My big Weed has a milk allergy from little, so our family almost never cooks with milk products. We have become very adapt at modifying recipies to exclude milk. As we recently purchased a Shule Biscuit cookie press, we found a lovely recipe, which we had to substitute “no milk proteins” margarine for butter. Little did we know that not all margarines are the same.
The Shule Biscuit cookie press is an excellent aluminum construction tool, which comes with 20 different dies. You throw in the cookie dough into the centre body, add your favourite die at the bottom, and, like using a caulking gun, press out cookies onto a baking sheet, very prettily and efficiently. The Kusina Ni Manang blog was extremely helpful because, unlike the manufacturer, she provided instructions for the press. Note that this site loads like molasses in winter, but she has excellent info.
Much depends on the consistency of the dough: too stiff and it will not easily press through the die, too sticky and it will press through, but will not adhere to the baking sheet. We used the Wilton’s recipe, from the Kusina Ni Manang site. The cookies come out flavourful and not too sweet.
Wilton’s Classic Spritz Cookies
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon no-color almond extract
Makes: 7-8 dozen cookies.
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
In bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk, vanilla and almond extract; mix well. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat until combined. Do not chill. Fill cookie press with dough and with desired disks, press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet on cooling rack. Remove from sheet; cool completely
Instead of butter we substituted Becel Vegan margarine (no milk products), and instead of milk we used water. The batch came out great, with the cookie press working very well. We coooked at 350F for 16 minutes.
For the next batch we ran out of Becel Vegan margarine, so we used Becel “64% less” margarine, another Becel that contains no milk products, and one that we have been using for a long time. Much to our surprise the cookie dough came out very sticky and would not release from the cookie press. Eschewing the cookie press, we made simple hand pressed cookies that turned out sub-optimal.
What went wrong? The Becel Vegan ingredients include: canola & sunflower oils 74%, water 19%, modified palm & palm kernel oils 6%, etc. The Becel 64% less ingredients are radically different: Water 68%, canola and sunflower oils 24%, gelatin 3.0%, modified palm and palm kernel oils 3%, etc. While both are milk products free, they have radically different ingredients. For cookies, opt for the product with higher canola and sunflower oils at 74%, and not the one with water at 68%.
To test our theory we bought a President’s Choice no name “Celeb” lactose-free margarine that has canola oil 74%, water ?%, modified palm & palm kernel oils 6%, etc. Again the cookies came out very well and the cookie press worked flawlessly. The difference in margarine formulation yields quite different results. The PC Celeb product was also 30% cheaper in price. Bonus.
For decoration we quartered Maraschino cherries, semi-sweet chocolate pieces (no milk), and turbinado sugar (large crystalled brown sugar, slight brown colour). The sugar crystals get sprinkled onto the cookies and slightly pushed in. Both the maraschino cherries and the sugar do not melt nor fall off the cookies once baked. Both Little Weeds had a good time and pumped out really delicious cookies.