Sunday, December 30, 2007

Springlerles are Not Just For Christmas anymore

The years end has bought with it a bit more steam to our blog. Could this be an indication that we will post more often in 2008? Just before Christmas, Dieter remembered the Springerle cookie mold his mother had. It is a mold dating back to the 1800's and came from Germany with the German side of his family. Dieter's mom Elsie, told us her mother made the cookies and laid them out on a sheet covered ironing board to dry overnight before baking. We pulled out the antique ironing board and set out to duplicate the family tradition that until now had been set aside for more than half a century.

According to Wikipedia, Springerle is a type of cookie from Baden-Württemberg, Germany with an embossed design made by pressing a mold onto rolled dough and allowing the impression to dry before cooking. The cookies are traditionally white and anise-flavored. Molds are traditionally carved from wood, although plastic molds are also available. The name springerle means "little knights," and their origin can be traced back to the 14th century.

Above is a close up of the antique metal mold and the resulting cookie. We baked two versions of the cookie, one with anise oil and seed the other with only the seed. We sprinkled the mold with powdered sugar before pressing it into the dough as you can see in the image. The first recipe came from "Modern Baking" a trade magazine. Klaus Tenbergen, a master baker in Germany, South African and the United states gives this recipe:


2 Lbs baking flour
0.125 crushed aniseed (about two rounded tea spoons, up to one tablespoon if you want
a stronger aniseed flavor)
14 whole eggs
2 Lbs granulated sugar

We halved the recipe above. The combination of the two recipes yielded over 100 cookies.

Method: Sift flour three times, add the aniseed. Beat the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the flour to the egg mixture, a small amount at a time, blending after each addition. Mix until smooth after the lst addition. Roll the dough on a lightly floured board, press into the moulds, remove, and place the cookies on pans to dry overnight. Bake in a slow oven at 250 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

The second recipe came from a blog called "A Geezer's Corner". It sounds like Springerles are a passion for this man. He adds butter, baking powder and lemon oil extract. We didn't have the lemon extract, but added i heaping tablespoon lemon zest instead. He has very strict directions "add the flavoring oils, and cream together for 10 to 15 minutes. yeah, that's what i said. if you don't, the cookies won't have the right consistency." We being law abiding citizens did just what he said.

In the end both cookies are delicious. You must be an anise lover or these cookies will be too strong for you.

According to ” Mr. Geezer"
House on the Hill is the best source for springerle moulds.


bothenook said...

glad to hear you are law abiding citizens!
i haven't seen your first recipe. i suppose it will be an experiment.
i love springerle. if you do it really really right, they come out hard as a rock after sitting for a couple of days following baking. then when dipped into a good hot black coffee... heaven.
good to see you resurrect an old family tradition. these traditions can get lost in the hurry up part of our lives. these cookies make you slow down. i love your mold! one of my rollers is a couple of generations old (from Bavaria via a friend), but nothing like yours....

polly + dieter said...

my brother in law who is from switzerland said his mother used to make springerle cookies at christmas time and they were still eating them when easter came around. that is some lasting power.

our cookies didn't get rock hard all the way through. they are hard on the outside and a bit softer on the inside. maybe the humidity in florida makes a difference. we paired the cookies with some fresh strawberries and vanilla yogurt. oh my...

bothenook said...

the first recipe calls for "baking flour". did you use all purpose or cake flour?
i've got and tried recipes that use both, and the cake flour yields a more "delicate" cookie. for my money, the ones using regular flour hold up better after being dunked in coffee. both are good, both have their place!

polly + dieter said...

Cookies are on my mind as well, to answer our submariners question about
flour, we used "Queen Guinevere Cake Flour" from King Arthur. Bothenook has stated, anise cookies should be all about the anise and I believe he is right. To tell you the truth I believe anise seed/flavor is addictive. Next to hit the oven rack will be some anise Biscotti. I plan to use the recipe from the Carol Field book "The Italian Baker."

rmom said...

Well, just for your info we have two springerles left from Christmas. We have kept the few left on a plate on the kitchen counter. Urs eats one or two a week. If we are very frugal, we can keep these two until Easter.