A basic manual cookie press is a cylinder-shaped container with a small opening on one end and a plunger mechanism on the other end. These tools are available in both manual and electric or battery-powered types. Different shaped discs added to any kind of press create different shapes of pressed cookies.
Spritz cookies are a traditional Scandinavian Christmas butter cookie and are also called pressed cookies. They are made with a cookie press and may be in many different shapes such as trees, snowflakes, swirls or flower-like rounds with ruffled edges. Scottish shortbread cookies are also popular Christmas cookies and shortbread dough may either be rolled out and cut with cookie cutters or put in a press. Danish butter cookies, with their swirl, fluted or pretzel-like shapes, that are often sold in tins during the holidays, are good examples of cookies made with a cookie press.
A cookie press is sometimes called a cookie gun, as some types of cookie presses have a trigger-like feature. Some have interchangeable icing tips included with the cookie making discs so you can use this type of press to frost cookies and cakes as well. Pressed cookies are also known as bagged or piped cookies due to their association with icing decorators. It is possible to use an icing bag with different attachments to make pressed cookies, but a cookie press usually works more efficiently.
Electric or battery-powered cookie presses can be handy for those who bake cookies frequently. These types are easier to use than a manual version, making them helpful for those with conditions such as arthritis. Most electric and battery-powered presses come with recipes since you may not get the same results with a manual cookie press as you would with an electric or battery-operated one.