Sunday, November 11, 2012

Piped Spritz Cookies

This week in class at George Brown we made Piped Spritz Cookies. According to The Joy of Baking, "Spritz Cookies, also known as Swedish Butter Cookies or Pressed Butter Cookies, are a very popular Christmas cookie, not only in Scandinavia, but also here in North America. They have a lovely vanilla flavor and a rich buttery texture that is tender crisp. As their name implies, "Spritz" is German for "spritzen" meaning "to squirt", which is exactly what is done with this cookie dough." We filled piping bags with the dough and created a variety of shapes that turned into beautiful cookies once baked.

This is a modified version of the recipe we used in class.

Piped Spritz Cookies
Shortening (softened)               320 g
Butter (softened)                      330 g
Salt                                           5 g
Vanilla                                     10 g
Icing Sugar (sifted)                 400 g
Eggs                                        6
Milk                                        150 ml
Pastry Flour (sifted)               500 g
Bread Flour (sifted)               500 g
Raspberry Jam                       150 g
Coating Chocolate*                500 g
*Coating chocolate can be found at Bulk Barn. It contains no cocoa butter and therefor sets quickly.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F
  2. In an electric mixer on low speed, using a paddle attachment, cream together the shortening, butter, salt, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs until incorporated.
  4. Sift the flours together and add to mixture. Mix until blended.
  5. Quickly add the milk and mix until incorporated. Leave the machine running for an extra 30 seconds which will create gluten which will help the batter keep its shape after piping.
  6. Add the batter to a piping bag with a star tip. Pipe the cookies onto parchment paper lined trays. Leave enough space between the cookies (approx. 1 1/2") for expansion and to allow proper heat distribution. Typical shapes for piping include rosettes, shells, hearts, and fingers).
  7. Bake the cookies at 375 F for approx. 10, until they are a light brown colour.
  8. Allow the cool and then decorate with raspberry jam and chocolate.

Chocolate Eclairs & Profiteroles (Cream Puffs)

According to Wikipedia, an éclair is an oblong pastry made with choux paste dough filled with a cream and topped with icing. The dough, which is the same as that used for profiterole, is typically piped into an oblong shape with a pastry bag and baked until it is crisp and hollow inside. Once cool, the pastry is then filled with a vanilla, coffee or chocolate flavoured custard (crème pâtissière), or with whipped cream; and then iced with fondant icing. The icing is sometimes caramel, in which case the dessert may be called a "bâton de Jacob".
The éclair originated during the nineteenth century in France where it was called "pain à la duchesse" or "petite duchesse" until 1850. It is a popular type of cake served all over the world. The word is first attested both in English and in French in the 1860s. The first known English-language recipe for éclairs appears in the Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Mrs. D.A. Lincoln, published in 1884.

The dough for the éclairs and profiteroles is the same.
This is a modified version of the recipe we used in class in Baking Arts and George Brown College.

Choux Paste Dough
Water                  500 ml
Butter                  250 g
Salt                     10 g
Bread Flour         370 g
Eggs                    12

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Place water, butter and salt into a sauce pot and bring to a rolling boil.
  3. Add flour to the mixture and cook until the paste (roux) is formed, about 1 minute. It should come away clear from the side of the pot and leave a white film on the bottom.
  4. Transfer the dough to a bowl of an electric mixer. Mix the dough on medium and count the 20 to allow the mixture to cool.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each egg until the next one is added. Scrape down the side of the bowl occasionally.
  6. Add milk IF NECESSARY to adjust the consistency of the choux paste. The correct consistency may be defined as being stiff enough to form stiff peaks, yet soft enough to start spreading while still luke warm.
  7. Using a piping bag with a plain tip (for the éclairs) and a piping bag with a star tip (for the profiteroles) pipe out the dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. The éclairs should be about 3" in length and the profiteroles should be the size of a toonie.
  8. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes.
Here are some Video Tutorials for piping éclairs and profiteroles.

Chocolate Eclairs & Profiteroles
  1. Once your éclairs and profiteroles have cooled, cut off the top thirds of both and place the to side.
  2. For the éclairs, dip the tops in pourable fondant* and allow to cool.
  3. Using a piping bag with a star tip, pipe a generous amount of whipped cream onto the bottoms of both the éclairs and profiteroles and replace the tops. 
  4. Dust the profiteroles with icing sugar, and serve.
*To top the éclairs we used a pourable fondant and added chocolate fudge. Here is a recipe if you want to make your own pourable fondant.