Old-fashioned spritz cookies are traditionally made with lots of butter and a hint of almond flavor. We put our allergy friendly spin on these tasty little cookies to make them free of the top 8 allergens but still delicious!
Spritz cookies are one of my family's favorite Christmas cookie traditions but really, we make them year-round because they're so good!
Spritz cookies are traditionally a butter cookie with almond flavor added. When my son was diagnosed with allergies to egg, wheat, peanuts, and dairy, it seemed that we would be skipping our spritz cookie tradition.
Fortunately, I was able to use some allergy friendly substitutes to alter the cookie recipe I grew up enjoying!
To replace the butter, I used Earth Balance Buttery Spread. It is one of the few dairy free margarine options available and it does have a nice flavor. If you don't need to avoid dairy, you can certainly use butter in this recipe.
I have used a variety of gluten free flour blends for this recipe. The main thing with subbing gluten-free flour for wheat flour is to use some whole grain flours and some starches to mimic the texture of wheat flour. You'll also want a flour blend with xanthan gum added as it does help to bind the dough together.
This recipe has been tested with this DIY all-purpose flour blend. When using this blend, I add ½ teaspoon xanthan gum to the flour for this recipe.
I mostly use Bob's Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour blend which already has xanthan gum added.
I always like to try to use allergy friendly substitutes that are the most accessible. I think of grandmas who want to make a treat for their grandchild and might not have access to specialty ingredients or don't want to buy a whole box of egg replacer for one recipe.
For this reason, I also tested this recipe with aquafaba. What the heck is aquafaba? I'm glad you asked!
Aquafaba is the brine from a can of beans. That's right, when you crack open a can of garbanzo beans and dump off the liquid, that's your egg substitute right there! I know it's a little weird but the brine from beans has starch, some protein, and liquid that is similar to an egg so it works well for baked goods.
If you use aquafaba in this recipe, you only need 3 tablespoons. A can of beans usually has about 12 tablespoons (about ¾ cup) so you'll have extra. If you get in the habit of using aquafaba, you can freeze the extra liquid for later. I pour it into an ice cube tray and, when it's frozen, I transfer the cubes to a freezer bag to use in future baking. It's pretty slick!
Aquafaba is usually from garbanzo beans but I have also used great northern and pinto beans and both work fine. You can even use the brine from kidney beans but the color will show up in your finished product.
Aquafaba vs powdered egg replacers
We tested both aquafaba and Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer in these cookies. Here are our observations from testing:
- Both made dough of the correct consistency for pressing through a cookie press.
- The aquafaba cookie baked faster so the cooking time had to be reduced by a minute to get a less crunchy cookie.
- We liked the texture of the Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer better overall.
Overall, it was a close race so I wouldn't hesitate to use aquafaba. Just be sure to take out of the oven about a minute sooner to avoid having a crunchy cookie.
The main thing you'll need for this recipe is a cookie press. You can find them at any big box store or Amazon.
I have used a variety of presses from the cheapest plastic one you can find to an antique metal one that I inherited from my grandma.
Grandma's is very different than what you find in stores now. The top knob is turned clockwise to push out the dough and then turned counter-clockwise to cut the dough from the press. It took me a long time to figure out how to work it but now I love it!
If I didn't have Grandma's cookie press, I would use one that is a cookie press and decorator. Multifunctional kitchen tools are the best!
It's probably just psychological but these cookies seem to taste better with some sugar sprinkles on top. After all, we eat with our eyes!
We like sanding sugar of various colors depending on the season. Because these are traditionally made during the holidays, we have a healthy supply of red and green sugar at our disposal. We've also made butterfly-shaped cookies at Easter and clovers for St. Patrick's Day. These are cookies fit for any season!
Tip: Be sure to add the sugar before baking so the sugar sticks.
You can also add food coloring to the dough before baking. During the holidays, I often divide the dough in half and make half of it green for Christmas trees and half plain for other shapes.
For a "fancy" cookie, try this: Divide the dough in half. Add a food coloring color of your choice to one half and leave the other half white. Add one color of dough to one side of the cookie press then add the other color to the other side. Press the cookies onto the cookie sheet and you will get a "half and half" cookie. My son loves these!
More holiday treats
Allergy Friendly Spritz Cookies
- Cookie press
- ¾ cup "safe" margarine such as Earth Balance
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons egg replacer
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2-¼ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the margarine and sugar together until creamy. In a small bowl, mix the egg replacer and water together. Add the egg replacer mixture, vanilla, and salt to the margarine and sugar mixture and mix until combined well. Add the flour gradually while mixing until fully incorporated.
- If desired, add food coloring to the dough for tinted cookies (we like green for Christmas trees!) Put the dough into cookie press and press onto ungreased baking sheets. Add decorations such as tinted sanding sugar before baking.
- Bake for 5-6 minutes until set but not brown. Remove cookies from baking sheets immediately and transfer to paper towels or a cooling rack.
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