Every Christmas, for many years now, I have been baking these traditional Springerle German biscuits. They date back as far as the 14th century (I just Googled it – I haven’t been making them that whole time.). The original old recipe flavours this biscuit with anise extract but we are not big fans of that taste so I add vanilla extract instead. The vanilla gives these biscuits a delicious flavour. The name Springerle refers to the “spring” in the dough as it rises up so nicely.
I bought my German Springerle roller online years ago and I really love it. It is wooden and has images of flowers and birds. I also really like that it prints onto the pastry in squares so it makes cutting them up to put on the tray really easy. When I roll it onto the dough I always roll the dough our with a normal rolling pin, then lightly flour the dough and press evenly with my Springerle roller using my hands on the roller itself. I don’t use the handles because I find I can’t distribute the pressure as evenly. You can also find Springerle boards instead of rollers. If you don’t have either of these, you could just cut shapes out of your dough. They will work just as well.
- 4 eggs
- 3 3/4 cups icing sugar (confectioners' sugar)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 cups Plain flour (sifted) - note, you may need to add more to get the consistency of the dough right. I just start with 4 cups and add more if I need to.
- 2 tsp baking powder
- In a large bowl, beat eggs until light with an electric mixer on high speed.
- Reduce speed and add the vanilla extract and icing sugar. Continue beating a medium speed until well combined.
- Sift together the flour and baking powder; stir into the egg mixture. The dough will be stiff.
- Tip dough out onto lightly floured board. Knead until smooth.
- Roll dough out to 1 cm thickness. Lightly flour the dough surface.
- Imprint with a springerle roller and cut apart. Place biscuits onto a lined baking sheet and let rest uncovered overnight.
- The next day, preheat oven to 175 deg C (350 deg F).
- Bake biscuits for 7-10 minutes. (They will rise up underneath)
You will see that the recipe requires that you leave the cut biscuit dough uncovered on the trays overnight. This is a weird instruction but I always do it and I think it’s the secret to a good Springerle biscuit.
These Springerle German biscuits make lovely gifts for friends or the kid’s teachers. They are a bit special and unique.
You don’t have to be German to give these a try! (You could even experiment with different flavours. I’m sure orange extract or cinnamon would also work – although I haven’t tried it – we love the vanilla). Make these as something special this Christmas. They might just become a new traditional baking treat in your house.