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Anyone prolific with cookie recipes using a cookie press?

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I'm going to make a couple kinds of cookies for work.
Watched and recorded America's Test Kitchen where they made Chewy Sugar Cookies and know the supervisors at work would love to have some. These are the same lady's that always ask me to please make them cookies.
Plus, last week I bought another cookie press just cause I couldn't and didn't resist so thought I'd toss in some pretty cookies using that too if possible.
Problem is I've attempted making cookies from the hand held press machines before, years before, and had no success.

Is there a must do in creating nice looking and well shaped cookies?
Are there recipes that you use that I may try also?
Do I have to chill the dough or not?
Add butter as opposed to oil or vice versa?
When I've tried previously, they've spread or not come out any particular shape, certainly not the shape of the die I'm using. How do I cut off the portion? Do I backward squeeze the turning lever? Do I push harder when wanting to cut it off? I would appreciate any help you can share.
TIA

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  1. FYI...The chewy sugar cookies turned out really well. If anyone else saw that episode they are worth making for certain.

    1 Reply
    1. re: iL Divo

      Did you watch the videos? Did they help you? Hope so.

    2. Here's the link to the Discussion that I started on a similar question during the Christmas cookie making season. There were some very helpful tips. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/751308

      1 Reply
      1. re: masha

        my 3 cookie presses are all the same as far as style goes.
        bought them for two bakers long ago and just bought this new one for me.
        never knew they made a lever squeeze model.
        wish I'd have known that.
        the hand crank offers no videos that I can find and the squeeze trigger kind I don't own.
        also, very few recipes online that I found in my short search.
        refrigerator dough isn't an option.
        going into the link above to see if I can learn anything there, thanks.

      2. It's important to have the dough be the correct consistency for the cookie press to work properly. I would use a recipe specifically design for use with a press. We don't use a cookie press for any recipe other than Spritz and you cannot make those in April.

        5 Replies
        1. re: John E.

          Why not?

          1. re: John E.

            "We don't use a cookie press for any recipe other than Spritz and you cannot make those in April."

            ???????

            1. re: ttoommyy

              You cannot make Spritz in April because they are Christmas cookies. I look on it the same as not making a strawberry pie in December or a pumpkin pie in June.

              1. re: John E.

                I hope your comment is tongue in cheek. If not, it will offend thousands of non-Christians who make spritz cookies. :)

                BTW...I make spritz all year round and especially when Easter falls in April. There are some floral dies that make beautiful cookies embellished with pink, purple and yellow sanding sugars.

                1. re: ttoommyy

                  Actually, I meant it, but it's not a law or anything. My older brother and I used to help my mom make them each December, mostly sprinkling the colored sugar on and putting the red hots on and sometime those silver BBs (although I don't know why, they didn't add flavor). I remember asking to make them at another time of year and she said we couldn't because then they wouldn't be as special when we made them each December. The way I look at it, there's a reason most of the dies are wreaths, stars and Christmas trees (I also remember a camel and a dog). Of course anybody else can make them whenever they like.

          2. just whipped out the cookie press, made recipe as per provided here and got NOWHERE.
            not holding their shape, not adhering to the cookie sheet, just an all in all mess. I'm chucking the cookie press.
            I put the dough, which is delicious by the way, into a really sturdy quart sized zipper bag, snipped off an end and did a piping of straws. otherwise, didn't know what to do with the dough.
            so now, I have 4" thin straws. guess this is not my forte *&@*%^

            18 Replies
            1. re: iL Divo

              I'm no baker but I'm guessing the dough had too much butter to hold the shape of the cookie press. Now I've only used the spritz dough but I have used 3 different presses including the Wilton with the link provided nearby. The only cookie press that consistently worked for me was the old Mirro one that has a handle that is turned instead of a lever that is squeezed.

              1. re: John E.

                I have both styles as well as a press that extrudes but requires slicing. For most people using presses for Spritz dough the gun lever provides the best control and consistency in shape; epecially certain diecut disks that tend to flop. But that's just 35 years of exp. bragging :) at ya.

                1. re: HillJ

                  My experience is different than yours but about the same lenth, although I will admit that I didn't make them every year in the last 35.

                  My brother and SIL had a Spritz contest once. My brother told his wife he liked our mother's spritz recipe better than his wife's (yea, not too bright). Anyway she made a batch using her mother's recipe and he made some using our mom's recipe and had their boys do a blind taste test. He won. His prize was that from then on he got to make the spritz cookies each December. They no longer have spritz cookies for Christmas.

                  1. re: John E.

                    Sounds like a wonderful memory John E. We make spritz cookies of all styles, flavors and doughs year round and use the press for non cookie purposes as well. It's a great tool.

                  2. re: HillJ

                    Too bad OP is throwing it out (or already has). Sounds like one of those things (don't we all have them????) that has a definite learning curve.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      c, on ILD's other thread I made a few other suggestions. It's absolutely a learning curve (like any tool).

                  3. re: John E.

                    As I reported last December (in the Post that I linked above), I used my mother's old Mirro, which has a handle that turns, not a lever. I am not a particularly dexterous baker and this was my first time making Spritz cookies since I made them with my mother as a girl. I did have some problems with getting the dough to release in perfect shapes but I did not have the kinds of problems reported by Il Divo. I agree that the likely culprit seems to relate to the consistency of the dough, either because of the recipe he used and/or the temperature.

                    I used the Wilton recipe that HillJ had linked and it was terrific -- both in consistency and taste.

                    1. re: masha

                      I think when I used the Wilton the dough was too stiff for the plastic plates. I just couldn't get it to lay out good looking cookies. I was however able to use a Mirro successfully. I ended up buying one at Goodwill as nobody knows what happened to my mother's cookie press. I have an Italian made aluminum press that uses a ratchet sysyem similar to the Wilton as well. (It's the one my mother used in later years after arthritis caused her to abandon the Mirro).

                    2. re: John E.

                      JohnE, the recipe is from the press itself & is coincidentally the same as the linked recipe provided by Antilope. It calls for 1 cup butter.

                      I got an idea John, can you come over? :)))

                      1. re: iL Divo

                        Is one cup butter measured or weighed?

                        1. re: c oliver

                          I have never seen an American recipe where one cup of butter does not mean two sticks, or 8 ounces. One stick = 8 tablespoons, as in the wrapper markings = 1/2 cup.

                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            Thanks. I'm barely coming to the baking scene. I know with pasta one weighs the flour. So baking is measured?

                            1. re: c oliver

                              Most American baking books and recipes give volume measures for dry ingredients (weights more frequent in yeast bread-oriented books, for sure), though weighing flour is absolutely more consistent given differences in how people might fill measuring cups*, effects of humidity, and so on. It's just been the American convention for so long, and cookbook authors and publishers seem reluctant to change it, perhaps because of the kitchen-scale threshold, as in, lots of Americans don't have them, though I'm seeing more that have weights for flour, sugar, nuts, etc., alongside volumes. (UK and European convention is by weight only.)

                              Most contemporary American recipes will specify butter by both volume measurements and number of sticks, but I wish they'd specify by weight, more often, too, for clarity.

                              *I prefer for authors to specify how it's to be measured if by volume, but the best convention is to spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level off with a spatula or the back of a knife, as this does not compact the flour.

                          2. re: c oliver

                            It just calls for 1 cup butter. I weighed it on kitchen scale as the recipe was pretty stern about the amount of flour so took heed with butter being exact.

                          3. re: iL Divo

                            How much sugar and flour?

                            If you wanted someone to show you how to bake, you for sure would want someone that knows more than me. I bake just a few times a year, pies and cookies maybe two or three times each.

                            1. re: John E.

                              John I was kidding:)))
                              You know like when you were a kid and you'd say to a friend "can you come over"?
                              Just bein silly.
                              I bake all the time,
                              Unfortunately patience isn't anywhere in my name and no way do I want to know about a learning curve :()()()() I just want to be able to make these with ease.
                              That ain't happenin but maybe with my husbands sure and steady hand we will accomplish this together.

                              1. re: iL Divo

                                Actually I'm a pretty decent baker when I stick with good recipes and don't stray too far from what I know, even though I bake rarely these days. I still get asked by my mostly grown up nephews to make my 'killer' chocolate chip cookies (ATK from many years ago), apple pie and they still talk about the fried apple pies my brother and I made during a Canadian fishing trip when it was raining too hard and the waves were too high to be out on the lake. (We went all southern that day with fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy. The boys said they were glad it rained that day).

                                1. re: John E.

                                  Great anecdote, JE. And, yes, follow the rules or get slapped down on occasion :)

                      2. http://www.amazon.com/Wilton-Comfort-...

                        $12.00 and a really easy on the baker press, iLD.

                        1. It's really late right now in my neck of the world. If you can wait until tomorrow I've got a recipe that might work in your cookie press. It's worked in my old Mirro. It's a Lemon Fire and Ice cookie. The "fire" is from the addition of grd. cayenne pepper. You don't taste the cayenne at first, but you get a little pleasant heat on the finish. I've also made the recipe with lime juice instead of lemon and that's good too.

                          It may take me a while to find the recipe, but if you think you want it, I'll see if I can dig it up