Spritz cookies (Spritzgebäck) in Germany are mainly in the form of wreaths and sticks and are made with a star-shaped disk on a meat grinder or with a piping bag.
The spritz cookies we know and love in the U.S. are made with a cookie press shaped like a glue gun. The cookie press has origins in the early 20th century and became very popular by the 1930s. As North Americans adapt everything, our spritz cookie shapes have changed from the German forms to Christmas trees, bars, and round cookies.
Scandinavian shapes are often Christmas trees, flowers or various designs. A Norwegian version of the cookie is shaped in S's and O's.
Buttery and crispy spritz cookies are traditionally made with butter, flour, sugar and eggs. This chocolate spritz bar cookie gets the addition of unsweetened chocolate. The double layer of spritz dough is filled with a bit of jam in the middle. I've used apricot here, but feel free to use raspberry as either flavor mixes well with the chocolate spritz cookies.
Makes 3 dozen German Jam-Filled Chocolate Spritz Cookies.
- Cookie Dough:
- 6 ounces/12 tablespoons/160 g. butter (unsalted, room-temperature)
- 1/2 cup/100 g. sugar
- 1 large/50-60 g. egg (room-temperature)
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (or another flavor)
- 2 ounces/50 g. chocolate (unsweetened, melted and cooled. see the Note, below)
- 2 1/4 cups/280 g. flour (all-purpose)
- 3 tablespoons jam (apricot)
- 2 tablespoons almonds (chopped)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- In a large bowl, make the cookie dough by creaming together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extract until well combined.
- In a small heatproof bowl, microwave the chocolate in 10-second increments, stirring after each increment.
- Temper the chocolate (so that it does not clump, known as seizing) by mixing a few tablespoons of the cookie dough batter into the bowl of chocolate (increasing the temperature). Then mix the chocolate into the batter until smooth.
- Add the flour and salt, if using unsalted butter, to form a stiff dough.
- You can use this dough right away or place it in the refrigerator for a day or two if you are short on time. When ready to bake, bring the dough up to room temperature for the cookie press.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Insert the bar-shaped disk into the cookie press according to the manufacturer's directions.
- Fill the tube with cookie dough and lay a continuous ribbon of cookie dough down on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Lay a few teaspoons of apricot jam filling down the middle of the ribbon of dough. Then, using the cookie press, lay another long ribbon of dough over the top of the jam. Gently press the edges of the cookie dough down towards the bottom layer, but do not crush the ornamental surface.
- In a small bowl, mix the chopped almonds with the sugar to make the topping and sprinkle evenly over the top of the bars.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies will be soft when you remove them from the oven. Cut them into 1-inch lengths while hot with a sharp knife. Wipe the knife in between cuts for best results.
- Cool completely for best taste. Store at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks or freeze for longer storage.
Note: Unsweetened baking chocolate is also an American ingredient and does not seem to be available in Germany. Where unsweetened baking chocolate is unavailable, substitute 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon butter for each ounce of baking chocolate in the recipe.