Q. What is a cookie press and how is it used?
A. A cookie press is made of a hollow cylinder, fitted at one end with a decorative disk, and a plunger for pressing out the dough at the other. Cookie presses may be made of plastic or metal. And, they are available in several varieties: battery-operated gun, manual gun, and manual press with screw mechanism.
They come with several metal or plastic disks, into which are cut decorative designs. As the dough is pressed through a disk onto a cookie sheet, it is shaped into a cookie. The shape can be changed by changing the disk. The most commonly used disks create Christmas-themed wreaths, bells, trees and stars; but other disks form hearts, people and animals.
Besides disks for shaping cookies, cookie presses usually come with decorating tips. Fitted with one of these tips, a cookie press can be used in place of a pastry bag to decorate cookies, cakes and appetizers. Any frosting or filling with a soft consistency can be used, but make sure any solid ingredients in the filling are finely chopped.
For best results, follow these tips:
- Use only recipes specially developed for cookie presses.
- Follow manufacturer's directions for your cookie press.
- Shape dough into cylinders and press into the barrel as directed in manufacturer's directions.
- If dough has been refrigerated and is too firm, allow it to sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. Otherwise, the cookies will not come out smoothly and may even damage a motorized cookie press.
- Do not grease cookie sheets unless directed in recipe. Pressed cookies need to adhere to the cookie sheet or they will not detach from the cookie press.
For hints to help make the Christmas cookie-baking season less stressful, continue to the next page.