Categories:Christmas Cookies Dessert Recipes German Rolled Cookies & Cut Out Cookies Tea Cookies
Springerle Cookies have been and still are traditional Christmas cookies in Bavaria and Austria for centuries that date back to at least the 1600s. 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 cookies during the holidays was a common practice very much like we exchange cards today.
This is a family recipe for Springerle Cookies that was shared with me by Ann Pratt of Aloha, Oregon. Ann says that this is the Schachner family recipe.
More favorite Cookie Recipes and Secrets To Making Perfect Cookies. Also learn How To Have A Successful Holiday Cookie Exchange or Cookie Swap.