Friday, December 08, 2006

springerle cookie recipe #2

as i discussed in the Recipe #1 post, there are several ways i make springerle. there are many recipes out there, and these two are the ones i use. both were modified from the original to some extent, so i'll post them as originals, but we both really know i just stole them from somewhere else and claimed them as my own.

click on pictures for a selection of sizes.

Springerle recipe #2
This recipe makes a lighter, more cake-like cookie than #1 does. i'm kind of torn between the two. these are a bigger pain in the keister to make, but they do have the advantage of being popular with the springerle crowd. that's ok. that just means that there are more for me of the ones i really like better anyway. hmmm, kind of like my mom used to say that she really liked the chicken wings, so it was ok that we ate all the good parts. what do you think?

ok, i know this is unusual starting with the variations BEFORE even posting, but this is important. there are a lot of people out there that just don't like anise. i know, i know, it just doesn't seem natural, but it's true. so, for those folks, here are a few variations that i've used in the basic recipe that turned out pretty damned good. first of all, everywhere it says anise, disregard.

variation #1: der Vanillezucker: in the powdered sugar, place 1/2 vanilla bean, and process until the bean is mulched throughout the sugar, and evenly distributed. makes for a killer cookie. this is actually a classic variation on the springerle theme. this is also great in the #1 recipe, with the bean blended into the granulated sugar.

variation #2: citrus: use the zest of 1 lemon, very finely chopped and distributed on the parchment paper. add 2 or 3 tbs of lemon extract (buy the good stuff. you'll thank me. one of my favorite lemon extracts comes from these guys

now, back to the main event

the basis of my recipes came from a stack of papers printed out over the years, and from the back of a 3x5 card jotted down over coffee with an old lady. i went out and found a close approximation, and that was recipe #1. then i got a little bold, and decided to get FANCY, and use finer ingredients. i didn't say better, just finer, trying to get a smoother more tender cookie. i found the recipe at House on the Hill, the source of many of my cookie molds, presses, and rollers.
here's my take on their recipe in word and picture.

  • 2 tbs whole milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • six (6) large eggs, room temperature. this is important. if the eggs aren't at room temp when you go to cream ingredients together, the butter will clump up, and it will be almost impossible to get everything to a nice light yellow stage.
  • 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted, and about 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra for use on the dough to keep the roller impressions from clogging up
  • 1/2 tsp salt (i like to use 3/4 tsp kosher salt)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (that's one whole stick), softend but NOT melted. if you forget to take it out of the fridge, stick it on a saucer, and nuke it for about 15 seconds, then leave on the counter until needed. it should be ok by then
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp oil of anise. if you can't get oil of anise, use about 1 to 1 1/4 TBS of anise extract. the extract works, but oil of anise is way "mo betta". my oil of anise comes from King Arthur Flour. but i should caution that anise oil is hard to come by after about mid august, so write yourself a note to order by the end of July for next year's batch.
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract, and the zest of one lemon, finely chopped.
  • 2 pound box of cake flour, and a couple extra cups of all purpose flour for rolling and kneading the dough as you go along
  • 3 tbs anise seeds, crushed or buzzed in a spice mill. you don't want these to be powdered, just broken up a little. i use a mortar and pestle
  • parchment paper
  • 2 or 3 days of free time


take the baking powder, and mix it into the milk. set it aside.

beat the eggs in a mixer for at least 10 minutes, until it is a light lemon color. yes, beat for at least 10 minutes.
beat eggs

drop the butter in while the mixer is running, dabs at a time, until all the butter is incorporated. then slowly add the powdered sugar. if you forget to turn the mixer down to it's lowest speed, you WILL look like a ghost. cream these ingredients together for at least another 5 minutes or so. then add the zest, anise oil, baking powder/milk, salt, and mix. note that if you don't finely chop the zest, it will all end up in clumps on the mixer blade, and not in the dough. been there.
next, add the box of cake flour, slowly. make sure you occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl. you do not want to overmix at this stage. once the flour is incorporated and looks smooth, stop mixing. continuing mixing will just make the cookies tougher.
mixed dough

scrape the contents out onto a piece of plastic wrap, cover, and put into the fridge for at least 2 hours. overnight will not hurt this dough at this time. now, why do i refridgerate my dough? the biggest answer is because it makes the dough easier to roll.
wrap to cool

when the dough is cooled, remove it from the wrap, and cut into fourths. that doesn't leave a huge piece of dough, but it does give enough to roll into a nice sheet, without taking over every available square inch of counter space you might have. flour the board very well, and lightly knead the dough, adding flour as you go until the dough is just a little sticky. you don't want to add a zillion cups of additional flour here, just get the dough so it can be worked.
flour the board very well, and roll out the dough to about 1/4 to 3/8 inches thick. pick the dough up, flour under it on the board, and then set it down again. if you don't do this, when you get your cookies cut, you will mess up the impressions bigtime because the dough will be sticking to the board like glue.
Karins roller
Karins impressions

cookie press
press impressions

ready to press
ready to cut

liberally sprinkle the top of the dough with powdered sugar. liberally means use a LOT. you do not want the dough to get stuck on the springerle roller, or the mold.

roll out the impression, or press in the mold, then cut using a knife, pizza cutter, or pastry board scraper. if you make these more than once, you will discover that all three are appropriate. as a matter of fact, if you could sprout an extra hand and arm.... anyway.
take a piece of parchment paper the size of your cookie sheet, and sprinkle crushed anise seed on it.
remove the cut cookies with a board scraper or a spatula (my preferred method)and set them on the parchement.
ready to dry

if you impress shapes, you will be spending some time with a nice small sharp knife, cutting them out.
cutting stars

set them somewhere to dry overnight. do not put them where dogs, racoons, or other pesky critters can get to them. seriously. why let them dry overnight? if you were to toss these guys right into the oven, the impressions would simply slump and disappear. by letting them dry overnight, the cookie sets up, and the impressions will not bake out. just a little cookie lore to pass along.
springerle drying

the next day, heat your oven to 250 to 290 degrees F. cook one cookie to see how long it will take. if the cookies poof too much, turn down the heat.
ready to bake

cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the temperature. pull them when the bottoms get just a light golden brown.
let them cool, and then bag and freeze until Christmas!
ready to bag

ok, here's another variation, but saved it for the end. if you've read this far, maybe you really will try these cookies.
do you like anise? you know, is tar black licorice a favorite of yours? if so...
here is a variation that i only make one batch of, because there aren't that many freaks like me out there:
instead of 1/2 tsp, use a full tablespoon of anise oil, or 3 tablespoons of the extract. put in 1 tablespoon of lemon extract, and don't bother with the anise seeds on the parchment while drying.
seriously good. seriously not for the faint of heart, or weak of spirit. or if you don't like anise.

as always, if you try this recipe, or it inspires you to try something different, please let me know how it turned out. i'm always looking for fresh and clever ideas to improve my own cooking skills and recipes.

for a complete list of my online recipes, follow the link here


Blogger bhd said...

I wish you could see how much we're enjoying them. We're very greedy yet trying to ration them. No way are we likely to go to this much work - though I can see that for you, it's a labor of love, and we can taste that in the cookies. A million thanks!

12/9/06, 11:48 AM  

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