Steve, over the years that I have been researching and baking Springerle, I have discovered different recipes for Springerle. What the very first recipe was, I’m fairly clueless about. In the 1400′s and 1500′s I would tend to believe that ingredients were pretty basic: flour, eggs, a leavening agent or not, spices, flavorings and a sweetener that was most likely honey. Many German folks have sent me their old family recipes. Some recipes contained fat but most did not.
The following recipe works very well for me.
The Recipe used by The Springerle Baker
1/2 teaspoon baker’s ammonia (Hartshorn), 2 tablespoons water, 6 large eggs at room temperature, 6 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter (a little more or less is okay), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon flavoring of your choice (more if desired), 8 cups sifted cake flour, more flour as needed.
Dissolve hartshorn in water and set aside. Beat eggs till thick and lemon-colored (10-20 minutes). Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, then the softened butter. Add the hartshorn and water, salt, preferred flavoring, and grated rind of lemon, lime or orange, if using. Let this mixture mix on medium speed for about 30 minutes or so. At times if I’m busy I let it beat for 40 minutes or more. Gradually beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Turn onto floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a good print without sticking. Some days it takes all the flour while other days it doesn't. It depends on where you live and what the weather is doing.
For Molding Springerle:
1). Using a clean pastry brush, dust your mold with powdered sugar. Dust mold each time cookies are pressed.
2). Roll out enough of the dough to make the cookie you are working with to a thickness of at least 1/4* on a lightly powdered sugared surface. For deep molds you will need to have your dough thicker.
3). Placing your mold on the dough, press down firmly enough to make a clear impression of the mold design. Carefully and slowly lift off the mold. If you wish, you may alternatively roll dough on surface of mold and then invert the mold and lift it off of your dough. Press dough into the mold with fingers, working from center outward being sure to get it into all the deep places.
4). Trim the cookies as you wish then carefully lift them onto your cookie sheet.
5). Let your Springerle sit 12 hours or overnight to air dry.
6). Bake as your recipe directs.
*Be sure to have good light to work by so you can tell if you’ve made a good impression with all of the details from your mold showing. And if you need glasses, wear em. Details become more visible as the cookie dries.
Drying and Baking:
After pressing your Springerle allow them to dry for between 16-36 hours before baking. This will allow the image to crust and thus prevent it from being distorted. Bake on baker’s parchment-lined cookie sheets at 225* to 300* till barely golden on the bottom, 25-45 minutes or more, depending on size of cookie. I teach folks to bake them "White" like porcelain. Leave them out again over night but covered and the next day store them in airtight containers and keep them in a cool dry place. They can keep for weeks but do become hard as rocks over time. Yield 3 to 12 dozen. *For ornaments to hang on your tree, remember to add a hole at the top for a string.
SeeTheSpringerleBaker.com for more tips and advice.- Ken