Springerle are German cookies scented with anise and lemon, pressed into molds and dried overnight. This thorough springerle recipe from House on the Hill is sure to help you through the baking process for these biscotti-like cookies. Baker’s ammonia creates a crisp, honeycomb-like crumb, but baking powder will work in a pinch.
1/2 teaspoon baker’s ammonia or baking powder
2 tablespoons milk
6 large eggs, room temperature
6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon anise oil, optional
2 lb. cake flour, sifted
Zest of 1 lemon
More flour as needed
Dissolve baker’s ammonia in milk and set aside. Beat eggs till thick and yellow, 10 minutes. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, then the butter. Add the ammonia and milk, salt, anise oil, if using, and zest. Gradually beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer, then stir in the remainder of the flour to make stiff dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead in enough flour to make a good print without sticking.
On a floured surface, roll dough into a flat pancake approximately 1/2 inch thick. Roll thinner or thicker based on the depth of the carving in the cookie press you are using. Shallow carvings will need to be thinner while deeper carvings will need to be thicker. Using a sieve, generously flour the cookie mold for every pressing. Press the mold firmly and straight down into the dough, then lift, cut and place the formed cookie onto a flat surface to dry.
Do not cover the cookies while they dry. The goal of drying is to set the design. Let the cookies dry for 24 hours is best. Larger cookies and warm humid weather may require longer drying times. Cookies that are not dried long enough will not retain the beautiful designs, but will taste fine.
Bake on greased or baker’s parchment-lined cookie sheets at 255° to 325° till barely golden on the bottom, 10-15 minutes or more, depending on size of cookie.
Store in airtight containers or in zipper bags in the freezer. They keep for months, and improve with age. Yield 3 to 12 dozen.