1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
candied cherries, nuts, chocolate disc, colored sprinkles or colored sugars
Spritz Cookies : Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. You will need two ungreased baking sheets.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the egg and almond extract and beat until incorporated. On low speed, gradually add the flour <http://www.joyofbaking.com/SpritzCookies.html and salt and mix until incorporated.
To Press Cookies: Scrape some of the dough into your cookie press that has been fitted with a decorative plate (follow manufacturer's instructions). Hold the cookie press perpendicular to the ungreased baking sheet, with the tip almost touching the sheet, and squeeze the trigger. (If you find the dough is too soft, because the shape of the cookies is not clearly defined, then chill the dough.) Continue to press out the cookies, spacing about 1 inch apart. If desired, decorate the cookies with pieces of candied cherries nuts, colored sprinkles or colored sugars.
To Pipe Cookies: Have ready a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch diameter open star tip. Fill the pastry bag about half full, twist the end of the bag to close, and pipe 1 1/2 inch (3.5 cm) rosettes or stars by holding the pastry bag perpendicular to the ungreased baking sheet, with the tip almost touching the sheet. Squeeze the pastry bag firmly and evenly without moving it until the shape is the desired size. Stop squeezing and push the pastry bag down a little and then lift the pastry bag straight up. Continue to pipe cookies, spacing about 1 inch apart. If desired, decorate the cookies with pieces of candied cherries, nuts, colored sprinkles or colored sugars.
Bake cookies for about 6 - 9 minutes or just until the edges of the cookies are barely tinged with brown. Remove from oven and gently transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. These cookies will keep at room temperature for about one week or they can be frozen for several months.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.