1950s Spritz Cookies

spritzcardFor quite a few years, I’ve created personal memory-type Christmas cards for close family and friends.  In 1995, I sketched and scanned this Spritz cookie scene.  Since I didn’t have a printer with colored ink at the time, I hand water-colored each card.  This was the inside message:

In December of 1953, I took the trolley bus downtown and bought a beautiful copper and aluminum cookie press.  I could hardly wait until the next morning to try it out and kept getting up in the middle of the night to read the little recipe pamphlet that described all of the different shapes possible with this marvel.  I’ve baked hundreds of cookies of all kinds since that December, but every year I get out the old cookie press and look again with wonder at the dainty Christmas tree and wreath cookies, sparkling with green and red sugar.

Have a Christmas full of wonder.

Once again last week, I pulled out the press and the plates for the tree and wreath, making Spritz cookies from the 1950s for St. Nicholas on December 6.

fullpressHere is the recipe:


  • Servings: Approx. 60 cookies
  • Print
  • 1 cup margarine (I like Imperial)*
  • 1 large egg (should measure 1/4 cup when broken)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose fl0ur
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

*Back when I first started making these cookies, I couldn’t afford butter but in later, more affluent times, I’ve found that I prefer the consistency of the Spritz made with margarine.  Certainly, butter can be used if you prefer.

Cream margarine, egg, vanilla and sugar until smooth.  Add flour and salt.  Mix until blended.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Put one of the plates and half of the dough in the cookie press.  Press cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

pressSprinkle with colored sugar and bake for 10-12 minutes until light brown.  Remove to rack to cool.


Repeat with other half of dough, changing to the star plate which I use to make long strips which can be cut and formed into wreaths.  On these cookies, I have traditionally added bits of red and green candied cherries.

I’ll make another batch of these cookies for Christmas and this year, I’ve been asked to make enough of the wreath cookies  to serve  14 of my granddaughter’s pre-school classmates at their Christmas party.   Since my granddaughter likes them so much, I hope her friends will, too.

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Lillian Applegate Westfelt was a mother of 4, grandmother of 6, and great-grandmother of 3. She was an 86-year-old widow living in a nice little bungalow with her oldest daughter and a beagle-dachsund named Addie. She passed away in November, 2018.

17 thoughts on “1950s Spritz Cookies”

  1. I LOVE spritz cookies. I picked up a cookie press from the thrift shop..it is a Pyrex and made of plastic. I am so disappointed..it has a crack I hadn’t seen. I do, however, have one of these 50s presses somewhere out in my shop,so after seeing those delicious cookies you posted, I’ll have to get out there in the cold and have a look see 🙂

    Everybody needs a mother and grandma like you!

  2. I just started making these cookies two years ago and I love them. I got a Wilton press and it works great. Love your blog and I have been reading all of your old posts.

  3. I’m very happy to find this 1950s spritz cookie recipe! Hoping I can duplicate my mom’s from my kidhood. Thanks for posting it; your site is great!

    1. Thank you for commenting – I hope this is the recipe you’re looking for, although it seems we can never duplicate our mothers’ recipes. Lillian

  4. I’m pretty sure it’s the right recipe or close enough since it’s from the ’50s :^) I ended up picking up a cookie press at Big Lots since I really couldn’t afford to get a vintage one right now with all the other Christmas expenses. (I did lay claim to my mother’s though, if she ever runs across it.) Now if I can find some silver dragees that don’t cost an arm and a leg I should be in pretty good shape :^) Thanks again! (I think the real secret ingredient to our mothers’ recipes is LOVE and from your blog, I can tell it’s not in short supply at your house!)

    1. I was just thinking while I made some of these cookies for St. Nick that I never see the silver dragees in grocery stores any more. I always used them on the cookies when the kids were little and I know I didn’t pay much for them.

      Hope you (and your mother) have a wonderful holiday season. Lillian

  5. Thanks for the great recipe! I was looking for a margarine based spritz cookie to make for Christmas Eve dinner on January 6th. We are Orthodox and have a no-dairy/no meat restriction for the entire meal and these will be the perfect sweet treat to finish off the meal with a cup of coffee (or milk for the kids)!

    1. Ha…I just realized I said the kids could have it with milk! I guess they’ll have the cookies with juice! (They can have them with milk the next morning!) 🙂

  6. I have been collecting spritz cookie makers, I do not have a lot, I think 5 boxes..if I have the money when I find one I buy it…
    I have not made them yet.

    When you press down to make the cookie dough come out, how do does it work exatly, hmm…

    Does the dough just stop when you stop pressing down and you just lift the canister thing up?
    I am going to have to just be brave and try it, I love these kind of cookies!

    ps I am glad I found your web site….on the doilies…I am going to put the ones mom made into a shallow shadow picture frame and hang it in my kitchen..

    1. That’s wonderful that you collect the spritz cookie makers. Normally, I don’t have any problem with this dough being the right consistency to press the cookies. Being sure that your egg measures 1/4 cup helps. If the dough seems a little soft, refrigerating it for awhile also helps. When you place the maker on the cookie sheet and just start to press, the dough should stick to the sheet. Then, it’s just a matter of pressing quickly and lifting so the cookies don’t get too thick. After one batch of cookies, I’m sure you’ll have the technique down pat.

      Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. Lillian

  7. Love this spritz article, Lillian. I am kicking myself–I bought a new cookie press and forgot to even get it out. AND maybe you can tell me how to get around WordPress’ change in inserting photographs to an article. They changed the format and I’m lost. I had photos to include with the New Year’s memories but couldnt get it to work. I think I need a secretary. You even have snow coming down on your site!!! wow!

  8. Hello Lillian,
    You stopped by my site, and so I found this one on yours. I am so sorry I didn’t find it earlier! I have an identical cookie press from my husband’s mother and I didn’t know how to use it, so it just sat in the cupboard all Christmas. I’ll just have to try it for valentine’s day!

    1. The press makes such a cute little Valentine cookie. The trick is to have the dough the right consistency – measure the egg so you have 1/4 cup.

      Nice to hear from you. Lillian

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