Spritz cookies that have a delicate buttery crumble and are filled with a delicious apricot jam. This classic recipe is flexible in that you can substitute any fruit jam you like.
Classic spritz cookies are easy to make and contain the perfect amount of sweetness. When I worked at a European bakery in high school, these always flew off the shelf. So if you have a cookie exchange coming up, these make a great treat to include!
Pick your favorite pipe design or make fun shapes, this recipe is completely customizable all the way down to the filling. I’m a big fan of apricots, so I’ll show you how to make a simple, yet flavorful, homemade jam to add to the middle of each cookie. Let’s get baking!
Properly incorporating the butter
Use butter that’s softened to just below room temperature, 60 to 70ºF (15ºC to 21ºC). This gives the cookies structure and keeps them light and crisp since there’s no baking soda or powder in the recipe.
To prevent unwanted cookie spread on a sheet pan, be careful not to over cream the butter with the sugar. These cookies should hold their shape as they bake compared to a chocolate chip cookie where some expansion is desirable.
Use cake flour for a delicate texture
For spritz cookie that’s slightly crisp on the outside, yet effortlessly crumbles as you nibble, use cake flour. Due to the lower amount of protein compared to all-purpose flour (6 to 8% vs 10 to 13%) it gives a more delicate texture to the cookie.
The amount of protein contained in the flour and how it contributes to gluten formation is an important aspect of the texture. Typically the higher the amount of protein, the greater the flour’s gluten-forming potential, and tougher the cookie.
Piping the cookie design
To create a wreath shape with ridges, use a large piping bag and an 824-sized star tip. You can also use a round tip to create a thumbprint style. Start from the center and connect the cookie dough back in the middle. Add an indent with your finger or use the back of a measuring spoon so that you have a place to add the jam. If you have a cookie press, that works too.
Fruit filling selection
When I first developed this recipe, apricots were in season, so I created a simple apricot ginger jam. Making homemade jams and jellies are a nice way to capture the flavors of the season. However, for a quick and effortless substitution you can buy pre-made jam or any filling flavor of your choice.
Customize the recipe
- Use almond extract or peppermint extract instead of vanilla.
- A few drops of food coloring to make festive colored cookies.
- Dust powdered sugar or sprinkles on top.
- Instead of fruit, add chocolate ganache in the center.
- Strawberry, raspberry, or grape jam or jelly are tasty fillings.
More holiday cookies
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Cookie batter consistency
If the dough is difficult to pipe, roll it between your palms a few times to warm it slightly while in the piping bag. Using a digital scale ensures that the right amount of flour is added, if not properly measured, a few extra tablespoons can make the dough too thick.
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Spritz Cookies with Apricot Jam
- 8 ounces apricots, skins removed, halved and cut into ½-inch pieces
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 slices ginger, peeled, ¼"-slices
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, (1 cup) softened to 60 to 70ºF (15 to 21ºC)
- 4 ounces granulated sugar, (9 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 10 ounces cake flour, (2 1/2 cups) sifted after measuring
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Score the bottoms of the apricots with an "X", making the cuts halfway up the sides and 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 transfer apricots to a bowl filled with ice cubes.
- Drain and peel the apricots. Cut in half, pit them and slice into ½-inch pieces. Puree in a blender for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth. Run the puree through 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 to 220°F (101 to 104ºC). Remove from the heat and cool.
- Place the apricot filling in a ziplock bag and cut a small corner off right before decorating.
- Set the oven rack to the center position. Preheat to 350ºF (177ºC).
- Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add salt, vanilla, and egg. Beat well on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides as needed.
- Gradually add the flour, beating until just blended. The dough should be firm but neither sticky nor stiff.
- Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (824 tip size).
- Pipe the dough into small rounds on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. The cookies should be about 1 ½ to 2-inches in diameter. Leave 2-inches of space in between.
- Dip your finger into a bowl of water, and make small indents into the center of each cookie for the jam filling.
- Pipe a small amount of jam into each indent of the cookie. If using cold jam, spoon in ¼ teaspoon into the center.
- Bake one tray at a time, until cookies are lightly browned around the edges and on the bottoms, the surface will stay pale in color, 12 to 14 minutes.
- Immediately transfer to a wire cooling rack.
- If apricots are not in season, use a store-bought fruit jam of your choice. You will need about an 11-ounce jar.
- Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for about five days, or frozen for up to 1 month.
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