"So easy, the kids can do it!"
I used to have an all-metal Swedish-made cookie press that made beautiful cookies, but had a trigger-style mechanism that required a fair bit of hand strength. As I have arthritis, I was looking for an easier solution to holiday cookies. Enter the OXO Good Grips Cookie Press. Like OXO's other products, these are designed to be user-friendly for those with arthritis by featuring easy-to-use mechanisms and nonslip grips. You change out the included disks by twisting off the bottom of the barrel, dropping the new disk in, and reattaching. Once you've filled the barrel with (room-temperature) dough, you simply press down on the handle once, lift, and repeat. There are twelve designs included; I tried six of them with good results (teddy bear, wreath, daisy, sunflower, fleur-de-lis, shell). Some of the designs like the bear and butterfly have a lot of small, breakable parts; to remove these from the cookie sheets, I found it easiest to press gently on the widest part rather than try and lift them with a spatula. They came loose easily that way without breaking.
The clearly-illustrated booklet also features three starter recipes: cream cheese spritz dough, butter dough (with a lemon poppyseed variation), and chocolate shortbread. I tried the chocolate shortbread and lemon poppyseed, and would make them both again (see photos above). I also want to try making cheese straws and savory recipes with this. As long as it's a soft dough (the book even mentions that refrigerated doughs are not recommended), I'm guessing it will work with this press.
A few tips that may help:
*Make sure that you press the dough firmly into the barrel as you fill it to avoid air pockets.
*Use a cool, ungreased cookie sheet. If rotating out sheets, make sure it is cool before adding new cookies.
*You can switch the disks midway through a batch of dough if so desired; simply unscrew the bottom of the barrel, slide the disk off the barrel (instead of pulling it up so dough is attached), replace with new disk, and run a little dough through until it comes out evenly. I got four designs from a half-batch of dough this way.
*Because the cookies don't spread / puff up much during baking, you can put them close together to maximize space.
I loved the idea of the vented storage case with slots so the disks stay upright, but the thin plastic hinges feel like they might break sooner rather than later. I also wish that an optional larger disk storage case was available, as OXO currently sells two additional disk sets for spring and fall, and these sets do not come with storage cases of their own. The press itself is very sturdy, with a nonslip bottom and a nonslip handle / plunger.
Overall, the OXO Good Grips Cookie Press is an item that I plan on using frequently year-round. It's so easy to use that kids can help out as well