12.22.2010

Recipe Box: Christmas Springerles

Springerle
Springerle Cookies

This year is Kurt and I's third Christmas together and our first as a married couple. I've always loved the holidays, but I think my favorite part is this newish business of creating traditions together. We've been gradually building our own holiday based on our beliefs, and a few traditions borrowed from our families. And then there are traditions we just shamelessly make up. Like how Santa is actually a bad ass wizard. Or if not a wizard, we prefer the Tomten. We'll play "find the merkle" (morel mushroom) in our Christmas tree instead of the German version which involves a pickle. And sometimes we'll search the leafless tree tops for mistletoe, which may end with Kurt stuck up on an incredibly high limb somewhere.

Springerle cookies have quickly become a Christmas mainstay around here, adapted from Kurt's family. His Mom has been making them every year and they are his favorite Christmas cookie. I'd like to fancy myself a cookie expert, although I'd never heard of a springerle until I met Kurt. I was immediately intrigued, but admittedly resentful that this so-called cookie had evaded my baking repertoire. How could I not have known about these? Naturally, I became obsessed. Relief could only be found through mastering the springerle. I even ordered one of those fancy, authentic cookie molds.

Springerles are traditional German cookies that are embossed by pressing a mold into a layer of rolled dough. After the cookies have been molded and cut, they're laid out to dry before baking, to preserve their intricate designs. Traditionally, springerles are made from eggs, flour and powdered sugar, and flavored with anise seeds or oil. They should be light, slightly chewy, slightly sweet. Paired with coffee, they're a dream.

From Wikipedia:
The name springerle means "little jumper" or "little knight". Their origin can be traced back to at least the 14th century in southeastern Germany and surrounding areas.
The stamping technique may be derived from the molds used in some Christian traditions to mark sacramental bread, and the earliest molds featured religious motifs, including scenes from Bible stories and Christian symbols. Later, in the 17th and 18th century, heraldic themes of knights and fashionably dressed ladies became popular. Themes of happiness, love, weddings, and fertility remained popular through the 19th century.

Springerle Cookies
Adapted from House on the Hill

*You will need a cookie mold or rubber stamp to make imprints. Makes about 4-8 dozen, depending on the size of your mold. There are some really excellent molds for sale this website. It was very hard to just choose one!
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tsp pure anise oil
  • 2 lb. box sifted flour
  • zest of one lemon
  • more flour as needed
1. Dissolve baking powder in milk and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs until thick and light colored (10 minutes). Slowly beat in the powdered sugar and softened butter. Add the baking powder and milk, salt, anise oil, and zest.
3. Gradually beat in flour to make stiff dough. Add a bit more flour is dough is sticky.
4. Roll out cookies to 1/4 - 1/8" thick. (Thicker dough for deeper molds.)
5. Imprint with cookie mold (or you could try a rubber stamp). Cut into desired shapes and arrange on parchment lined baking sheets. Allow to 6-8 hours or over night. For more tips on imprinting and drying, I suggest reading this.
6. Bake at 300 degrees for medium to large cookies or 250 degrees for tiny ones. Bake for about 10 minutes or until they are just slightly golden.  7. Store in airtight containers or store extra cookies in freezer, stored in Ziploc bags. These are the type of cookies whose flavor improves over time, so try not to scarf them up right away!

***

Does your family have a traditional cookie they like to make for the holidays? Is anyone else having springerles this week?


4 comments:

  1. I had springerles for the first time ever last night! I'm not a huge fan of anise flavor, but I liked the texture. I love the mold you picked!

    ReplyDelete
  2. springerle molds are so pretty, but sort of intimidating... i'm going to order some and give it a shot next year.

    ReplyDelete
  3. those are SO pretty and the look delicious!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dayna, I found out that the anise flavor is hit and miss for a lot of people. I've heard of people substituting lemon or almond oil for anise oil. You should try it! The texture makes the cookie, I think.

    KnitXcore- Do it! They're pretty easy, I promise. The tricky part is using the mold, but as long as you dust them with flour so they don't stick, you're home free.

    Thanks, Elsie!

    ReplyDelete

Speak your mind.