German Springerle Christmas Cookies

German Springerle Christmas Cookies

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A few years ago I made these hard, licorice-flavored cookies for the first time and had such fun learning about the history of them. There is a great deal of history and baking knowledge when it comes to German Springerle Christmas Cookies. Beautiful Molds that Teach Children Lessons. Hard Cracker Tops. And Feet on the Bottom. 

Thanks to the 24 hour drying process, the bottom portion of the cookie rises or “springs” when they are baked, which creates the “little feet” that the cookies are known for. 

It seems that people either love Springerle cookies or not. Our house is divided. But mostly it’s because of the “licorice” or anise flavoring of the cookie. If that is the case for you, simply substitute the anise oil for a favorite extract, such as lemon, orange, almond, or even Fiori di Sicilia, which you may purchase from King Arthur Baking Co. 

Springerle Molds - House on the Hill

When it comes to Springerle molds, I have purchased them on sale at King Arthur Baking Co, and also at Fancy Flours, which both carry “House on the Hill” Springerle molds. You may view the many molds available HERE.

 

Giving German Springerle Christmas Cookies as Gifts

It is said that in the past, home bakers would make these cookies after Thanksgiving to give as gifts at Christmas, insisting that the cookies are stored in tin containers for at least 2 weeks (1 month was preferred) before allowing anyone to eat them. You will find that the licorice flavor mellows with time as does the hardening “cracker” tops.

 

Ingredients to Make Springerle Cookies

  • large eggs
  • powdered sugar
  • butter
  • baking powder
  • water
  • anise oil (or a favorite extract)
  • orange zest
  • sifted cake flour

 

Instructions for Making This Recipe

Gather all your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored, about 15 minutes.

On a low speed, slowly beat in powdered sugar, then the softened butter.

In a small bowl, whisk together baking powder and water. Add to butter mixture along with anise oil and orange rind.

Gradually beat in enough sifted cake flour to make a stiff dough. (You may reserve 1/2 cup of flour to use while kneading.) Turn onto floured surface and knead to make a good print without sticking.

Roll dough 3/8″ – 1/2″ thick (deeper molds require a thicker dough). Brush powdered sugar on the mold image, then press mold onto dough, working from center outward.

Preparing Springerle Cookies for Baking

Using a biscuit cutter, cookie cutter, or pastry wheel, trim cookie. Then with an offset spatula, carefully transfer cookies to an UNLINED baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper.

Do not use a silicone baking mat for this cookie as it may mess with the “traditional foot” that you want to achieve during baking. 

Repeat for each cookie.

If you press multiple cookies at one time, you may distort the images, so it is best to do each one-at-a-time, and remember to clean any particles left on molds and again brush with powdered sugar each time.

Allow cookies to dry on the baking sheet uncovered for 24 hours before baking.

Drying preserves the images during baking and also helps with the “spring” you want to achieve during baking.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 225-300 degrees. You may want to test your oven temperature on one cookie. The smaller the cookies, the lower the temperature. Cookies may “bubble” while baking. Check once or twice during the baking process and simply press them down. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until barely golden on the bottom. The tops of the cookie should be white.

Allow to cool on wire racks and then store in tin containers. They will keep for months this way and will improve with age. This recipe will make 12-24 cookies, depending on the size of molds.

See more Cookie Recipes Here. Browse Holiday Baking Ideas Here. 

Recipe for German Springerle Christmas Cookies

German Springerle Christmas Cookies

A few years ago I made these hard, licorice-flavored cookies for the first time and had such fun learning about the history of them. Springerle Cookies originate from Germany and it is said that home bakers would make these cookies at Thanksgiving to give them plenty of time to "harden and season" before Christmas gift-giving.
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Course: Cookies
Cuisine: German
Keyword: Anise Oil, Christmas Cookies, Christmas Food Gifts, Holiday Baking, Tea Party
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Drying Time:: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 2 dozen

Equipment

19" Rolling Pin
Pastry Wheel
Offset Spatula
Baking Sheet

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise oil If using extract, you may want to increase this amount
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange rind
  • 3 3/4 cups sifted cake flour

Instructions

  • Gather all your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored, about 15 minutes.
  • Slowly beat in powdered sugar, then the softened butter.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together baking powder and water. Add to butter mixture along with anise oil and orange rind. Gradually beat in enough flour to make a stiff dough. (May reserve 1/2 cup of flour to use while kneading.)
  • Turn onto floured surface and knead to make a good print without sticking.
  • Roll dough 3/8" - 1/2" thick (deeper molds require a thicker dough). Brush powdered sugar on the mold image, then press mold onto dough, working from center outward. Using a cookie cutter or pastry wheel, trim cookie and place on an UNLINED baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper. (Do not use a silicone baking mat for this cookie.) I find that an easy transfer can be made by using an offset spatula. Repeat for each cookie.
    (If you press multiple cookies at one time, you may distort the images, so it is best to do each one-at-a-time, and remember to clean any particles on molds and brush with powdered sugar each time as well.)
  • Allow cookies to dry uncovered for 24 hours before baking. Drying preserves the images during baking.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 225-300 degrees. You may want to test your oven temperature on one cookie. The smaller the cookies, the lower the temperature. Cookies may "bubble" while baking. Check once or twice during the baking process and simply press them down. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until barely golden on the bottom.
  • Allow to cool on wire racks and then store in tin containers. They will keep for months this way and will improve with age. Makes 12-24 cookies, depending on the size of molds.

Notes

*Unless otherwise indicated, all butter used on this recipe site is salted.
**It is said that in the past bakers would make these cookies after Thanksgiving to give as gifts at Christmas, insisting that the cookies are stored in tin containers for at least 2 weeks (1 month was preferred) before allowing anyone to eat them. You will find that the licorice flavor mellows with time as does the hardening "cracker" tops.
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