The cookie dough must be made rolled and stamped 12 to 24 hours before baking.
Springerle should be made on a dry day as high humidity
prevents the cookies from drying properly.
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 tsp anise oil
4 cups confectioners' sugar*
grated zest of 1 lemon
4 cups all purpose flour*
1 tsp. baking powder
Optional: 2 Tbsp. whole anise seed
* First sift, then measure by spooning gently into a measuring cup and
leveling off the top with a knife.
Beat eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed for 10 minutes, until they are very pale and thick. Reduce mixer speed to medium; add anise oil. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating continuously. After all the sugar has been added, beat on high speed for 10 minutes longer. Stir in grated lemon zest.
Sift flour and baking powder together into another bowl. Grad-ually stir into egg mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing with a large wooden spoon until dough is smooth. Transfer dough to a floured pastry board and knead by hand for 5 minutes, until dough is soft and smooth and doesn't stick to your hands. Wrap dough securely in Plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
Lightly butter (or spray with PAM) two large cookie sheets (not the air insulated variety). Optional:Put anise seed into a small plastic bag and crush them lightly with a rolling pin. Sprinkle crushed anise seed evenly over the cookie sheets.
Lightly dust a pastry board with flour or confectioners' sugar. Break off one-fourth of the chilled dough, leaving the remainder tightly wrapped in plastic (at room temperature if you are working quickly, or return to refrigerator if you not). Working quickly, because it dries rapidly, roll out dough with a standard rolling pin to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Dust top of dough lightly with confectioners' sugar, flour, or cornstarch.
Dust the mold to be used with confectioners' sugar and shake off excess. If using flat Springerle boards, press them firmly into the dough, to stamp the designs on the dough. If using a Springerle rolling pin, roll it only once firmly across the sheet of dough. With a fluted pastry cutter, pizza cutter, or sharp knife, cut the imprinted dough into individual cookies, each with a separate design in the middle. (If you plan to use the cookies as ornaments, punch a hole in the top of each with a skewer or matchstick. After baking, put a ribbon or piece of yarn through the hole to hang cookies on the tree.)
Use a spatula to transfer Springerle cookies to the baking sheets, placing cookies 1/2 inch apart Roll, stamp, and cut the remaining dough, re-rolling any scraps, until all the dough has been used. Let unbaked cookies sit in the open air, uncovered, in a warm room (away from children and pets) for 12 to 24 hours to dry thoroughly.
*Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Bake cookies on the middle rack of the oven, one baking sheet at a time, for 12 to 15 minutes. [* A slower oven at 225 degrees will give you cookies with great detail but it will double the baking time.] Watch carefully; don't let them over bake. They should be white on the top and pale golden on the bottom. Immediately remove the cookies from the baking sheets and transfer them to wire racks to cool for at least 1 hour. Brush remaining anise seed (if used) into an airtight container to use for storing Springerle.
When they have cooled completely, put them into the container with half an apple or a slice of bread set on top of the cookies, to make the Springerle soften while their flavor is developing. Cover container tightly. Leave cookies in container for at least 1 week (and up to 4 weeks), changing the apple or bread every few days to prevent mold from growing.
After their flavor has been allowed to ripen, Springerle can be eaten or stored for longer periods in the freezer. Stack them in a plastic freezer container, with a piece of wax paper between each layer of cookies. Serve Springerle with coffee, tea, or a glass of chilled, not-too-dry, Alsatian, Rhine, or Mosel white wine. Makes approximately 60 two-inch-square Springerle cookies. (yield will vary, depending on size of cookie molds used.)
Note: Springerle cookies can be left totally white, or the designs on them can be painted with edible coloring materials.
The above printed copy for the Springerle recipe and instructions
is primarily from an article by Sharon Hudgins, "Edible Art," Pages 130-137, The World and I Magazine, December 2001.