Black Sesame Spritz Cookies

Spritz cookies are fit for all occasions. Be it for weddings, birthdays or any other day, I love making cookies with my dear cookie press. But in reality, I haven’t touched this cookie press in over three years. And maybe I was just rusty, but initially, making these spritz cookies was as hard as making macarons!

My first attempt of pressing these cookies turned out horribly, with half-pressed shapes on the cookie sheet and some presses where no dough came out. Great, there I was thinking my practice on 1600 of them was all for nothing. But through patience, (you can probably tell by my picture that this story has a happy ending) I now have a trick to share about getting these cookie press cookies to come out just right. Be sure to read the annotated recipe below for the details.

Black Sesame Spritz Cookies
adapted from Williams-Sonoma

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup black sesame paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Directions:
1. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg, vanilla, salt and black sesame paste and continue beating until well mixed. Using a spoon, stir in the (sifted) flour until blended.
3. Pack the cookie dough into a cookie press according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (Meaning spoon in the dough into the tube as best as you can. Not that different from how you may have played with Play-Doh.) Fit with the desired-shaped cookie plate and press the dough out onto ungreased baking sheets or sheets lined with Silpat nonstick liners (or parchment paper), spacing the cookies 1 inch apart. (Here is my trick: Place the cookie press on top of the cookie sheet where you want your next cookie to go. Press down on the trigger kept it held for 5 seconds. Let go of the trigger, and wait for another 5 seconds. Carefully pull the cookie press up and you should see nicely formed cookie dough ready to be baked. Repeat the counting and pressing until you’ve used up all the dough.)
4. Bake until the cookies are light golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool. Decorate with colored sugars or icings as desired. (No need to decorate these small cookies when you’re already spending a lot of time making them!) Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. Makes 40 to 60 cookies.

Cheryl’s Bridal Shower

Blogging philosophical question of the day: if something happened over a year ago, am I still allowed to post it?

I’m not sure what you think, but I say if it’s still relevant, why not? So what Cheryl and Joe were married last September, and so what her bridal shower happened last summer? It was a really great shower (and a really great wedding, which will be another post), and I still want to share it with you. Perhaps some of you are planning your own themed parties, and I welcome you to borrow any ideas you see on this site. :)

As much as Cheryl would have wanted to plan her own shower, her bridesmaids gave her one task only: choosing the theme. She chose the horse race scene from My Fair Lady as a design cue for the bridal shower, which was loosely translated as a “black and white” theme. The bridal party did a great job decorating the space, and I was tasked with baking some black and white items. How did we do? See the rest of the pictures after the jump.

Lots of black and white decor.

Black and white foods included: Peking duck, sushi, cheese, crackers, olives, figs, fruit (we cheated a little), black sesame shortbread cookies, Nutella cupcakes with vanilla frosting, whoopie pies, grass jelly and almond jello, nonpareils, marshmallows and macarons.

Black and white cookie favors with hand-made fabric rosette hairclips!

Black and white presents!

The happy bride was also donned in black and white. It really was a fun shower, and just wait until you see the wedding!