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.
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.
This recipe seems to work equally well with either butter or coconut oil, which was a nice thing to discover.
- 1/2 tsp baker’s ammonia (or baking powder)
- 2 Tb water
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter or coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 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
- Beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored.
- 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).
- Beat in softened butter (or coconut oil).
- Add water, salt, flavoring, and grated rind of lemon, lime, or orange.
- Mix at medium speed for several minutes.
- Gradually beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer.
- Turn onto floured surface and knead in enough remaining flour to make a good print with your rolling pin or molds, without sticking.
- Roll out the dough with a smooth rolling pin, then use your springerle rolling pin to make clear impressions.
- 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.)
- Large springerle can take from 24 to 48 hours to dry.
- 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).
- Store in airtight containers.
- 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*
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!
Merry, merry Christmas to you, Gentle Reader! *hugs*
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