When it comes to Christmas treats, spritz cookies are a family favorite. My family is especially partial to this almond spritz recipe, but we’ve definitely dabbled with a few fun variations like red velvet and orange, too. Find them all here. As delicious as these cookies are, they definitely take a bit of finesse to perfect. Now, I’m not talking about making the dough—that’s the easy part! I’m talking about pressing out those perfect shapes with a spritz maker.
Getting the hang of a cookie press can be tricky, especially when there are a few options to choose from. Is the old-fashioned one like grandma has the best option or is it better to opt for a new model? As a spritz aficionado, I had to find out.
The Two Main Types of Cookie Presses
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In the world of spritz cookies, there are two main cookie presses. First, there’s the one like my mom uses every holiday season. It’s an aluminum tube with an assortment of cookie discs that make all those pretty shapes. This cookie press is fairly simple mechanically speaking: just twist the handle on top, and the plunger pushes out the dough.
The other kind of spritz maker is what you’ll find at most kitchen stores today. It’s mostly made of plastic, though the metal cookie discs are similar to the old-fashioned version. (Try this set of 6 from OXO.) To assemble this one, you’ve got to press a few buttons and make sure the ratcheting mechanism that pushes out the dough is aligned. To make the cookies, you pull a trigger and the dough comes out equally portioned every time.
Testing Them Out
To test these, I whipped up a batch of buttery spritz. Then I loaded some dough into a vintage cookie press and the rest of the dough into a new spritz maker—I’ve got this $30 model from OXO Good Grips. To get a good read on how these would perform side by side, I selected similar cookie discs: a flower and a clover.
Using the Vintage Cookie Press
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To start this experiment, I decided to go with the press I was most familiar with—the vintage one from the 1960s. I’ve seen my mom make countless cookies using this spritz maker, so I figured it would be a breeze.
I popped in my first disc (a basic flower), filled the canister with plenty of spritz dough and screwed on the top—assembly was super easy. I attempted to do what my mom had always done: give the press a little crank and then watch a perfectly formed cookie pop out the bottom. I did that—well, I thought I did that. It turns out that making a spritz with one of these older presses is not so easy. I kept getting smashed looking cookies if I could get the dough to release from the press at all.
To get the hang of it, I had to call up my mom—cookie master (really, she has so many good tips like this one on keeping cookies fresh)—to get some insider tips. She said to get the cookie to release from the press, give the crank on top a turn but then turn it in reverse just a hair while lifting it up from the cookie sheet.
Like always, Mom definitely knew best. After a half-dozen not-so-pretty cookies, I got the feel for using this old-fashioned press. This cookie press definitely requires a bit of baker’s intuition, but it still made nice cookies with a bit of imperfect, homemade flair.
Using the New Cookie Press
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I’ll admit, after struggling a bit with the vintage cookie press, I wasn’t too excited about the new version. The new spritz maker had a few more moving parts than the classic version. I had to consult the directions a few times to get it assembled and loaded correctly.
But once I got the new press loaded, it was smooth sailing. The trigger on this machine made for perfect cookies every single time. Just squeeze the trigger, lift up and reveal a picture-perfect spritz. I got through a whole pan in half the time it took me to use the older version.
The Bottom Line
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Let me say this: If you have an old-fashioned spritz maker and you like it, good! Stick with what works for you. After all, some vintage kitchen gadgets are worth keeping around.
However, if you’re in the market for a new cookie press and you’re debating whether to buy new or snag a vintage one off eBay, debate no more—just buy yourself a new press right now. While it took a few minutes to learn how to assemble, the new cookie press delivers terrific looking spritz cookies every time. Honestly, using the new press was so simple, it made me wonder why I haven’t been making spritz cookies all year long!