One of my favorite holiday traditions is making and eating spritz cookies. I can remember being a little boy and going to my great grandmother's house and eating loads of these cookies. I never cared about the ingredients and what went into them...all I cared about was making sure I ate plenty of them. They were full of all my favorite things FAT and SUGAR! But who cared I was 10. And of course we had to leave some out for the big guy when he came down that chimney. Every year he seemed to love my great grandmother's cookies.
So now fast forward a few years (or maybe 40) and I've learned a few things. I can't possibly eat that many cookies at one time and for my own health I have to watch what goes into those cookies. So here is a "healthy" alternative to making some delicious spritz cookies for your holiday gatherings.
Origin of the "Spritz" Cookie?
Where did those cookies get their weird name "spritz?" Actually it came from Germany. Spritz came from the German word spritzgebach which means to "squirt". Hence the reason a cookie press is used.
Here you can see my 12yo daughter and her friend pressing out the spritz cookie dough on a cookie sheet. This batch is getting a coating of colorful sprinkles on them. In the bottom left corner of the picture you can see the actual press with the Christmas tree shape they selected. The press we use has several different shapes you can insert into the press so you get a variety of cookie shapes.
Traditional recipes for spritz cookies use butter, eggs, flour, vanilla extract, and salt. But we had to up our game for our spritz cookies. So instead we opted for paleo friendly flour, which will make them gluten free. And instead of coating the pan with butter we used a coconut oil spray (as seen on the left side of the picture). You see how the pan looks almost white? That's the coconut oil spray. The cookie press made the circle around each of the cookies on the sheet. Using coconut oil instead of butter also makes them vegan friendly.
Next we need to sweeten them up (of course no one likes an unsweet cookie) but we need to watch out for the sugar content. We still want to keep our insulin in check. So lets use maple syrup instead. Maple syrup ranks lower on the glycemic index.
Next we add some flaxseed meal which will give us a little extra fiber. You know that stuff that lowers our "net carb" count. Flaxseeds are packed with inflammation fighting omega-3 fatty acids and flaxseeds have shown to improve digestive healthy.
Caution about using food coloring
Now I know coloring the cookies is half the fun but lets do it the safe way. Using things like dyes and food coloring has shown to have negative effects on our health. There are some studies out there that link food dyes to ADD/ADHD. So instead you can choose to use a natural coloring like beet juice or spirulina.
Christmas Spritz Cookies (With Homemade Food Coloring!)
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 24 cookies
2 cups Paleo flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 teaspoons almond extract
4 tablespoon flaxseed meal
1⅓ cup water
2 tablespoons powdered spirulina (for green coloring)
½ cup + 1 tablespoon red beet juice (for red coloring)
Spritz cookie press
Preheat oven to 350 F.
RED SPRITZ COOKIES
In a medium-sized bowl, combine 1 cup flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ cup maple syrup, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 teaspoons almond extract, 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal, ½ cup water and beet juice.
Mix thoroughly until well-combined.
Choose cookie shape and then spoon mixture into the cookie press.
Use the cookie press to spritz cookies onto a lined baking sheet.
GREEN SPRITZ COOKIES
In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine 1 cup flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ cup maple syrup, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 teaspoons almond extract, 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal, remaining water and spirulina.
Repeat steps 3–5 with green dough.
Bake for 8–10 minutes.