"There is one extraordinary ingredient that goes into everything I cook and bake. Please, do not forget this ingredient for it is important to all recipes. When I am cooking or baking, I add extra spoonfuls of love to all my recipes. Love added to all things good makes them just a little bit better. Yes, I Randi L. Levin, aka The Muffin Lady, did write my own books and did so without a ghostwriter!"

Sugar Spritz Cookies

These are so good that they do not need a lot of sugar on top, just a tad for decoration, especially when cut into various shapes. I have seen small children light up light up the room, when they would see their favorite rainbow sprinkle cookies or snowmen with a mini chocolate chip nose freshly displayed in my pastry case or on my table filled with the flavors of holiday Love.

The best part about this recipe is that it is wonderfully versatile. You can double it easily, and make a few decorative round cookies, Shaped Cookies or you can make it into Thumbprint Cookies, simply by indenting a finger slightly into the center of each ball and filling this indentation with a small amount of preserves.

Preheat oven to 375° F

1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
For topping use either red or green colored cherries, sugar dots, colored sugars, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, red cinnamon hearts, etc.

1. Mix together all the ingredients on medium high for 2-3 minutes or until dough gathers and is completely blended together.
2. Grease 2 cookie sheets
3. Gather 1.5 tablespoons of dough together, and roll into a ball in the palms of your hands. Place balls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
4. With a fork make a crisscross pattern on top of each cookie. Sprinkle each cookie with choice of topping or place 1/2 of a candied cherry on the center of cookie.
5. Bake 5-7 minutes or until edges are barely brown.

****Variations****

THUMBPRINT COOKIES:

1. Follow the same recipe as above. You also will need:
1/2 cup fruit preserves
2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2. Prepare the dough according, but instead of flattening each cookie, indent the center of each dough ball with a finger and then fill impression with ½ teaspoon or so of preserves.
3. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until barely brown.
4. After removing the cookies from the oven, immediately sprinkle each lightly with powdered sugar.

SHAPED SUGAR COOKIES
Follow the same recipe above, but instead of rolling the dough into balls, use a rolling pin and roll the dough out onto a slightly floured surface to about ¼ inch thick. Using various 2-3 inch cookies cutters, cut out various shapes, decorate them accordingly and bake for 5-7 minutes or until the edges are barely brown.
Gather remaining dough and repeat.

For an extra special treat: spread a small amount of preserves onto one Undecorated shaped cookie, place another similar shaped cookie on top and then decorate accordingly. Bake these for a few extra minutes (7-8) or until edges are barely brown.



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