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Friday, January 17, 2014

Springerle Cookies

I'm still on the German kick with some delightful Springerle cookies. These anise flavored shortbread cookies are a German staple for holidays. They have a wonderful simplicity that actually takes a good bit of time to achieve.

The key to Springerle is the Springerle Rolling Pin or molds. The designs on the cookies are imprinted using these devices. For my cookies I used a fairly inexpensive rolling pin available at Amazon. Obviously, it's not the best out there but it gave me a good idea of what can be done with this traditional baking method. I'll be investing in some more intricate and pricey versions in the future!

The biggest difference between Springerle and regular shortbread is the drying process. The cookies must dry on the pans for 12-24 hours before being baked at a low temperature. This drying and low temp baking preserve the designs in the cookies. I used a pizza cutter to cut apart my cookies, but for a really nice edge you can choose to use a pastry wheel and get a beautiful scalloped edge.

Anise is the preferred traditional flavoring but you can substitute just about anything. I think vanilla or lemon would be wonderful too! Grab yourself a Springerle rolling pin or mold and give these guys a try!

Springerle Cookies

A traditional German cookie with beautiful designs and a light anise flavor.

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. anise extract (or 1/2 tsp. anise oil)
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
Cooking Directions
  1. Line cookie sheets (non insulated) or half sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs on high speed until they are light in color and form a ribbon that slowly disappears when the paddle is lifted. Add sugar, butter, and baking powder; beat at high speed for 15 minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in anise oil or extract. Gradually beat in flour until well mixed.
  3. Lightly flour your springerle rolling pin; set aside.
  4. On a lightly floured board, knead the dough a few time. The dough will be sticky so knead in just enough flour to make it manageable. Using a standard rolling Pin, roll into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Make sure you don't roll the dough too thinly because it will get another roll with the springerle pin.
  5. Using your floured springerle rolling pin, roll slowly and firmly over the previously rolled dough to make a clear design.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut cookies apart and trim off outside edges. Place cookies on your prepared cookie sheets.
  7. Roll out scraps of dough and repeat. Be sure to flour the rolling pin and board before each pressing.
  8. Place cookies on prepared cookie sheets. Let cookies stand, uncovered, 12-24 hours to dry.
  9. Preheat oven to 325°. Place oven rack in middle of oven.
  10. Bake one sheet at a time only. Bake 10 minutes until slightly golden on bottoms, but white on top.
  11. Remove from oven and transfer cookies to wire cooling rack to cool. Let cookies stand 8-12 hours to completely dry before storing.
  12. Store cookies in airtight container with a piece of bread so that they don't become rock hard. In 4-8 days they will be perfect for eating as the flavor develops and permeates the cookies.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
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