These are traditionally given as Christmas presents to friends and neighbors in Germany.
For the Cookies
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons whole milk
6 large eggs, room temperature
6 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting and surface
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon anise extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
9 cups sifted cake flour, plus more for dusting and surface
For the Glaze (Optional)
Pure lemon extract
Luster or petal dust, for decorating
- Dissolve baking powder in milk in a small bowl.
- Whisk eggs with a mixer on high speed until very thick and pale, about 10 minutes.
- With machine running, slowly add sugar, beating until smooth and creamy.
- Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition.
- Beat in milk mixture, salt, anise extract, and lemon zest until just combined.
- Reduce speed to medium-low.
- Add 6 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Remove bowl from mixer, and stir in remaining 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, until flour is incorporated and dough is stiff.
- Transfer dough to a floured surface, and knead until dough is smooth and not sticky, adding more flour if necessary.
- Divide dough into 4 pieces, and wrap in plastic wrap.
- Dust surface and Springerle mold with confectioners’ sugar.
- Roll out 1 disk of dough at a time to a 1/4- to 3/8-inch thickness (deeper molds will need thicker dough).
- Cut a piece of dough about the size of the mold.
- Press mold firmly into dough, flip over, and gently roll over dough with rolling pin.
- Flip over, and press onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Using a knife, trim excess dough from sides of mold.
- Gently coax dough out of mold with fingertips and onto baking sheet.
- Repeat, spacing cookies 1 inch apart, and placing same-size cookies on same sheet.
- Let stand, uncovered, for 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees.
- Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until completely dry, about 1 hour. (They should not color; reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees if cookies start to color.)
- Let cookies cool on sheets on wire racks.
- Cookies will keep, unglazed and covered, for up to 2 to 3 weeks.
- Make the glaze:
- Mix lemon extract and a pinch of luster or petal dust in a small bowl, adding more dust as needed to get desired color. (You will need only a little dust; the mixture should remain runny).
- Using a very fine paintbrush, brush the tinted extract onto the flat portion of each cookie around the relief.
- Using a clean, damp paintbrush, remove smudges.
- Mix additional extract and luster or petal dust in 1/2 teaspoon increments as needed.
Sources: Springerle molds: Snowman (M2129), $25, single acorn (M6212), and other designs, from House on the Hill, 877-278-4455, or houseonthehill.net. Petal and luster dust from baking-supply stores. Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookies (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2008).
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