Since we’re snowed in today, I thought it would be the perfect time to post this German Christmas cookie recipe that my grandmother used to make. I didn’t have a family recipe card to go by so I did some internet research and found that most recipes were similar. Springerle cookies are traditionally served at Christmas time and go wonderfully with hot tea or coffee. They are a dense, cake-like cookie that are slightly sweet with a mild anise (licorice) flavor. I tweaked the recipes I found online to make one that suited me. It turned out so well, I suspect I’ll be making these cookies for years to come.
Ingredients: (makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 6 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon anise extract
- 9 cups sifted all purpose flour (or you could use cake flour)
Dissolve baking powder in milk and let stand for a few minutes.
The mixture will turn frothy like so.
Whisk eggs and baking soda in a mixer on med to high speed until pale and fluffy. This will take about 5 to 10 min.
Next, add confectioner’s sugar and mix until smooth and creamy. Add slowly so that the mixer doesn’t throw it back at you like it did to me!
After well blended, add anise, salt, and butter and mix until just combined. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add flour one cup at a time. Add the first 7 cups and then mix in the last 2 cups by hand.
Once you’ve mixed in all the flour, place dough on a lightly floured surface and smooth out with a rolling pin. Add a bit more flour if dough is too sticky to work with. Use a pizza or pasta cutter and cut dough into small squares. Traditional Springerle cookies are cut with a specific, very ornate cookie mold, but you could use any cookie cutter shape you like or cut into squares like I did.
Use a fork to make a simple design on the face of each cookie. Place cookies a few inches apart on a cookie sheet. They don’t rise much, so it’s ok to squeeze a few extra cookies on each cookie sheet if you need the room.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 min. The cookies will not brown but will actually turn slightly paler in color than the raw dough. Allow to cool before serving.
The back side of each cookie should be soft and pillow-y, like so.
Enjoy with coffee, tea or this.
This recipe makes a lot of cookies, so feel free to share with friends and family this holiday season or any time of year. Springerle cookies will last two to three weeks.
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