Like the ginger creams, Springele used to come in the cookie boxes from my grandmother, my mom’s mom. I think 2014 is the fourth year I’ve been making them, experimenting with different molds and recipes – although I know I did try once a long time ago – I had a terrible wooden mold that I bought someplace and it stuck so bad that I threw all the dough away – and moved that mold from kitchen to kitchen at least twice. Chicago to Madison and then two houses in Madison. I don’t think I have springerle perfect yet, but they’re getting better. This year’s lesson – that I am writing down so I don’t forget – is bake a full 20 – 25 minutes. The cookies seem damp on the bottom. And maybe baking on greased sheets instead of parchment. And up the baking powder.
At any rate, here’s the best I’ve come up with for a recipe:
- 4 large eggs
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon1 1/4 teaspoons anise extract
- 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoonbaking powder (Joy of Cooking says 1/4, and the slip of paper that came with my molds says 1 tsp.)
- pinch of salt
4 cups3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour (Joy of Cooking says 3 1/4 and knead in another 1/4 … 2014’s seemed a little doughy)
- Cracked anise seed
Chill your springerle molds or rolling pin.
Line several large baking sheets with parchment, or Grease 2 – 3 large baking sheets lightly. Sprinkle with cracked anise seed. Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for 10 12 minutes until light-colored and fluffy (Joy of Cooking doesn’t say to beat at all; the slip of paper that came with my molds says 30 minutes). Add the lemon zest, anise extract, baking powder and salt, and mix briefly. Then mix in the flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and gather into a ball. It will be sticky. Divide the dough in half, and roll out about 1/4 inch thick (Thicker if you’re using a springerle rolling pin, rather than a mold). Apply flour liberally to your rolling pin or mold using a brush. Press or roll over the dough, then carefully cut the cookies apart and place on the prepared sheets – you might need a clean spatuala to lift the cookies. Try to shake off as much excess flour as possible. Let rest at room temperature for 10 – 12 hours. Bake the cookies at 300° for 20 – 25 minutes, until firm and puffed but not brown. The bottoms will be pale yellow – as the 1975 edition of Joy says. The cookies will keep for weeks in a tightly covered tin or plastic bucket, in a cool place and are excellent with black coffee.