From House on the Hill (houseonthehill.net): "These whisked-egg holiday cookies date back to at the 1600s, and are made in Bavaria, Switzerland, and the Alsace area of France. For eating quality, and the ease and quality of the prints, this recipe is perfection!" I've tried other springerle recipes, and this is the best by far. The dough is rolled out, then stamped with molds to make images on the surface. You can leave them plain, or paint them with food-safe coloring.
NOTE: If substituting fruit flavored oils for anise, use 3 teaspoons instead of 1/2 teaspoon.
Dissolve hartshorn in milk and set aside.
Beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored (10-20 minutes).
Slowly beat in the confectioners' sugar, then the softened butter.
Add the hartshorn and milk, salt, preferred flavoring (including optional anise seed and citrus zest if desired).
Gradually beat in as much cake flour as you can with the mixer, then stir in the remainder of the two pounds of flour to make a stiff dough.
Turn onto floured surface and knead in enough flour to make a good print without sticking.
Roll out about 3/8" to 5/8" thick (deeper molds need thicker dough). Dust mold with cake flour before pressing (firmly but gently!) onto dough. Cut out shapes with sharp knife or pastry wheel and remove to rack to dry. Press and cut out each mold to reduce distortion of images (i.e., don't press a lot of images, then cut them all out at once.)
These cookies need to be air-dried on racks before baking. Depending on the size of the cookie, and the humidity of your home, this can be anywhere from 2 to 48 hours. Check the undersides of the cookie; as long as there's a darker center, the cookies are still too wet to put in the oven. They'll taste fine, but the extra moisture will cause the top to crack and ruin the image.
When the cookies are dried, preheat oven to 255 degrees to 325 degrees Fahrenheit--the lower temperature for smaller cookies, the higher temperature for larger ones. (For tiny cookies, the temperature can be as low as 200 degrees.)
Bake on parchment-lined cookie sheets until barely golden on the bottom, usually 10-15 minutes for smaller cookies, longer for larger ones. BAKE A TEST COOKIE FIRST before you commit a whole sheet to the oven!
I strongly recommend learning more about the art of drying and baking springerles at House on the Hill's website, houseonthehill.net.
Store in airtight containers or in zipper bags in the freezer. They keep for months and improve with age. Yields three to twelve dozen.
Don't make these on a rainy day--the cookies will never dry! I beat the heck out of the eggs--all 20 minutes on my stand mixer. I usually buy two boxes of cake flour, to be sure I have enough for kneading and rolling out. Knead the dough very thoroughly. Trapped air bubbles expand during baking and warp and crack the cookie. Air bubbles are the enemy of a pretty cookie! I always bake a test cookie to establish the right baking time and temperature before I trust a whole sheet of cookies to the oven. Not all hartshorn (Baker's Ammonia) is created equal; I get mine from King Arthur's. You can use baking powder, but the cookies aren't quite as light and crisp. The anise seed is a tradition from my husband's family. If image quality is your first priority, don't use them; but the taste can't be beat.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (50g)|
|Recipe Makes: 48 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 18 (14%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 2g||3 %|
|Saturated Fat 1.2g||6 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 0.5g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 0.1g|
|Cholesterol 5.2mg||2 %|
|Sodium 1.1mg||0 %|
|Potassium 6.1mg||0 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 28.1g||8 %|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||0 %|
|Sugars, other 28g|
|Protein 0.1g||0 %|
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Calories per serving: 127
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