The holidays are fast approaching, and it's time to start thinking about our Christmas baking. No Christmas in our home is complete without Scandinavian Spritz (Sprits.) I’m of Norwegian and Swedish descent, and grew up in a family that was mighty proud of its heritage. As a child, we always had two kinds of Scandinavian cookies at Christmas time – spritz and fattigman – but I’ve learned a lot in my adult years about a “proper” Norwegian Christmas, and to do it right, the hostess must offer the “syv slag kaker til Jul,” the seven cookies of Christmas. Yes, seven! Fortunately, Norwegian housewives know how to take a few simple ingredients and turn them into something delicious, and spritz are no exception. They’re also one of the easiest to make, and don’t require any special tools (like some of the other Norwegian cookies) other than a cookie press.
- 2 sticks salted butter, softened
- 2/3 c. sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. pure almond extract
- 2 1/2 c. unbleached flour
- food coloring
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a mixing bowl, cream softened butter and sugar.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk the 3 egg yolks.
- Mix the vanilla and almond extracts into the egg yolks.
- Add the yolk mixture into the bowl with the butter and sugar, and mix well.
- Add flour, one cup at a time, into the mixing bowl. Combine well.
- Divide dough into smaller bowls. (I wanted to make three different colors of cookies this time, so I divided the dough equally into three separate bowls.)
- Add a few drops of food coloring into each bowl to make colored dough. Mix well.
- Using one color at a time, put dough into a cookie press and press cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet in the shapes of your choice. (*Tip: I have found that a chilled cookie sheet works best, so I stick mine in the freezer for 5 minutes before pressing the cookies.)
- When your cookie sheet is full, bake in oven for approx. 8 minutes, until cookies are just slightly golden. They will be very soft to the touch, but will firm up just a bit while cooling.
- Remove cookie sheet from oven, and allow cookies to cool for a couple minutes.
- Using a spatula, carefully remove cookies and place on a cooling rack.