and make them year round…so super easy!!!! I saw them sandwiched together with chocolate recently on another blog. That looked soooo good!
Wow…your Spritz’s are perfect!!! It’s so hard to me to get the dough to cut off without leaving little tags of dough. So pretty yours are (there’s my Yoda!).
Dana McCauley says
OVer the years I’ve bought those spritzer things a few times. It seems every time I go to use one, I’m missing an essential piece. Where do they go?
Lovely cookies and a great interview. I think the fun of spritz cookies is all those great shapes you can make.
love your questions… very unique! And love those christmas cookies!
Lovely cookies! I have the book – can’t wait to start baking cookies! As soon as the Thanksgiving madness is done… 🙂 Great interview too!
I knew this interview was coming and it was all I expected and more!
Lovely post, Pea! The cookie press did a grand job. The tree cookies look delicious and festive.
Love the interview and the interesting questions! Funny she should want to recreate a Marks and Spencer biscuit! (affectionately known as Marks and Sparks here! )I will have to look out for that cookie (biscuit) next time I am at M and S.
I think I am with your husband. I love chocolate chip cookies best, but I always have to test all the other cookies, just so I am sure of it!
I ador spritz! Your colored tree’s are too adorable. Very creative!
I adore spritz! Your colored tree’s are too adorable. Very creative!
Spritz cookies are one of my most favorite cookie memories from my childhood. Those trees are just way too cute. I can’t wait to get my hands on that book – you have all done such a fabulous tour!
Jen Yu says
Ah ha ha! I *knew* you’d have a cheeky post 🙂 Love the interview – you are such a hoot. Those cookies are too cute and that last pic is the best!
Monica H says
I was given a cookie press a couple years ago and I have never used it…not sure why???
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says
It’s been great fun reading the interviews with Anita all week — but I have to admit that your interview questions are the ones that made me giggle. Looking forward to having this book on my cookbook shelf.
Funny! very entertaining questions, Peabody.
I liked the dramatic green spritz cookies against the red background. Way cool.
Oh! I love that last shot best of all, totally cute!
These are very similar to one of the cookies my family makes at Christmas time. We call them butter cookies as one batch contains 3 sticks. We squeeze them through manual cookie presses. Those automatic ones don’t do the job– check thrift stores, vintage stores for old manual presses. Crate and Barrel also has a really nice manual one. We use food coloring to dye say, the Christmas trees green and the wreath shapes red. The wreaths get a piece of maraschino cherry (red or green) in the middle. Yum! I’ll have to try this recipe out sometime as well.
funny that anita mentioned the danish butter cookies. in fact, i bought a tin last friday and i must say, i feel exactly the same way – they are certainly not like they used to be. too ‘floury’…
Such cute little cookies. I didn’t know Anita had a book out- off to amazon!
What a fun interview! Your spritz cookies look very festive-a sneak preview of Christmas cookies.
I love spritz cookies. I must buy a spritzer this year…but I say that every year!
My son and I make the green tree spritz cookies every Christmas. I made them with my Mom when I was growing up. It’s one of our family traditions.
My grandma makes those cookies every year for christmas! They are my favorite of the spritz varieties!! We like to put the multicolored jimmies on them. 🙂
Mrs. L says
I love spritz cookies because I love anything that is a butter cookie. And awesome questions for Anita.
You should be doing interviews on CBC or CNN!!!
Those cookies are so cute!
There’s nothing quite like the buttery goodness of a perfectly cooked spritz cookie. I love them.
I need a cookie press now!! And I think you asked some pretty great questions!
Excellent questions, great answers, and cute little spritz trees. Now where did I store my cookie press??? LOVE the last photo.
Patricia Scarpin says
I’ll be giving myself that book for Xmas. 🙂
These cookies look so adorable!
These are the best cookies~It is that time of year again to get out the press! Love the pictures!
I tried to make these a while back and totally failed. Well, not totally… they still tasted good. They just were too thick for my cookie press. Now that I see you made them successfully I may have to try again
These are amazing! I found this recipe on Pinterest a week ago and decided to try it out this evening. I noticed way too late that I didn’t have any almond extract. I used 3/4 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp lemon, they were so tasty! I didn’t even miss the traditional almond flavor. These will definitely be a repeater in our house. Thank you for sharing!