A cookie press is a small, hand-held kitchen device that is used to make different shaped cookies. Designed to extrude cookie dough through a metal or plastic disk cutout in different shapes, they are manufactured in both a manual or electric form. The electric appliance can be used as an electric pastry bag allowing you to quickly and easily change out pastry tips to use for buttercreams, icings, or savory items as well.
A cookie press has 3 main components; a cylinder for holding the cookie dough, a plunger or mechanism for pushing the dough out of the tube and through the disk shapes, and cutter at the end of the tube that comes in a variety of shapes and gives the product its final shape.
There are two types of cookie press, a manual press and an electric cookie press, both of them have strengths and weakness to consider before purchasing.
The manual press has been around forever. Many of the original cookie companies used some type of manual press when they got their start. In addition, hand crank type was available for the home baker forever as a time saving tool for centuries. By manual, we mean that it takes good old fashioned "elbow grease" to extrude the cookie dough either by means squeezing handle or turning a crank.
The electric cookie press is a much new invention. These are available in battery powered models or with an electric cord that plugs into a wall socket. While they give the promise of being convenient the jury is still out about their effectiveness with some home bakers swearing by them, while others declare them off limits in their kitchens.
Whatever type you choose, a cookie press is an easy product to use that consists of the main steps:
1) Remove or release the plunger from the cylinder to make room for the cookie dough.
2) Add cookie dough to the cylinder.
3) Insert your chosen cookie disk shape.
4) Press plunger and extrude cookie dough.
Here is a short video that shows how to use a cookie press.
As with any device there are some pluses and minuses to using them, and a cookie press is no different. Here are a few of the pro's and con's both from our experience as well as that of others that shared their experiences after using these machines.
Speed: This is the biggest advantage gained when using a cookie press. You will be able to crank out cookies much faster than scooping, using a pastry bag, or hand forming cookies.
Shapes: There is almost a limitless number of shapes that are possible to design for an extruded cookie. Many of these would be difficult or impossible to create using any other method.
Grip Pressure: The electric models do not require much hand and arm pressure, but instead use the electric motor to do all of the hard work. Not having to use tight constant grip press and letting the cookie press do the work for you is not only convenient, but is very helpful for the elderly or anyone suffering from arthritis or a similar ailment.
Batter: The cookie batter that is used with these machines needs to be very soft. We have found that especially the electric machines with their under-powered electric motors really struggle to extrude any type of "thick" cookie dough. In fact, all of the manufacturers provide a cookie recipe that is usually some form of a Spritz cookie, or German extruded cookie that is made during x-mas.
Inclusions: Another disadvantage is that you can't have inclusions (chocolate chips, candied ginger, nuts) in your cookie dough because they will clog your machine.
Lots of Parts: Especially true for the electric models, there is often an overwhelming number of parts that need to be disassembled, cleaned, and re-assembled.
Noise: Again for the electric press the noise is very annoying. We have not tried every model on the market, but from reading the reviews most of these machines have obnoxiously loud motors.
As you can see it really comes down to what makes the most sense for you and your family when selecting which product to purchase, as they both have their set of strengths and weaknesses.
Most of the familiar small appliance or decorating companies have stepped into the cookie press market; Wearever, Cuisinart, Wolfgang Puck, Wilton, Sunbeam, Nordic Ware, and Pampered Chef to name but a few. At the time of writing this article there were no fewer than forty (40) electric and manual cookie presses available online at Amazon alone.
Manual Cookie Presses
Electric Cookie Presses
Are there any alternatives to purchasing a cookie press if you want to make different cookie designs? Sure. The most obvious place to start is your hands. Forming beautiful, unique cookie shapes using only your hands and imagination is what cookie artisans have done for literally thousands of years. While more complex shapes can take some time to master, you can quickly learn to form cookies that will put a smile on the faces of friends and family next holiday season.
A pastry bag with a few tips is also something that can be mastered in a short period of time. Both pastry bags and a nice selection of decorating tips are relatively inexpensive and will allow you to create a dizzying array of shapes.
If you want volume and money is not object, there are many commercial machines that allow you to put hundreds of pounds of cookie dough into its hopper, push a button, and watch as thousands of cookies come streaming down the line.
There really is a cookie press that is just right for your needs. Whether you are looking for a simple machine that will allow you to spend some time with the kids making cookies or if you are looking for an electric machine to make it easier to put out tray after tray of holiday cookies, the product to do it is available.
Order the cookies you see online, or s always, we can custom design a package that meets your needs...just give us a call or email