Margaret Button | Kitchen Comfort: Holiday to-do lists pile up

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It's that time of year again. You know, the one where I make lists that have lists of other lists. The season of wearing a different pair of gaudy earrings every day for a month. The season of stressing out and sleepless nights. Yup, it's that wonderful time of the year.

I managed to issue a very polite, warm "I hate you" to my friend, Sue, who told me Thanksgiving Day she only had a couple more gifts to buy — and wrap. (Her Christmas card arrived Saturday — no snarky comment from me on that achievement.) I've bought a few gifts, but have no idea where I put away the wrapping paper and ribbons. Attic? Basement? Buried among all the stuff in the hall closet? And where is the box of boxes that get used every year. Is it just me or does every family hoard gift boxes from year to year?

I have a list of baking supplies I need for goodies I'd like to make. The problem is, I put it somewhere for safe-keeping. It's really safe because I can't find it. All I know is I need bourbon for the bourbon balls and a large bottle of wine to get me through the pre-Christmas bustle ....

One of my favorite holiday cookies are spritz cookies, made with a cookie press. They are nice and buttery, melt-in-your-mouth good. For those not familiar with it, a cookie press presses the cookie dough through a metal plate to create beautifully shaped cookies. This is a recipe I tried last year and really liked.

Spritz cookies

Yield: 84 bite-size cookies

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Optional: sprinkles, chocolate chips, and melted chocolate for decoration

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two to three large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract, and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.

On low speed, beat in the flour and salt. Turn up to high speed and beat until completely combined.

Press the dough — follow manufacturer's directions to fit your cookie press with a decorative plate. Scrape some of the dough into your cookie press. Hold the cookie press perpendicular to the lined baking sheet and press out the cookies 2 inches apart. If desired, decorate the shaped cookie dough with sprinkles or press a chocolate chip into the center.

If the cookie dough becomes too soft as you work, chill the shaped cookie dough in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before baking.

Bake until very lightly browned on the edges, 7 to 9 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, drizzle with melted chocolate.


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