Holiday Springerle

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dairy free
Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies

Recipe photo

SPRING-er-lee, perhaps the most traditional of German Christmas cookies, are made from a simple dough of eggs, sugar, and flour, usually flavored with anise or lemon. These very hard cookies are pretty; extremely long lasting; ship very well, and are ideal served with coffee or tea.

In the area around Germany's Black Forest, where springerle originated, these molds sometimes developed into giant 2' to 3' high affairs, featuring costumed revelers and animals. More common (and easier to work with) are cookie-sized molds or rolling pins that feature Christmas scenes, such as fir trees, St. Nicholas, and angels.

Holiday Springerle

star rating (15) rate this recipe »
dairy free
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time: Overnight,
Yield: 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies
Published: 09/20/2010

Ingredients

Tips from our bakers

  • To get the lovely scalloped edges like in the photo, simply use a pastry crimper/cutter to cut your cookies apart. So pretty!

Directions

1) Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line them with parchment.

2) In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, salt, confectioners' sugar and flavor for 5 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is very light and falls in thick ribbons from the beater.

3) Gradually beat in the flour to form a stiff dough.

4) Transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface and knead with your hands for several minutes — it will seem dry at first, but will become smooth as you work with it. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or so.

5) To shape cookies using a springerle pin: Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Divide the dough in half and work with one piece at a time, leaving the other piece covered. Use a regular rolling pin to roll the dough into a 1/4"-thick rectangle, roughly the same size as your springerle pin.

6) Use a pastry brush to brush a very light coating of flour onto the dough. Flour your springerle pin, then give it a couple of sharp raps to knock off excess. Slowly roll the springerle pin over the dough, pressing down hard enough to leave a good impression. Cut the cookies apart on the lines, with a pizza wheel or sharp knife.

7) To shape cookies using a springerle mold: Lightly dust your work surface. Dust the mold with flour, then tap it firmly to remove excess. Divide the dough in half and work with one piece of dough at a time, leaving the other covered. Roll the dough into a 1/4"-thick square or rectangle

8) Press the lightly floured mold firmly into the dough. Remove the mold and cut around the design with a knife. Repeat until all the dough is cut.

9) Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets. If you're using anise seed, sprinkle it on the cookie sheet or the parchment before laying down the cookies, giving them extra flavor. They'll also raise the cookies just a bit, allowing air to circulate around the bottom, drying them thoroughly.

10) Set the unbaked cookies aside to dry at room temperature, uncovered, for 24 hours. Turn them over once during the drying time to allow the bottoms to dry.

11) Preheat the oven to 275°F.

12) Bake the cookies for 25 to 30 minutes, until they're firm but not brown. (If the cookies are a bit puffy, and the design isn't as sharp as you'd like, bake the next batch at 250 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.) Remove them from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

13) Store the cookies in an airtight container. To keep them from becoming rock hard, we suggest placing a piece of soft bread, a slice of apple, or a cookie softener in the container with them.

Yield: 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies.

Reviews

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  • star rating 12/07/2014
  • Blind Guy Cooks from KAF Community
  • Ingredients are correct for the most part, but instructions are not. At least according to the family recipe handed down to me. The family recipe I have has teaspoon of salt. As others have said, the eggs beating a lot longer. My mother mixed all ingredients except the flour together and then beat middle speed of her Kitchen Aid stand mixer for 30 minutes. I made these yesterday using her 40+ year-old Kitchen Aid mixer and her springerle pin. I miss that woman! I researched a few methods of preparation, and there seems to be the common theme of beating the eggs until ribbony and adding sugar. Variations came in when adding the flour- mixers, part in mixers, kneading... it's a hint into what tools people had in their kitchens. Thank you for sharing! Laurie@KAF
  • star rating 10/28/2014
  • Elaine from Conway, AR
  • It is absolutely essential to beat the eggs MUCH longer than recommended. I follow a recipe found at 'A Geezer's Corner' --a blog--which is very detailed and which produces a fabulous cookie. I use a combination of Anise Oil and Lemon Oil (quite a bit more than in the recipe at KAF) and Swans-Down flour, which is very finely milled. House on the Hill is my source for Springerle molds--they are not inexpensive, but I treated myself to one a year. I dust the mold and the dough (chilled over night) with confectioners sugar, not flour. I get excellent results.
  • star rating 02/24/2014
  • flitsnow from KAF Community
  • This is a "challenging" recipe, made with confectioners' sugar which is why I don't give it a higher rating. There is another version, made with regular sugar that is easier to master. And believe me, you have to master this recipe to make it well, but once you do, it will be a standby. Two tips my great-aunt (who brought a similar recipe from Germany in 1900) gave me - beat, beat, beat the eggs and sugar together for a very long time - I have a Kitchen Aid professional mixer and usually beat the eggs for at least 10 - 15 minutes before adding the sugar. And - leave off the last 1/2 cup of flour and save it for the roll-out process. Her cookies were marvelous. She also did not have the salt in hers, used a little baking powder instead and only sprinkled the anise on the cookie sheet. Also, roll the dough a little thicker as when doing the final rollout with the springerle roller, the dough is flattened. Another hint. Use a goodly amount of flour on the springerle roller to help the cookie dough to release. Also sprinkle a fair amount of flour on the surface of the dough - it can always be brushed off after the design is impressed into the dough. The more one uses their springerle rolling pin, the easier it will be to get the cookies to release from the roller.
  • star rating 12/21/2013
  • Donna from Arizona
  • Not enough anise. I doubled it. Definitely beat the eggs at least 20 min. Mine looked like meringue, even with the yolks. I added the flavoring to the eggs for better dispersement. When I added the flour I switched to the dough hook (I have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer) and mixed it in VERY slowly. Worked really well, no tired arms. I read somewhere to let the dough rest for an hour, but I only let mine sit long enough to clean up, about 10 min. Beautiful cookies, wonderful aroma. Now, where can I get one of those sprigerle pins to make the desins in the King Arthur photos?
  • star rating 12/16/2013
  • Pamster from KAF Community
  • AP flour can be hard to mix in but it will eventually come together. I do not ever turn the cookie over during the drying period. The result is a perfect little foot, created during the baking rise. The moist underside of the cookie does not resist rising, but the dry top stays perfect. As a result you have a detailed top cookie layer, crispy firm and dunkable, with a chewy soft inside. A classic! Keep batches in the freezer. They defrost in the time it takes to make a pot of coffee and don't get strange or hard.
  • star rating 12/15/2013
  • Debbie from Moorestown, New Jersey
  • Two important tips - "Beat eggs 5 minutes; add sugar; beat 30 minutes." My mom, with a strong German up-bring, made these cookies every year.as part of her long list of Christmas cookies. Since this cookie is so different than any other cookie, it was eagerly anticipated. It took me years before I fully followed the directions in her hand written cookbook, i.e., I didn't want to beat anything that long! However, it is a key process for the success of this cookie. A stand mixer is best, but I use a Cuisinart and it is great. King Arthur Flour's recipe has salt and also, a bit more sugar than my mom's recipe. Depending on your taste, either addition is fine. Keep in mind though, Springerle cookies are dunking cookies so those ingredients will affect the final flavor. Also, anise is the traditional flavor, but other flavors - lemon, almond, etc., are nice variations. KAF's cookies are beautiful! They have crisp detail designs and wonderful edges, probably achieved using a ravioli cutter. These cookies are wonderful gifts - great tasting and lovely.
  • star rating 10/30/2013
  • Inger from Longview, Tx
  • Something that helps is to beat the eggs first until they have stiff peaks like you would with egg whites. Then slowly incorporate the powdered sugar. I use a different recipe that calls for butter and Bakers ammonia. I have never had any difficulty with it coming together, printing or baking.
  • star rating 12/20/2012
  • Leanne from San Diego, CA
  • this is the third time I've tried this recipe, following it to the letter. I've gone through over 4 Christmas songs (figuring that'd be several minutes) and bits of the dough are coming together, but mostly it's not. My hands and arms hurt from the beating I've given this dough. I *love* springerle. I just wish I could make it. The "crumble apart" stage is what happened. the weird thing? The first time I made this it worked. Wish I knew what I did right but it's not repeatable. I'm in dry cold SoCal weather. Should I add water?
    If that dough isn't coming together and your weather is dry, definitely add some more moisture to it. Just a bit at a time until it all comes together. MJR @ KAF
  • star rating 12/20/2012
  • Gina from Wilmington, DE
  • I read many of the reviews before attempting this, and I bake a lot, so I thought I would be fine. I could not have been more wrong. The batter never fell off the beaters in thick ribbons despite beating for well more than the 5-6 minutes in the recipe (and I did check both at 5 and 6 minutes). When I added the flour, the resulting dough was a mess. Dry doesn't even begin to cover it. And it did NOT become smoother as I kneaded. I'd be willing to try again if someone could explain what went wrong, but otherwise, I will never attempt these again.
    I'm so sorry you had trouble with these cookies! The 5-6 minutes of beating is a recommended time, but you should beat until the ribbons result--a few extra minutes might have helped. Also, with the flour, it is imperative to measure accurately. We fluff the flour, sprinkle into a cup, then level off. We do not dip and scoop flour into measuring cups as it will pack the flour in and more flour means a much drier dough. It is a tricky one and requires some extra attention than other cookie recipes. Thanks for being candid! Kim@KAF
  • 01/02/2012
  • Katheena from KAF Community
  • Hi, I?m german, from Black Forrest and we always do Springerle for Christmas. There is one big fault in this recipe: When you let them dry on the baking sheet DONT?T turn them over! NEVER! To let them dry is very important but only on the ?front? side. This is the secret! Because then they will have, what we call ?feet? (Füssli): They must have at least double thickness as unbaked, then they are not soo hard. These ?Füssli? are the pride of everyone who is baking them (here) ;-). To make them even more soft my mother always puts them in a fabric bag (closed) and puts them outside (covered veranda) for some days -> Soft cookies! If you only want them for decoration, let dry both sides of the springerle before baking. I hope this helps ... maybe next Christmas!
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