This family recipe was shared with me by Ann Pratt of Aloha, Oregon. Ann says that this
is the Schachner family recipe.
These have been and still are traditional Christmas cookies in Bavaria and
Austria for centuries. Springerle are white, anise-flavored cookies, made from a simple egg-flour-sugar dough. Usually rectangular or circular in shape,
they have a picture or design stamped on the top. The images are imprinted with specially carved
Springerle Rolling Pins or flat molds (Springerle presses or boards). After the cookies are baked, the designs are sometimes enhanced with edible
food colors, tempera, or acrylic paints if the cookies are to be used as decorations.
The name Springerle (SPRING-uhr-lee) comes from an old German dialect and means "little knight" or "jumping
horse." Historians trace these cookies back to the Julfest, a midwinter
celebration of pagan Germanic tribes. Julfest ceremonies included the
sacrificing of animals to the gods, in hope that such offerings would bring
a mild winter and an early spring. Poor people who could not afford to kill
any of their animals gave token sacrifices in the form of animal-shaped
breads and cookies. Vestiges of these pagan practices survive in the baking
of shaped-and-stamped German Christmas cookies such as Lebkuchen,
Spekulatius, Frankfurter Brenten, and Springerle. Scenes from the
Bible were some of the earliest images portrayed on the springerle molds.
and were used to educate those who couldn't read or write. Eventually, other
scenes were carved and the cookies soon reflected images of holidays,
events, and scenes from every day life. The cookies were also used to
celebrate births, weddings, and used as betrothal tokens. Exchanging
springerle during the holidays was a common practice very much like we
exchange cards today.
Cookie Recipes and
Secrets To Making Perfect Cookies. Also learn
How To Have A Successful Holiday Cookie Exchange or Cookie Swap.
Best German Springerle Cookie Recipe:
Yields: makes many
Prep time: 20 min
Bake time: 10 min
2 cups granulated
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon anise oil or 1 teaspoon anise extract
4 cups all-purpose
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or use the Silicone Baking Mats to prevent the cookies from sticking.
Avoid insulated cookie sheets as they will cause the Springerle cookies to brown during baking.
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs on high speed of your electric mixer until light and fluffy. 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.
Lightly flour your springerle rolling pin; set aside.
On a lightly floured board, knead the dough a few time (the dough will be sticky at first, so knead in just enough flour to make it manageable.
Using a standard Rolling Pin, roll into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick (be
carful not to roll the dough too thin).
Using your floured
Springerle Rolling Pin, roll slowly and firmly over the previously rolled dough to make a clear design.
Using a sharp knife, cut cookies apart and trim off outside edges. Place cookies on your prepared cookie sheets.
Roll out scraps of dough and repeat. NOTE: Be sure to flour the rolling pin and board before
each pressing. This will insure the dough will not stick.
Place cookies on your prepared cookie sheets. Let cookies stand, uncovered, overnight to dry. NOTE: Drying preserves the image during baking.
When ready to bake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place oven rack in middle of oven.
Bake one (1) baking sheet at a time only. Bake approximately 10
minutes until slightly golden on bottoms, but white on top. Remove from oven and transfer cookies to wire cooling rack to cool (let cookies stand overnight to completely dry before storing).
Storage: Keep cookies in a tight container for 2 or 3 weeks before using to achieve the best flavor.
Yields: The number of cookies this recipe yields depends on the size and thickness of your Springerle cookies.