Almond Piped Christmas Cookies (Spritzgeback) – Vegan friendly

This post first appeared as a contribution for ‘Beyond Curries’ on January 1st, 2010 when I used to prepare vegetarian recipes at home for the family. The recipe uses dairy derived butter.  It can be made vegan by simply substituting the same with non-dairy butter. 

Christmas is gone but I am sure a festive treat for the New Year is always welcome, isn’t it? I tried these cookies during the long weekend off we were treated to as Christmas and Muharram prefixed and suffixed Saturday and Sunday.

Mandelspritzgeback | Piped almond cookies

Mandelspritzgeback | Piped almond cookies

My 2Penn’orth, by Thorsten Kraska is an excellent blog that has had me smitten since my first visit. The recipes are easy, the write up simple and the pictures exquisite beyond words! I have adapted the recipe for these German Cookies (Spritzgeback) to make it vegetarian by substituting the egg yolks with a tablespoon of coconut cream as I had promised my children a vegetarian bake with real butter. Next time I will go a step further and try a vegan version (Vegan Hazelnut Spritzgeback). Don’t let the large yield scare you! My children have been making more than usual trips to the kitchen and the quantity of cookies in the jar tell me the reason. Do visit the original recipe if you try this and like it as much as my family did. The flavour of the cookie is very buttery and the texture is light, crisp and very fragile.

Spritzeback are traditional German cookies baked during Christmas and popular in most Scandinavian Countries. They are named so because ‘spritzen’ in German means ‘squirt’ in English and these cookies are made by squirting out pipes through patterned holes. You could use icing nozzles that have large holes or any other press. (I was tempted to use my son’s play dough press which seemed ideal but it has so much play dough stuck that I could not clean it enough 🙁 ). Towards the end I just dropped teaspoonfuls and flattened the dough a bit into a rough circle.

Recipe: Mandelspritzgeback (Almond Piped Christmas Cookies – Eggless)
Recipe modified and reproduced with permission from ‘My 2penn’orth
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time:8-10 minutes per batch
Yield: 80-90 cookies

Ingredients:

Softened butter – 250g
Sugar – 160g
1 vanilla bean split and scraped into the sugar
A dash of salt
Thick coconut cream (I used canned) – 1tbsp
Ground blanched almonds – 100g
All purpose flour / Maida – 200g
Cornstarch / Cornflour – 200g
Melted dark chocolate

Oven temperature – 190 deg. Celsius.

Method:

To make the almond flour, blanch almonds in hot water, let cool and skin. Dry almonds in refrigerator overnight to get rid of the moisture and grind. The original recipe also recommends the use of bitter almond oil as an option but I used mamra badam instead which is the best variety of bitter almonds.  You can use ready to use blanched/unblanched almond flour.

Preheat oven to 190 deg. Celsius. Line baking trays with butter paper.

Mix butter, salt, vanilla and sugar together with a blender till very creamy. Add coconut cream and beat till well mixed. Add almond flour and mix.

Mix the cornstarch and maida together well. Add this little by little to the butter mixture until the dough gets firm/thick enough to press out. I filled the batter into an icing bag and pressed out 2 inch long ‘trees’ with an icing nozzle. Traditionally pipes, ‘s’ or ‘o’ shapes are pressed out. After a few batches I just dropped teaspoonfuls and spread it with the back of a spoon.

The original recipe instructs baking at 190 deg. Cel. I baked the first batch at 190 deg. Cel. and then I reduced the temperature to 150 deg. Cel. and baked for 8-10 minutes from the second batch onwards. Adjust the temperature as per your oven.

Let cool completely before removing from the tray as these are fragile and crisp.

Drizzle melted chocolate over the cookies and store in an airtight jar.

Notes/Tips:

Keep an eye on the cookies as they are not to brown round the edges. If they brown too much reduce temperature like I did.

Cool for about 5-10 minutes as these crack very easily when hot.

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