Saturday, April 19, 2014

Italian-Style "Easter" Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies

Easter Sunday is tomorrow, and I'm a week behind sharing this recipe. Sorry. For the last week and a half, my husband and I shared a cold, that morphed into a nagging cough. We're on the mend, but this week we've been experiencing avery low energy once we get home from work.  I had every intention of making cute carrot shaped sugar cookies, but alas... time has run out.

These aren't an authentic Italian cookie, but they are my own take on a traditional Italian citrus flavor cookie, that are shaped in knots or wreaths and sprinkled with multi-colored confetti.

King Arthur Flour sells a Fiori di Sicilia baking flavor that has notes of vanilla and citrus.  I recently purchased an OXO Cookie Press, and thought I'd make a cream cheese version of spritz cookies.  I have a tried and true all-butter version of spritz cookies that is one of our favorites. The cookies turn out crispy and buttery, and the dough is very easy to work with.  It's so easy, that I can easily bake dozens of cookies in a very short time.

This is where I'm going to be 100% honest with you.  Ready?  This cream cheese dough was a beast to work with!  It's a very soft dough, and I had to refrigerate it for at least 1/2 hour.  Otherwise, I ended up pressing cookie pancakes. Arrrrrrrrrgh!

You might be thinking, "I don't own a cookie press", so I can't make this recipe.  You could pipe the dough with a large star tip, and I think I would have been a lot less frustrated had I gone this route.

A cookie press is a fun baking tool to add to your collection, though. While spritz cookies are most popular for Christmas, my men are happy anytime I make a buttery cookies like these.  I'm also playing with making savory crackers.  

For the glaze, I used a simple King Arthur Flour recipe. I first tried dipping each cookie into the glaze, but in the end ...

I ended up drizzling the glaze...

...and sprinkling festive colored sprinkles on top.

TASTING NOTES:  My honest opinion is that the cream cheese makes the texture of these cookies a tad bit softer and tones down the buttery flavor that I much prefer for spritz cookies. The Fiori di Sicilia extract can be very strong, so I'm glad I only added 1/4 teaspoon.  The citrus notes were very subtle, in a good way.  My husband really liked these, so I encouraged him to take them to the office so that I would not be tempted to eat them all.  Don't get me wrong, please. I'm not saying I didn't like the cookies! I'm glad that I've baked an all-butter version and a cream cheese version for comparison. Personally, I'll stick with all-butter.

For us, Easter is a Holy holiday and we plan to spend most of our morning at church, and serving with the children's ministry, afterwards.  Now that my son is all grown up, I miss seeing the excitement in his eyes when he received his Easter basket. Our Easter brunch menu will be only be for the two of us, this year, and I don't think I want to join the restaurant crowds for Easter brunch menus.  I haven't made any decisions on what I'll make. My body's energy will dictate that one! 

Easter Blessings, He is Risen!


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Sue/the view from great island said...

These cookies look fabulous, they'll be perfect all spring long! I've wanted to try that flavoring for the longest time, it sounds so enticing. Happy Easter Debby!

Catherine said...

The cookies look wonderful. Perfect for a good cup of coffee.

Sam Hoffer @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Your cookies are so pretty Debby. I miss Easter baskets too. Wishing you and your family a very blessed Easter.

Joanne said...

These cookies are so cute!! I love that they have hints of the traditional Italian cookie flavor.

Roz Corieri Paige said...

By the time you receive this comment, I hope that your husband and you both feel a lot better! We too, spent a very quiet Easter holy day together and sometimes, it seems that's a necessary thing . . . for relaxation, contemplation, and restoration of the body, soul and mind. I love these cookies and continually tell my beloved German/Scottish husband that Italians do know how to do sweets/cookies/pastries despite their fame for savory recipes. My Bill has an extraordinary sweet tooth and is in for a big surprise when we visit Italy in May for all of the sweets that he knows so little of. I hope that you had a "Buona Pasqua"!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

These are happy cookies, Debby. I can't look at them without smiling. I love the little shapes and the colorful little sprinkles on top. I can't wait to get my cookie press so I can make some of my own.