My mother-in-law makes a delicious cookie for Christmas every year. It’s one of those special recipes that only makes an appearance at Christmas, so when I see a plate of them on her table, I savor every morsel. Luckily, not too many people like them due to the anise flavoring, which means more for me 🙂 Springerle (pronounced spring-er-lee) cookies originated in Germany and are known for the intricate designs on each cookie made by using a “Springerle Rolling Pin.” It also takes at least 8 hours to make and dry the cookies before you can bake them, so right there you have the reason these cookies are uniquely special.
Every year, Grandma comes up to make cookies with the kids, and this year, I was so pumped when she pulled out her jar of anise seeds and the Springerle rolling pin! We of course had to start with the fun sugar cookies and gingerbread men that the kids were most excited about, but I knew the Springerle were going to happen at some point 🙂
The first key to getting Springerle dough right is beating the eggs and sugar long enough until they get frothy. Don’t rush this step!
Once your dough is complete, turn it out onto a floured surface. Some recipe instructions will call for rolling the dough in powdered sugar, or using powdered sugar on the rolling pin, but Grandma said it just cakes inside the rolling pin indents and makes the designs not as visible. Instead, she likes to sift powdered sugar over the cookies before they bake and just use flour on the rolling pin and mat.
Use a regular rolling pin to initially roll the dough out, then use the Springerle rolling pin to make one pass over the dough and leave the imprints. It takes a little practice to get the pressure just right, but Eli loved this part of making the cookies and he did a great job with Grandma’s help!
Here’s where the Springerle get their signature anise flavor. On a baking sheet, grease it lightly and sprinkle heavily with anise seeds. Then lay the cut cookies on top of the seeds with the design facing up. Cover the tray with a clean towel or plastic wrap and let sit for at least 8 hours or overnight; don’t refrigerate, just put the tray on the counter and walk away. After the time is up, you’ll bake low and slow and the cookies will puff up beautifully in the oven! The texture of the finished cookie is similar to a macaron ~ slightly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. This is truly a special cookie for the holidays!
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups of flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Anise seeds
- Powdered sugar
- Beat eggs and sugar until frothy and light in color (5-8 minutes). Add vanilla. Mix in flour and baking powder.
- Roll dough on a lightly floured surface with a regular rolling pin until 1/4 inch thick. Flour the Springerle rolling pin and roll with medium pressure once over the dough. Use a knife to cut apart the dough where the rolling pin scored it.
- On a greased baking sheet, generously sprinkle anise seed. Place cut cookies design side up. Cover tray and let sit for 8 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Lightly sprinkle cookies with powdered sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes until tops are light brown and cookies are puffed.