Those of you that are cookie nerds and gadget lovers need a cookie press! A cookie press is basically a dough gun. You fill the barrel with dough, pull the trigger, and (presto!) dough lands on your cookie sheet in a custom shape. Easy-peasey!
Use a recipe specifically designed for a cookie press. Cookie presses require a certain consistency dough that can be pushed through a stencil (or disc) and stick to the cookie sheet. I used Wilton’s recipe for Classic Spritz Cookies.
Set your cookie sheets in the fridge while you are preparing your dough. It helps the dough stick to the cookie sheet when you shoot it out of the cookie press. Make sure that you use cookie sheets that are ungreased and not non-stick.
Technically, it is not recommended to use food coloring in your dough, as it may change the consistency of the dough. But, I had my heart set on different colored flowers and it worked out fine. I divided the dough into three parts, added a few drops of food coloring to each part, and kneaded the dough until the food coloring was blended. To get the vibrant colors, I used Americolor Lemon Yellow, Americolor Orange, and Wilton Rose (I started out with Americolor Deep Pink but it just wasn’t bright enough). To keep your dough the right consistency for the cookie press, do not refrigerate it as you do for cut out cookies.
Once your dough is prepped, the fun begins! Simply follow the instructions for assembling your cookie press with the stencil that you want to use, roll the dough up into a log shape and load it into the barrel.
It takes a little bit of practice to shoot the cookies out of the barrel onto the cookie sheet consistently. Make sure you hold the barrel against the cookie sheet and not above it. The dough does not fall out of the barrel. It sticks to the cookie sheet and you pull the cookie press straight up to disconnect it from the dough.
If you want to change the shape of your cookies, you can easily swap out stencils at any time. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a few tries to get the pressure and rhythm right, each stencil seems to require slightly different handling. For most of the stencils, I simply pulled the trigger once and then pulled the barrel up. For some I had to pull the trigger once and then pull it again half way to provide a little extra pressure.
You’ll need to reload the barrel with new dough several times, so any dough shapes that don’t come our quite right can just be removed from the cookie sheet and recycled back into the unused dough.
If the cookie dough looks a little rough on the top of your shape, don’t fret, it’s easy to fix. Just take a knife or spatula and pat it lightly to create a smooth surface for decorating.
If you want to get even more creative, combine the different doughs to make multi-colored cookies. Twist them together to make swirled cookies or press them together in rows to make striped cookies.
If you would like to take your cookie press flowers one step further, you can decorate them with icing and sprinkles.