Cookies: Preheat your
oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Butter two baking sheets and place them
in the refrigerator to chill while you make the batter.
In the bowl of your
electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar
until combined. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract (if using) and beat
until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as
needed. Add the flour and salt and beat until you have a well mixed batter.
To Press Cookies: Scrape
some of the batter into your
cookie press #ad that has been fitted with a decorative
plate (follow manufacturer's instructions). Hold the cookie press perpendicular
to your chilled baking sheet, and press out the cookies. (If you find the shape
of the cookies is not clearly defined then the batter is too soft, so
refrigerate the batter for about 15-30 minutes.) Continue to press out
the cookies, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) 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 (1.5 cm) diameter open star tip. Fill the
pastry bag about half full, twist the end of the bag to close, and pipe rosettes or stars by holding the pastry bag perpendicular to
your 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 2 inches (5 cm)
Bake cookies for about
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. In a
covered container, these
cookies will keep at room temperature for about 10 - 14 days or they can be frozen
for several months.
Makes about 36 -
cookies (depending on size).