Cookie Heritage: Springerle recipe, tweaked

One thing I love about being my mother’s daughter is that she has all these cool unique things about her, since she is a second-generation American. Her mother’s parents immigrated from Sweden, and her papa’s (that’s one cool thing: she calls her dad “Papa”) folks came from Germany. So Mom still has some old-world traditions that she adheres to. No, she didn’t teach us how to say all our prayers in Swedish (her mom, my Grandma Kuehner–bless her– tried to teach us Swedish prayers but I’m sure we weren’t very reverent about it: I just remember lots of eye-rolling and giggling–sorry, Grandma!), but she dotes on foods that could only hearken back to the old world–souse, pickled pigs’ feet, pickled herring, and springerle cookies.

Here's a pan of springerle before they are baked.

Here’s a pan of springerle before they are baked.

 

Springerle are little anise-flavored cookies that puff up while baking, and they were a traditional cookie that my Mom’s family always made. Mom doesn’t make them every year, and I like them around at Christmastime, so I got out my apron and I made a couple batches, myself. Because I love to tweak recipes, I made one recipe in the traditional way, with unsalted butter as the fat and almond extract for the flavoring (some folks I know don’t like anise) and the second recipe I made with coconut oil and the traditional anise flavoring.

During baking (if you're lucky!) the springerle will puff up nicely.

During baking (if you’re lucky!) the springerle will puff up nicely.

This recipe seems to work equally well with either butter or coconut oil, which was a nice thing to discover.

Cookie Heritage: Springerle cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Christmas cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4 dozen
 
Springerle cookies are a traditional German Christmas cookie that are best made a week or two before you intend to make them, and then left to cure.
Ingredients
  • ½ tsp baker's ammonia (or baking powder)
  • 2 Tb water
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup softened unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp flavor of your choice (the traditional flavor is anise)
  • grated rind of lemon, lime, or orange (optional)
  • 5+ cups sifted white flour, plus more as needed
Instructions
  1. Beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored.
  2. Stir together baking powder and powdered sugar, and slowly beat in to mixture, then beat until very smooth, at least 5 minutes (this will make the finished cookie fine-grained and lighter).
  3. Beat in softened butter (or coconut oil).
  4. Add water, salt, flavoring, and grated rind of lemon, lime, or orange.
  5. Mix at medium speed for several minutes.
  6. Gradually beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer.
  7. Turn onto floured surface and knead in enough remaining flour to make a good print with your rolling pin or molds, without sticking.
  8. Roll out the dough with a smooth rolling pin, then use your springerle rolling pin to make clear impressions.
  9. Trim springerle cookies from each other, and let dry for 16 to 24 hours before baking. (This allows the image to crust and prevents it from being distorted.)
  10. Large springerle can take from 24 to 48 hours to dry.
  11. Bake on parchment-lined cookie sheets at 300 degrees until barely golden on the bottom, 15 to 30 minutes (depending on the size and thickness of the cookie).
  12. Store in airtight containers.
  13. These cookies will keep for months and become tastier with age, but they do get harder as they age. To soften them, add a cut apple to the covered container a day or two before serving.

 

This is a fun cookie to make with little ones! Little Mack has been Grumpy Squared because he simply can’t wait for Christmas. The funny thing is, it’s not the presents that he can’t wait for–it’s seeing his big brothers Andrew and Matthew again, and having everybody under our roof, even just for a few days. That’s a better gift for him (and all the rest of us) than anything that could be wrapped up and put under the tree. *snif*

Springerle: A good cookie to make to distract from the pre-Christmas Grumpies. :)

Springerle: A good cookie to make to distract from the pre-Christmas Grumpies. 🙂

So to help with the Grumpies, I’m going to hand an apron and a butter knife to my son and ask him to cut these cookies apart. I know that he can’t refuse me if I’m asking him to use a knife. 😉

Hey, I’ve just got to mention this: Tropical Traditions (affiliate link) is giving away quarts of Gold Medal Virgin Coconut Oil ($40.00 retail) until Christmas Day, as a Christmas gift to YOU, with a minimum $19.00 purchase. This is a great deal, Gentle Reader, especially if you’ve never tried this coconut oil before. This is a great way to try it out without spending a lot of money!

Click here to get your FREE quart of coconut oil, and to see all the other sales they’ve got up!

Merry, merry Christmas to you, Gentle Reader! *hugs*

7 thoughts on “Cookie Heritage: Springerle recipe, tweaked

  1. Gene

    Amy – I haven’t been out of the kitchen much for the last three weeks, and several times I have eyed that coconut oil, wondering if I could use it for cookies. Is there some kind of “rule of thumb” that you use to translate quantities of butter or shortening into coconut oil while baking? Using it ounce for ounce would make for some very expensive cookies.

    You asked earlier for a list of the “Christmas cookies” I bake every year. Here goes: I almost always start with the peppernuts for the same reason your grandmother did – I can mix and roll out the dough, wrap each long roll in waxed paper, and bake some every time I’m baking something else. I used to do lebkuchen or springerle next, but my kids/grandkids/great grandkids, aren’t so crazy about the “strong” taste of them. They particularly do not like anise. (Which I love.) So my next cookie is another mix up, roll out and keep in the fridge cookie we call “Nut Thins.” It is a very basic Scandinavian/Northern German lower sugar recipe from my Danish grandmother. The original recipe called for ground hazelnuts and black pepper, but I have amended it by replacing the nuts with finely chopped walnuts and the pepper cardamom – which is VERY Swedish. Then I do masses of real Swedish “pepparkakor,” again replacing the pepper with ginger – lots of ginger. They are in effect very gingery soft ginger snaps.

    OK, next I usually do something from my wife’s very proper Yankee grandmother that I have labelled “Gumdrop Cookies.” A mixture of butter, flour, oatmeal, flaked coconut and chopped green and red gumdrops. Following that usually comes “Peanut Blossoms”, the origin of which I do not know, but I learned to make them when I was in grad school in Wisconsin in the 1960s from the grandmother of of a colleague. Then come the “Snickerdoodles,” a cookie that tastes like baked custard with cinnamon and nutmeg. That one came from my mother’s English mother or her German grandmother. Next up are ordinary oatmeal/walnut/cranberry cookies, which I bake throughout the year. This year – for the first time – I used those steel cut Irish oats, which make for added crunch. And finally, “Chocolate Crinkles,” another recipe we picked up in grad school, this one from a Polish family. (These are really delicate and a pain in the butt to make. I manage to screw them up about half the time.) If there are grandkids of the right age around on an ugly day in the weeks before Christmas, I will also mix up a batch of ordinary sugar cookie dough for making cut-out cookies with cookie cutters dating back before 1900. We don’t do frosting, but we do use colored sugars.

    If you want recipes for any of these, I have a “Family Recipe Book” that I can email you.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Gene,
      About the coconut oil: I’ve used in in place of butter (and vegetable oil) just for an experiment a few times (same amount) and it works very well, making a nice light cookie and pastry, but you’re right, it is an expensive option. If the recipe calls for butter, I usually just use the butter! It shouldn’t surprise me that we share a Swedish-German heritage. Those Swedes are known for craving the outdoors and gardening and so forth. If it weren’t for the cold during the winter, I’d NEVER be inside, and I suspect you have some of these tendencies, too. 🙂 I would LOVE a copy of your family recipe book. I’ll be looking for it in my email! Thank you, Gene!

    1. Amy

      Rita,
      I should have mentioned that–I’ll have to make an addition to this post! There’s a special rolling pin made for springerle. I have snatched a couple of them up from garage sales. There are designs carved into the wood of the pin, so it makes pressing the designs into them easy-peasy!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      One thing you’ll need, Kayty (I need to add this to the post) you’ll need a springerle rolling pin, like this one:

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