My fondest memory of spritz cookies was when I working at an exquisite European Bakery called Boniere in my home town of Alameda, CA during high school. The pastry chef would fill the cookies with homemade raspberry and apricot jam, and lightly dust each cookie with powdered sugar. These cookies were so tender and contained the perfect amount of sweetness which would melt in your mouth. I just had to recreate these apricot spritz cookies at home!
Spritz cookies are elegant sweets that delicately crumble in the mouth and can be filled with any type of fruit jam. With apricots in season for just a short period of time in the beginning of summer, I like to take advantage of using this fruit in any dish I can. Making homemade jams and jellies are a simple way to capture the flavors of the summer.
My sweet friend Jessica gave me some of her organic fresh picked and ripe apricots from her tree, extremely sweet, perfect for the apricot ginger filling for the cookie.
The amount of protein contained in the flour and how it contributes to gluten formation is an important aspect of the texture of the cookie. I used a cake flour instead of regular all purpose flour to give a more delicate texture to the cookie. The apricot ginger jam was the perfect filling for the delicious cookie base!
TIP #1: Spritz cookies are known as “pressed cookies” because they are made with a soft dough that is piped through a pastry tip or cookie press. In order to keep the distinctive design, the right ingredients and mixing methods are needed to help retain its shape during baking. Eggs are the key ingredient to help toughen and give body to the cookie. Being careful not to over cream the dough will prevent “spread” of the cookie. These cookies should hold their shape as they are baked, compared to a chocolate chip cookie which spread is desirable.
Tip #2: Fruits naturally contain Pectin, which can cause fruits to form a semisolid gel. The combination of fruit, pectin, sugar and acid (like lemon juice), helps to create jams, jellies, marmalade and preserves.
- 8 ounces apricots, skins removed, halved and cut into ½-inch pieces
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 slices of ginger, peeled, ¼- inch slices
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 10 ounces cake flour, sifted
- Apricot Ginger filling
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Prepare and ice bath to cool the apricots quickly. Score the bottom of the apricots with a X, making the cuts half the way up the sides , ensuring the cuts just go through the skin.
- Add the apricots to the boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds, just until the skin pulls away from the flesh. Quickly add the apricots to the ice bath. Drain and peel the apricots. Halve, pit and cut into ½-inch pieces. Puree in a blender for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth. Strain puree though a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.
- In a small saucepan, combine the apricot puree, sugar, lemon juice and ginger. Simmer over medium heat, skimming foam as needed until the puree reaches 215°F to 220°F. Remove from the heat and cool.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the salt, vanilla and egg, beat well. Gradually add the flour, beating until just blended. The dough should be firm but neither sticky nor stiff.
- Pipe the dough into small rounds onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper, using a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Dip your finger into a bowl of water, and make small indents into the center of each cookie for the jam filling.
- Place a ¼ cup of the apricot filling into a small ziplock bag. Cut a small corner of the bag so that you can easily pipe a small amount of jam into each indent of the cookie.
- Bake at 350°F until lightly browned around the edges and on the bottoms, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. The cookies may require more time depending on your oven, check the cookies every 2 minutes after 10 minutes is reached. Transfer to wire racks to cool.