From A Midwest German Christmas by Erin McCawley Renn
This recipe is passed on from Linda Walker Stevens, who was given it by Bertha Bugg of Hermann. Bertha’s grandparents came from Ulm in southern Germany to settle in Warren County, Missouri. Linda says, “Bertha graciously spent a day in busy December teaching me the secrets of successful Springerle baking. It wouldn’t be Christmas to my family, now, without these exquisite treats. With gratitude to Bertha, I’ll pass on her useful tips, as well as a few I’ve discovered from my own experience. Although a good recipe doesn’t guarantee good Springerle, this one is the best I’ve found. When properly handled this dough produces cookies of a particularly delicate texture. Their fragrance is delightful.”
4 egg, at room temperature
1 lb. sifted powdered sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
¼ tp. anise oil or anise extract
3 cup cake flour, sifted with ½ tp. Baking powder
1. Beat egg for 10 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar, and continue beating for 20 minutes. Add lemon juice and anise oil. Add flour gradually. When dough gets too stiff for mixer, add the balance of the flour by hand. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a bowl cover – the dough will form a crust if air gets to it. Chill one hour.
2. Use a pastry cloth well-dusted with cake flour. Knead the dough a few times. (Dough will be very sticky at first, knead in just enough flout to make it manageable – too much will toughen the dough.) Pat out a small portion of the dough at a time, keeping the rest covered airtight and refrigerated. Use a covered rolling pin to roll the dough about ¼-inch thick. If dough is still too oft, work in small amounts of cake flour until a good texture is obtained. The dough should be just stiff enough to take a good imprint.
3. Dust the molds thoroughly with flour (a pastry brush works well on finely detailed molds), then press firmly on dough. Cut between pictures, using a small knife or a pizza cutter. Do the imprinting in daylight – the designs will be easier to see. Repeat until all dough is used. Keep molds well-floured and free of dough scraps.
4. Carefully transfer cookies onto well-greased Teflon pans (use shortening, not butter or oil) or onto cookie sheets lined with baker’s parchment. (Avoid insulated cookie sheets, which will cause the Srpingerle to brown during baking.) Allow to dry for about 12 hours. Bake at 325 for about 12 minutes, checking them to prevent any browning. The yield depends on the size of the molds used – about three dozen 2 x 3-inch cookie. Store airtight, the Springerle will keep for months.
5. To paint the Springerle designs, use a fine brush dipped in diluted food color,. Keep the colors very soft and pastel. These make gorgeous ornaments when pierced with a straw prior to drying and baking, then dreaded with ribbon or a gold cord after painting.