Pressed, or "spritz," cookies are an old Scandinavian specialty, but they have become a favorite in many other countries, too. Most cookie presses are simple devices that operate with either a lever-and-ratchet system or with a rotating screw top (an electric press is also available, but is a little more difficult to find). A removable coupler at the bottom of the container holds your choice of interchangeable design plates and, in some cases, plain or star-shaped tips. To use, secure the plate or tip, pack the dough into the container, and force it through the press onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Out come little wreaths, miniature trees, dainty butterflies, delicate flowers, ridged ribbons, or any one of the dozens of patterns created by the manufacturer. The press does all the work and does it perfectly. All you do is make the dough, choose the design, and bake the result. As the shapes themselves are so decorative, the only finishing touch might be a sprinkling of glittering sugar crystals, a scattering of finely chopped nuts, or a chocolate tint in the dough. Always use room-temperature dough, as chilled dough is too stiff to push through the press easily.
Putting Plate in Holder
Unscrew the holder from the bottom of the cookie press. Place a plate in the holder with the correct side facing up (as specified by the manufacturer’s directions).
Packing Press with Dough
Scoop up cookie dough with a rubber spatula and pack it into the container of the press. Don’t leave any large air holes in the dough or the shapes will distort when pressed out. Screw on the holder and plate or tip.
Forcing Dough through Press
For all shapes except ribbons (see step 4), hold the press straight down on an ungreased cookie sheet. Force the dough through (it will stick to the cookie sheet) and release the pressure just before you lift the press off the cookie.
Hold the press at an angle. Draw the press along the ungreased cookie sheet in a straight line as you force out the dough.