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1 hour ago, Gayle28607 said:

I think I might go in the direction of the duct tape. Duct tape and screws! Brilliant ideas. I also found some speculation elsewhere that holding back a bit of the flour might be enough to let the press stay in one piece. But @andiesenji and @Toliver, does this mean that you don’t think a pastry bag could work for all these traditional spritz cookie shapes? 
 

I can’t imagine it, but I am a pastry bag innocent. All I’ve ever done is pipe some icing.

It's not that you can't do it - I have - but the dough is fairly stiff and it takes a LOT of hand/wrist strength to do it (at least, with any spritz cookie dough I've used).

 

I'm old enough now to respect my susceptibility to tendinitis, and use the cookie press instead.

 

ETA: You'll also need an old-school canvas piping bag. Disposables or a Wilton "feather light" will just burst under the pressure.

Edited by chromedome (log)
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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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3 hours ago, chromedome said:

It's not that you can't do it - I have - but the dough is fairly stiff and it takes a LOT of hand/wrist strength to do it (at least, with any spritz cookie dough I've used).

 

I'm old enough now to respect my susceptibility to tendinitis, and use the cookie press instead.

 

ETA: You'll also need an old-school canvas piping bag. Disposables or a Wilton "feather light" will just burst under the pressure.

Have you made any of the classic spritz shapes - camels, trees and so on? If so, how? I can’t envision how the bag would work. Could one of those plates that make the shapes just be dropped into the narrow bottom of the bag? In this case, a canvas one? Sorry I’m being so slow on the uptake. I can imagine how you could extrude shapes that don’t require the press to be flush with the baking sheet. But most of the shapes need to be pressed through the decorative shape in the plate, and then be in contact with the baking sheet. 
 

Maybe I need to just get a canvas bag and try it. It would seem it would need an insert with legs to allow me to press the dough out properly. Or I’m having a failure of imagination. That’s always possible!

gayle28607

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24 minutes ago, Gayle28607 said:

Have you made any of the classic spritz shapes - camels, trees and so on? If so, how? I can’t envision how the bag would work.

 

No, for those you'd still need a press.

With a bag I've just used a star tip to make the traditional ring shapes, S shapes and the like. You can make a passable Christmas tree or wreath by piping joined rosettes through a star tip, but I rapidly ran out of patience and also my tendons were telling me "If you want to do anything else with these hands for the next couple of weeks, it's probably time to stop..."

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Okay. Thanks a lot, @chromedome, for that insight. I'm feeling a little less stupid. And feeling the lure of eBay for another old Mirro. The tube holds a lot more dough than the newer ones, and if I could just get the darn top to stay on, which might be more doable now that I'm considering options like duct tape, I might get another holiday season out of this one. I grew up in a family where we tripled our recipe always of these cookies, so that's a fair amount of butter, flour, eggs and sugar I want to move through the press and into shapes. It's a tradition! 

 

But, I think I will also hold back on a bit of the flour. That may be my issue, ultimately, as the dough is super stiff. I've never refrigerated it, as the recipe recommends. I can't even imagine how you'd do this if the dough was cold!

gayle28607

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25 minutes ago, Gayle28607 said:

But, I think I will also hold back on a bit of the flour. That may be my issue, ultimately, as the dough is super stiff. I've never refrigerated it, as the recipe recommends. I can't even imagine how you'd do this if the dough was cold!

 

Definitely watch the flour.  Using less will make it easier to press.  A side benefit is more tender cookies.  My "bible" for pressed cookies when I was a teen, Betty Crocker's Cookbook, recommends testing the dough for consistency before adding all the flour by putting a small amount in the cookie press and squeezing it out.  Edited to add that I always hold the last 1/2 cup of flour aside and start testing.  It should be soft and pliable, not crumbly.  Betty says to chill only if the recipe recommends, otherwise use at room temp. If the dough seems too soft, Betty recommends adding the yolk of an egg. If it's too stiff, a tablespoon or 2 of flour should do the trick.  She says if the dough is of the right consistency, it shouldn't be necessary to exert a lot of force on either the press or the handle. 

 

I'm sure you have plenty of experience with all of this but as long as I'm sharing her tips - don't lift the press from the cookie sheet until enough dough has come out to form the cookie.  She says that for some cookies it may be necessary to wait a moment to allow the dough to adhere to the sheet before lifting the press.  With some doughs, I find I need to pull up briskly to ensure the cookie stays behind on the sheet.

 

Good luck and keep us posted.  I'm thinking I need to go make some!

 

Edited by blue_dolphin
to add note & differentiate between stiff and soft (log)
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10 minutes ago, Gayle28607 said:

But, I think I will also hold back on a bit of the flour. That may be my issue, ultimately, as the dough is super stiff. I've never refrigerated it, as the recipe recommends. I can't even imagine how you'd do this if the dough was cold!

I am no cookie queen but to me refrigerated is easier to handle. Like modeling clay versus Play-Do. Think cleaning the garlic press after the kids do an art project with PD Squishy.

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53 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

 

Definitely watch the flour.  Using less will make it easier to press.  A side benefit is more tender cookies.  My "bible" for pressed cookies when I was a teen, Betty Crocker's Cookbook, recommends testing the dough for consistency before adding all the flour by putting a small amount in the cookie press and squeezing it out.  Edited to add that I always hold the last 1/2 cup of flour aside and start testing.

 

Perfect, blue_dolphin! That's where I will start this season. My mom's Betty Crocker cookbook didn't make it from her passing  and house being sold to its new home in my house, as I had hoped. And I was in charge of all this, so I dropped the ball somewhere. That's the recipe I used, too, but I just have the basic ingredients now on a note card, which was how I took it to college and into my earlier life in states far from mom and the cookbook. Those notes ring such a bell. Thanks for sharing them. I suspect my obsession with making these cookies every holiday season will now be less onerous!

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gayle28607

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Spritz cookies were always a favorite in our family — my mother had an electric press (I think the corded Super Shooter that @andiesenji mentions; the pistol grip looks familiar) and my grandmother had an anodized aluminum press that I'm almost certain was a Mirro. 

Both of those presses always worked well for me, but I've had no luck with the several presses I've bought as an adult. (At least one was a Wilton, and I don't think any of them has been the Kuhn Rikon). All of them were ratcheting pistol-grip presses, and they seem to be much pickier about the consistency of the dough — since the amount dispensed with every click is fixed. So I often seem to end up with partial cookies that don't stay put, or blobs that blow out the shape.

 

With a screw type press you can finesse it a bit more. I think the technique that always worked for me with the Mirro was pressing the cookie and then turning the knob backwards about a quarter turn before lifting up to release the cookie.

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14 hours ago, dtremit said:

With a screw type press you can finesse it a bit more. I think the technique that always worked for me with the Mirro was pressing the cookie and then turning the knob backwards about a quarter turn before lifting up to release the cookie.

That's the technique I use with the Mirro. I've found this type of screw mechanism to be very forgiving. And, I share your frustration with the "fixed amount" ratcheting devices. I still own one, but have disposed of two to the local second hand shop.

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gayle28607

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3 hours ago, Gayle28607 said:

That's the technique I use with the Mirro. I've found this type of screw mechanism to be very forgiving. And, I share your frustration with the "fixed amount" ratcheting devices. I still own one, but have disposed of two to the local second hand shop.

My mom's cookie press that she used to make her Spritz cookies and Jams had a crank at the top (imagine the old car door handles you used to roll the window up or down). So it was the same cranking action as the Mirro, just a different brand cookie press.

I would recommend not using a piping bag. Go with what you know.

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“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

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