Springerle are holiday cookies with imprinted pictures on them. Most often made with anise flavoring, they can also have other flavors such as lemon in them.
Springerle separate into two layers when baked. A yellow-gold foot and a white Baiser-like top crust. This comes from the drying process before baking. When allowed to sit for 24 hours, the egg yolk sinks a bit in the dough and a dried crust forms above. If the back of the cookie is still moist, the dough will rise in a low oven underneath the picture, but the picture itself will not, keeping the details imparted by the cookie mold. This is different from sugar cookies or types of Lebkuchen. When this happens, the Germans call this the "Füßle" (the little foot). Learn about the history of Springerle molds here.
Springerle should be soft, so store them in a moist place, such as with a slice of apple in a box or in a cloth bag on the porch.
- All ingredients should be at room temperature before you start. Using a whisk, beat the eggs until light yellow, thickened and foamy.
- Add the powdered sugar a spoonful at a time and beat for 10 minutes.
- Dissolve the ammonium carbonate in the Kirschwasser. Add any clear liquid flavorings at this time.
- Mix the liquids into the powdered sugar mixture and beat another 10 minutes.
- Mix the flour in a spoonful at a time. The dough should be about as soft as sugar cookie dough before it is refrigerated. If it is too stiff, mix in a little more liquid.
- Knead slightly into a smooth ball, wrap in plastic foil and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
- Take about 1/4 of the dough and roll out on a lightly powdered board (sugar or cornstarch) to just under 1/2 inch thick. Keep the rest of the dough covered so it does not dry out. Use a Springerle rolling pin or various cookie molds to imprint cookies. Place the mold over the area you want to be imprinted, and bear down on the dough, hard.
- Cut out cookies. You can use a knife, a small roller cutter, a biscuit cutter or a cutter designed for your cookie mold.
- Lay the cookies on a lightly powdered baking sheet or wooden board. Let dry right side up for 24 to 48 hours.
- Before baking wet the bottom of the cookies by laying them on a clean, moist kitchen towel.
- Sprinkle anise on a parchment-lined baking pan and set the cookies on top.
- Bake at 300°F (150°C) for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 280°F (140°C) and bake for another 10 minutes, until the underside starts to gain color. Try not to let the tops brown.
- Remove and cool. When cool, you can paint them with food coloring. In earlier times, they even used gold leaf to decorate some of these cookies.
Note: You can substitute baking powder for Baker's ammonia (ammonium carbonate), but the cookies will not bake up as soft.
See other Christmas cookie recipes from Germany here.