My Alpha Baker project for this week, the Butter Spritz Cookies, came out looking very pretty if a little splodgy. I think the splodginess is due to the fact I should have refrigerated them before I baked them. I was lead astray from my hard-learnt Principles of Baking in High Heat and Humidity by the fact that these are so quick and easy to make and the dough is very well-behaved.
Somehow this didn't dampen my enjoyment of these biscuits, both making and eating. The flavour is very nice, with a distinct almond taste, and the texture is soft with a slight crunch. If I was going to start a rating scale for Christmas biscuits (and why wouldn't I) these would be a 7 out of 10 for ease of baking and aesthetics, only losing marks for being a little plain in flavour (I enjoy the spice that comes with a lot of Christmas goodies but other may see plainness as a positive).
The only thing I wasn't too keen on for this recipe was the glace cherries which I grudgingly bought. I always pick them off but you do need some colour and shine to make the biscuits look a bit interesting (i.e. Christmassy). Happy days though, as I was strolling the aisles of the supermarket I spotted not one but two different types of jelly tots (one from the UK, one Australian version). I bought them both, a move which really heralds the start of my annual campaign of Christmas excess and general overkill. They do bring down the tone of the biscuits a bit (to something a bit more childish), but they taste a lot nicer that the cherries. Guess who's getting glace cherries in their stocking? (hello Mum).
I tried the piping bag first (you can see the cute little test-biscuit below) but the biscuit came out so small and then my $2.99 piping bag started expelling dough from the sides, so I gave up. I got out a biscuit press which came from either my grandmother or great aunt, which I have never used.
The biscuit press took a little while to work out. You can't see too clearly in the photo but the biscuit closest to the camera is enormous with decreasing size as you move away around the baking sheet. I put these back in the dough pile and started again.
The first tray was pretty comical looking. Pressed too close to the tray, too far away from the tray, double press. I tried it all. But it was a lot of fun and the dough was very easy to deal with. I could have scooped them back in and started again but I wanted to see what shape the different models baked into. And how the different jelly tots held up in the oven.
*Phew* much more evenly sized. I started to get the hang of it. This is when I should have put them in the fridge.
And Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends for Thursday!