Spritz Cookies

Make sure your butter has warmed to room temperature before making this recipe. It matters a lot!

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 35 cookies, depending on how big you make them


For the Cookies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or cake flour
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small cubes

Optional Garnishes:

  • Colored sugar
  • Sprinkles
  • Pieces of nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, etc)
  • Frosting
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Powdered sugar


1 Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2 Make the cookie dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl, then sprinkle with vanilla extract.

Crack the egg into the center of the bowl and then dot the flour mixture with the pieces of butter. Mix everything together with your clean hands until you get a dough.

Try not to knead it too much, as you will then make tough cookies. You just want everything to come together cohesively.

3 Press dough through a cookie press: You will need a cookie press to make traditional spritz. Put on the die of your choice—I like a star or snowflake pattern—then load the press with the dough. Ratchet out the dough onto an un-greased cookie sheet. This takes practice, so be prepared to mess a bunch up at first.

Just return the not-so-good ones back to the dough ball and run it through again. Some people like larger cookies that require 2-3 cranks, others just one; this makes a dainty cookie. My mum sometimes twisted her wrist a little when making these to get a swirly pattern going on.

4 Bake: Bake the cookies at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. As they bake, get your garnish of choice ready, because you will need to act fast once they come out of the oven.

5 Sprinkle with toppings: As soon as the cookies are done—they will not brown, so don't wait for that to happen—take the cookies out and garnish them. My favorite toppings are colored sugar and pieces of walnut stuck in the center of a star pattern.

6 Cool: Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully move them to a rack. Let them cool completely before putting the cookies away. They freeze well.

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  • Liz

    They taste good, but the dough is very difficult to work with. And who puts 1/2 lb butter?!? You put 1 cup like a normal person!


  • Roberta

    Thanks for the recipe. Just made these. They aren’t as sweet as my moms that I remember as a kid, but the dough worked great and held up well in the press gun.

  • Lynn

    I would love a recipe for a savory spritz cookie, to be used as an appetizer with wine. I found two recipes online and tried the rosemary Parmesan recipe. It didn’t work all that well with the press, but I’m new at this so maybe others would be more successful. It tasted good, but not great. Does anyone have a recipe like this? Thank you.

  • Mitzi

    My daughter and I want to make cookies for putting in gift boxes for the neighbors and we will make cookies the day before and take them around. Is this a good recipe for that? I have never been very good at baking but these look really good and simple. I had planned on making basic sugar cookies and sprinkles as soon as they come out of oven. Thanks for any advice! :-)

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Mitzi, yes, they are good for that, though you will need a cookie press to make them.

  • Anna Marie

    Well it just isn’t Christmas without Spritz cookies! My mom and i made these every year, along with. Russiam Tea Cakes. i had no idea there were so many other pairs of moms n daughters out there doing the same thing. eevey year i make my Spritz and hope they’ll taste as good as Moms.i have been surprised to find so many variations for such a simple recipe! thid year im using your measurements but i will comnine the ingredients the way we did when i was young:cream butter and suger til fluffy,add eggs then vanilla. add flour. Don’t. overwork. we put sprinkles on before baking and most importantly-cinnamon imperials for the wreaths and tree tops! Thank. you for great memories

  • Julie

    I freeze my cookie sheets before I press out the dough. I find that it helps the dough adhere and they form better.

  • Anna

    Spritz cookies are a Christmas season standby in my family. I made these today with a little dye added (one batch red, another batch green)–so quick and easy! Out of necessity (pro tip: check pantry BEFORE starting cooking project), I replaced about half the sugar with xylitol and added a little milk to make up for the moisture–worked perfectly. Next time I’ll add almond extract for a twist.

  • Bella B

    Those are my favourite Christmas cookies they are so soft and tasty!

  • Christine

    Christmas wouldn’t be Cristmas without Spritz cookies. The ones I always make call for almond extract. I think you’ll find the colored sugar or other decorations stick to the cookie better if you put them on befor the cookies go in the oven.

  • Kathy

    My grandma made Spritz cookies, I make them and my granddaughter loves to make them with me. I have my grandma’s old press. You can find similar ones on ebay or a new similar one on Amazon. You have to press the lever down, not pull a trigger. Those can be a problem. We have always separated our dough out in several bowls and added a touch of food dye. Love the cookies — just a nice, simple cookies. And with a press, I could make dozens in a matter of minutes if I had a larger oven!!

  • Eagle Archambeault

    I make these every year for my partner. It’s his favorite cookie from when he was growing up. I find a dash of almond extract as well will really make them *pop*. And then of course food coloring for his trees, they must be green (oh the finger stains I have gotten making these!)

  • Megan

    Hi, these came out wonderfully!! How long can I keep them? Any suggestion on how best to store?

    Mum says they freeze really well. I’ve kept them in a closed plastic container on the kitchen table for 5 days and they still tasted good. ~Hank


  • Vera

    I have my mom’s electric cookie press that she got in the 70s. Spritz cookies are definitely Scandinavian (Danish, Swede, Swiss, Norwegian, German, and Dutch), as is Yule. They are the traditional Christmas cookie. Those without a cookie press might try a pasta extruder. It’s technically the same thing, but with noodle dies instead of cookie dies. Amazon has one for $7.49
    Pasta Pronto.

    They also have a cookie press for $14.72
    Norpro Cookie Press.

    The electric cookie presses start at $19.99.

  • corrine

    umm…wat can i use if i dont have a cookie press? and do u have a recipe for only 12 spritz cookies? thnx, and the pics look great and mouthwatering!

  • Jackie

    I love spritz cookies too! I got a cookie gun for 5 bucks at Tarjay last year after Christmas, but didn’t get the recipe book with it. However, I did find a recipe I like in the King Arthur Flour cookie book. It uses powdered sugar instead of granulated. Not sure what difference that makes, but they’re good. One of my favor aspects of these is that they are so simple and quick, I can have a whole batch whipped up and baked in an hour or so…and because of that, I’ve made these several times throughout the year instead of waiting for Christmastime!

  • Eileen

    First, I have a confession. I love my kitchenaid mixer, so on the first batch of these cookies, I ignored your directions & tried blending with the mixer instead. It was a frustrating failure! The dough tasted good, but it wouldn’t stick to the cookie sheet & even after I found one design that worked, the cookies themselves came out hard as a rock. (One fell on the floor when I was moving it to the cooling rack & it didn’t break — not a good sign.) So with a sigh, I washed everything clean & made another batch, following your directions exactly. What a difference. The cookie press was easy to use with your dough — all of the designs worked, even the little dog! The cookies themselves came out delicious & light as a feather. On top of that, it was actually fun to mix the dough by hand; I felt like a kid again! Thanks for a great recipe. You turned frustration into fun.

  • jess

    if you mix the yolks of an egg with food coloring it is great for paint and fun for kids.

  • Laine

    We make spritz cookies from a recipe that’s been in the family about 100 years. We decorate them before baking, mist with a little water or brush lightly with egg to help the sugar, jimmies, pecan half, or candied cherry to stick:
    &nbsp 1 cup butter
    &nbsp 1 cup sugar
    &nbsp 2 eggs
    &nbsp 1 teaspoon vanilla
    &nbsp 1 teaspoon baking powder
    &nbsp 2-1/2 cups flour
    My aunt called them “Butter Cookies” and her instructions regarding cookie press were, “If you do not have a cookie press, divide the dough and roll it in 2 or 3 strips in wax paper and put it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, slice it very thin and then bake.”

  • osujedimom

    I have just taken my cookies out of the oven. They have spread more than other recipe (Martha Stewart) Itried, butt hey seem lighter (if that is possible with 1/2 pound of butter!). I loved mixing by hand! Thank you for giving me an alternative to Ms Martha!

  • Candice Hope

    We make these cookies every year for Christmas and I just did my cookie day on Saturday. Our recipe is from an ancient copy of a Betty Crocker cookbook. I have an OLD press that is aluminum and copper with a twist knob to push the dough out. It does take a bit of practice but I’ve figured out a few tips. One is that some of the shapes work much better than others. The more dough that touches the cookie sheet the better. Also, you can’t really re-use a cookie sheet once it has baked a batch of ANY cookie on it, it must be washed and dried, the butter left on the sheet will make it impossible for dough to stick.

    I’ve never used the new caulk style presses, maybe they are easier to use, but I fear that the plastic may not hold up to the stiff cookie dough.
    Happy holidays!

  • Sherrie

    Hank and Elise,
    Thanks for the reminder that I needed to pull out the old metal cookie press that had been my mom’s. I, too, have pleasant childhood memories of special times making spritz cookies. The original recipe with the press is identical to yours except the original calls for 2/3 C. sugar.
    My adult daughter is coming home for Christmas and I asked her what she’d like me to bake. She said spritz cookies, so I did!! Great recipe!

  • J

    I woke up at 5:30 this morning filled with a desire to bring christmas and our home after a very busy month of school and finals. Upon doing so I found your website, and just fell in love with the thought of this recipe and made it. I did not have a cookie press.

    My wife finally came downstairs and saw me with a handful of dough. She asked what are you doing? I said none of your business to have a cookie press? She laughed. And said, oh you are making spritz cookies. I said, how do you know? Jerk. As we both laughed… she said well there’s only one kind of cookie that uses a cookie press.

    Unfortunately we did not have one, but fortunately I’m creative. I grabbed a cake decorating set tool, that you would normally use for frosting. It is made of hard plastic and looks similar to the cookie press. I packed it full and proceeded to push out the dough. The head I chose popped off. Failure. I do not miss a beat. I simply put the head on the side and continued to push out the dough. Within seconds I was getting interestingly shaped, but together, little rounded shaped spritz. My wife said they look like shortbread cookies. They might look like that however they don’t taste like that.

    So if you are reading this and do not have a cookie press but does have a cake decorating set, And it is too early in the morning to head to the store for you’re just too lazy… Do it I did and grab a cake decorating set.

    Thank you for this recipe it was a lot of fun to make. I think I will include this is part of our christmas for years to come.

    Oh and kneading the dough by hand, that was fun. I felt like an old time baker, someone from the old european countries.

  • Leann

    I started making spritz cookies when I was a teen and received an electric cookie press ‘gun’ for a christmas gift. I still have it 30 yrs later, though I did buy a spare at a garage sale about 15 yrs ago and I think that motor works better. Now my kids like to make (and eat) these. oh, and the cookie gun works for many other things too – such as piping mashed potatos, filling canoles, and even making pretty deviled eggs. Not sure if they still make them though.

  • Ashley Brent

    I found the recipe from years and years and years ago!! It’s a keeper and I hope you try it :)

    Spritz Cookie Recipe
    1 Large Egg Yolk
    1 Tablespoon heavy cream
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2/3 cup sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup sweet cream butter (unsalted) softened to room temperature
    2 cups flour

    *Mix yolk, cream and vanilla together in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl or mixer beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes on a high speed. Add in yolk/vanilla/cream mixture and beat another 30 seconds until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl with a spatula and gradually add in flour/salt at a medium speed. Fill your cookie press and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown in a preheated 350 degree oven. I always “sugared” my cookies before baking them, but the recipe calls for them to be taken off the cookie tray and while still warm add the decorative sugar and/or toppings. ENJOY and Happy Holidays :)

  • Susan in Seattle

    Spritz is my personal fav from childhood too. I’m also in favor of adding almond extract for an extra holiday memory maker. Have you tried making them in a convection oven?

    Never used a convection oven for these, but I bet the cooking time would drop a few minutes. ~Hank

  • Mom in a Box

    We make these every Christmas. It’s a holiday tradition in my family, dating back to my great-grandmother, a first-generation American whose parents were Swedish immigrants. Our recipe is almost identical to yours. This is my all-time favorite cookie!

  • Jane

    I love spritz cookies, but have recently developed a dairy allergy. Can a use a butter substitute?

    It looks, from the preceding comments, like you can use vegetable shortening. I am not a fan of the stuff, so I’d substitute fresh rendered lard, which actually has less saturated fat than butter. Look for it in the refrigerated section of Latin or Eastern European markets. ~Hank

  • Kristin

    I made these with my mom as a girl, cookie press and all.

    At my bakery, we make these with almond extract, and garnish with thinly sliced almonds. The thing is, we do use a pastry bag with a star tip! I’d have to look at the recipe again to see if there is less flour to make it less stiff, or what. You do have to be careful on the sizing, otherwise when using the pastry bag they can spread too far and get too thin. Still tasty enough, but less pretty. Cookie presses are still nice because of the fun, unique shapes.

  • Mary Kay

    I have been making these cookies since I was a child back in the 60’s. I have already made several batches this month and will have to make more as they do not last long around here!!! I do not use vanilla, I use almond extract. My recipe is very close to yours Hank…try using the almond, trust me you will love it! Also someone asked if they could sub margarine…I tried it once and it changed the whole flavor and texture of the cookie. Stick with butter, its well worth the expense!

  • John

    I grew up on these every christmas in the 70’s and 80’s. We used to do several types. Green colored, shaped like little christmas trees with red hots as ornaments, and sprinkles, and sometimes frosting.

    Beige colored ones, dip the ends in chocolate, then roll them in chocolate sprinkles, leaving the middle bare.

    Used to make circle ones, also green colored, looked like wreaths. Also had cinnamon red hots as little red balls.

    These are my all time favorite christmas cookies. Nothing brings back the memories of my childhood as quickly as the smell and taste of spritz cookies!

  • Christina

    I grew up with these cookies. They were our Christmas tradition. We used almond extract as well. We made spritz Christmas trees and put a chocolate chip at the bottom for the trunk. We put a light icing on them which just consisted of powdered sugar and lemon. I have not made any this year. I bought a great Wilton spritz which I can’t find. I guess I’ll have to break out the old one. Thanks for bringing up great memories!

  • Syd

    I love the Spritz cookies! My mom made them every year when I was growing up. These days, my children, all teenagers, tell her that as long as she makes Spritz and fudge they don’t want other gifts. And they mean it.
    And as I recall, she always used either Crisco or margarine. I don’t remember her ever baking with butter. Yes, these days wrong on so many levels.

  • Zazzy

    We called them Norwegian Crowns and used almond extract instead of vanilla. They remain one of my very favorite holiday cookies.

  • Queenscook

    This is almost exactly my mom’s recipe, except that when she made this recipe, she did it with 9 cups of flour, not the 2 you use. She made hundreds and hundreds of cookies whenever she would make them, and she made them for every holiday imaginable! She’d vary the colors and shapes: hearts for Valentine’s Day, clovers for St. Patrick’s Day, etc. She’d package up dozens of packages for everyone from our teachers to the mailman. Now you have me thinking about making some myself. They are among my favorite cookies!

  • Kerry

    My mom always made these too, with the old Mirro press. I find that the new, $10 Wilton presses from Wal-Mart work just fine.

    One hint to help the get your cookies onto the cookie sheet–put the cookie sheet in the freezer for several minutes (or outside if you’ve got the right weather) and your cookies will stick much better.

    I also put the colored sugar, sprinkles, etc. on the cookies before baking.

  • Kristy

    Spritz cookies are a tradition at our house as well, my mom’s recipe uses 1/2 crisco and also some lemon extract for a different twist. We also color the dough different colors with food coloring and have fun blending in the cookie press.

  • April

    touch of anise

  • Jim

    My mom has made these since I was a child. Can’t remember a year when I didn’t eat 15 or more of these in the span of a day or two. My mom still uses the copper screw type press and is masterful at these. My all time favorite!!

  • Eileen

    I love spritz cookies, I use my grandmother’s old aluminum cookie press. I’ve still got the old, pink box it came in. Instant nostalgia on my part. I usually make mine pink and add peppermint extract and vanilla.

  • Lelly

    In my home, we use almond extract with just a touch of vanilla. I use butter like your recipe, but I was over at my mother’s the other day and I saw her using Crisco! The result was scrumptious nevertheless. These cookies almost never last a whole day so I usually end up making a double batch.

  • Kismet

    I think this is basically what my dad makes every Christmas! Only in our family, he don’t use a cookie press, and he refer to them as “Breast Cookies” because each cookie gets a little red candied cherry center! They are definitely a Christmas staple and favorite!

  • Liane

    My mom and I made these every year! Now I have my own cookie press and I continue the tradition. We put orange zest in our recipe and it ups the ante even more.

    I think my mom uses shortening in her recipe but I haven’t made them with her for awhile so my memory is failing. They were always delicious, regardless of what we used. Last year I made them with butter and they turned out well. We’ll be together for Christmas and we’ll make these again. I’ll pay more attention this time.

    Thanks for the recipe – now I’ll know where to find one so I don’t have to dig through all the websites if I lose my recipe!

  • Keli

    I’ve been eating spritz all my life. I believe it’s a classic Norwegian treat, but I may be wrong. Anyway, we make some with vanilla, but others with almond (which I love, love, love). It’s not Christmas without spritz, even if the cookie press does make my mother-in-law curse.

    Thanks Elise and Hank!

  • Wietje

    This looks like something I should try. Can I substitute margarine for butter?

    I have no idea. I have never cooked with margarine. Sorry! ~Hank

  • Susan

    The recipe you post is pretty much the one I use. I’ve used powdered sugar instead of white on occasion, and also add almond extract along with the vanilla. The powdered sugar makes the dough a little more tender and sticky, it has to set up on the counter, covered, for about an hour so the flour and the cornstarch in the powdered sugar can absorb some of the moisture in the dough. If you chill it overnight, you have to let it come to room temp before you can “Spritz” it out of the gun and bake it.

  • laura @ alittlebarefoot

    i used to have a cookie press, but i never used it so i gave it away. this makes me wish i had it again! i assume these can just be formed into balls and baked, too?

    I suppose, but I think a better route would be to roll them out to the thickness you want – maybe 1/4 inch – and use a cookie cutter to make the cookies. ~Hank

  • Catherine Keen

    What a coincidence! I just made a batch of spritz cookies last night decorated with red and green sprinkles. Only I used the Christmas tree design from my cookie press. My Swedish mother used to make these and I thought they were a Scandinavian recipe, but apparently they are worldwide. My recipe also calls for almond extract in addition to vanilla. I love the almond flavor. Sometimes I even color the dough green for the trees or used red, which turns out more pink, for the other shapes. But in any shape or color this is one of our favorite Christmas cookies. Thanks for the memory.

  • Jen

    My mom made spritz cookies too! When I was home over the summer I begged my mom for her cookie press so I could continue the spritz cookie-making tradition with my son. We made one batch but I made the mistake of waiting for them to brown. Bad idea! I’ll have to try your recipe and see how we do…

  • Trisha

    It does take practice. The first time I made them was so unsuccessful I figured it just wasn’t meant to be. Then I discovered that some of my cut out shapes work better than others. Also, resting the press right on the cookies sheet and then ratcheting the dough out seems to increase the success at least with the machine I have. My favorite might be two chocolate spritz cookies with a mint butter cream in the middle.

  • Tina

    Spritz cookies have always been a favorite of mine! I have several different recipes, one that uses cream cheese, a chocolate recipe, one that includes ground nuts and a few others. In the basic vanilla recipe, I’ve often added spices or alternate extracts for variety,or swapped brown sugar for the white. This is really one of the most versatile cookie recipes you can find. In fact, I’ll be making a couple varieties later today!

  • Ashley Brent

    Oh this does bring back memories!! I’ve been making and eating Spritz cookies every year at Christmas time for as long as I can remember. The smell of them in the oven is enough to transport me back to my Granna’s kitchen in Palm Beach.. yes we went for the warmer weather every Christmas! I remember using double acting baking powder and baking them with the colored sugar already on. If I can find the original recipe which came from a very old cookbook I will post it :) Oh and you can actually make the cookies without a cookie gun.. I did in college when I was desperate. Simply roll out the dough and use a glass to cut out circles. Not exactly perfect but still delicious..

  • Becky

    I LOVE Spritz cookies and my cookie press! I remember them from my childhood and my sister gave me a press a few years ago. Once you figure out how to operate the press, which didn’t take too long, you can bang out 5-6 dozen beautifuly shaped cookies in minutes. Christmas cookies to me are usually shaped in some way. This is so much quicker than rolled cookies and you get a beautiful result! I have the Wilton cookie press. I will need to try this recipe with the press!

  • Ann K.

    My mother made these too! And they were always our favorite Christmas cookie. She used a metal meat grinder that attached to the table and had various dies that could be used to get the right shape. But it was tricky. The easiest was a die that made a fat, textured cylinder shape, which we then shaped into candy canes or wreaths with a candied cherry at the join. Thanks for the memories! I’m thinking I should go and get a cookie press…

  • grumblefish

    Spritz cookies were always a part of Christmas for me growing up. My mom had my grandmother’s old copper cookie press and the recipe book that went with it. I now have a fancy “gun” type cookie press that is much easier to use than the old screw presses, but still only use the old recipes.

    My mom lives 2000 miles away, so I’m not baking much with her these days. Instead, each year before Christmas, a few girlfriends and I get together to drink wine and bake the kinds of cookies we used to bake with our moms as little girls. We all have cookie presses, and the spritz cookies are the main event- in all flavors and colors and shapes.

    By the way- the Christmas Trees with the almond extract are my favorite!

  • Chris

    My Dad makes these every year around Christmas! He uses this old metal spritz press that was originally his Grandma’s. He makes Christmas Trees, Wreaths, and Stars that are white, pink, green, or blue and decorated with sprinkles. He usually just makes the butter/vanilla flavored spritz, but my favorite is when he adds almond extract and under-bakes them a tiny bit so they’re soft! Maybe I’ll be lucky some day and inherit the spritz press.

  • Caroline

    Your spritz cookies are so lovely! I am actually posting two spritz cookie recipes in the next few days, but spritz cookies equal christmas for me. My family likes having some almond extract along with the vanilla, but the end result is just as delicious! We would also get to pick what color we wanted our cookies as kids so we never ended up with simple colors. Pinks, blues, oranges and purples were our standard. Love the recipe!

  • Mary Hamel

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Spritz cookies! I have probably had more problems with the cookie press than not, but I still like to try. I do get lucky and have a fair share of “good ones” come out. I have had problems in general in the last couple of days making cookies — they seem to come out flat. Do you weigh your flour? I don’t — but I surely will resort to that if you think you should. All of my ingredients are fresh. I am also experimenting with the convection part of my oven…. My goal for this weekend is to make Spritz cookies, maybe not in the convection oven though. Thanks for the recipe!

    I know it’s blasphemy, but no, I don’t weigh my flour. I am something of an accidental baker. ~Hank

  • Reeve

    YES! My mom and I used to make them every year as teacher gifts for Christmas. I’ve never heard anyone else call them spritz except for us! Loved hearing your story about them. I Soooo want to make them this year but I can’t have butter and I don’t think shortening will exchange right. Do you?

    Don’t know about shortening, as I never use it. But I do know that lard — no, really! — will exchange well with butter. If you do go with lard, which is lower in saturated fat than butter is, by the way, be sure to get fresh rendered lard in the refrigerator. ~Hank

  • Mary

    My grandma and I used to make these together. I have no idea how her recipe was different from this though. Have to remember to ask her
    For all who do not have a cookie press, see if you can’t find a meat grinder in your/your parents basement/attic. That how my grandma and I used to make them. Her meat grinder had a few small die’s that were perfect for spritz cookies. We usually made them “S” shaped, for whatever reason.
    And they are great dipped into chocolate.

    • Laura @ Raise Your Garden

      These remind me of my grandma too, the only difference is that we always add anise instead of vanilla. Sometimes a little of both! You just brought back lots of fond memories here of baking with Grandma when I was just a little tyke. Thanks.

  • Ophelia

    Oh my goodness, these, along with the Russian Tea Cakes, were the classics at my mother’s home. You are right that the cookie press definitely takes practice. I remember MANY frustrated moments with the darn thing – she’d had it since the ’70s and I finally got her a new one a few years ago.

    My advice is to not chill the dough before putting it in the press. You don’t call for it here, but for some reason my mom and I had it in our heads for YEARS that we needed to chill it. Well, as it turns out chilled dough won’t stick to the sheet!