Baking “Springerle”

Springerle means “little jumper” in German. They’re a traditional Southern German cookie and are usually made around Christmas. To be honest, I used to dislike them as a child, but I learnt to love them as I got older. Sadly, my parents haven’t made them in recent years in an effort to tone down Christmas. I kept thinking about them, however, and decided I’d try my hand at baking them this year.

What’s typical about them are the wooden molds used to emboss a simple design onto the cookie dough. These are usually simple plant or animal shapes. After I didn’t find these molds in our local hardware store, I looked online. At first I only found molds starting at 18€/piece, but luckily I eventually stumbled upon Holz Leute. It’s a store in Munich that sells beautiful, locally made and sourced wooden accessories. I bought a pearwood mold with 8 traditional motifs for 37,90€.

Ingredients

This recipe is originally by Harry Ulrich from the SWR4 radio station.

  • 440g sugar
  • 50ml eggyolk (ca. 2-3 eggyolks)
  • 150ml eggs (ca. 3 eggs)
  • salt
  • vanilla extract
  • lemon extract
  • 50ml boiling water
  • 8g salt of hartshorn
  • 15ml cold water
  • 760g flour
  • 4g aniseed

STEP 1 Whisk sugar, eggyolks, eggs, salt, and extracts in your kitchen machine until the sugar has dissolved.

STEP 2 Add the boiling water. Dissolve the salt of hartshorn in cold water and add as well.

STEP 3 Mix in flour and aniseed quickly.

STEP 4 Get distracted by your cat’s cuteness. (This is a crucial step. Don’t skip it!)

STEP 5 Roll out the dough evenly on the well-floured countertop. Emphasis on well-floured because the dough is incredibly sticky and will end up clinging on the countertop, the rolling pin, the form, and your hands, and you’ll have a bit of a meltdown and have to start rolling out the dough anew. Not that that happened to me.

STEP 6 Impress the ornaments on the dough using the wooden mold. Don’t be shy to really press down, and don’t forget to flour your mold generously. This dough is a sticky SOB!

STEP 7 Using a pastry wheel or a knife, cut out the cookies.

STEP 8 Put the cookies on baking paper that you’ve misted with a plant sprayer beforehand. That way, they stay wet from below and will be able to rise in the oven even after drying out overnight.

STEP 9 Let them dry overnight in a cold room. Bake the first batch of cookies in the morning, realize the dough won’t rise properly. Feel very sorry for yourself, then put the other two batches outside on your roof terrace for another couple hours. Learn a lesson: leave them to dry for as long as possible, preferably in a cold staircase or on a (sheltered) balcony for example.

Much better!

STEP 10 Put them in a tin. Store that tin somewhere cold. Wait till Christmas. Don’t try them before, your teeth will regret it! They’re hard as stone right now, but they will soften after a few weeks and then they’ll be delicious.