Perfection Springerle Cookies

Perfection Springerle Cookies
Recipe from House on the Hill!

These whisked-egg holiday cookies date back to at least the 1600's and are made in Bavaria, Switzerland and the Alsace area of France. For eating quality, ease and quality of prints this recipe is just perfection!

What you'll need:
- 1/2 teaspoon baker's ammonia (Hartshorn) or baking powder
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 6 cups powdered sugar (1 1/2 #)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of anise (if substituting fruit flavored oils, use 3 teaspoons)
- 2 lb. box sifted cake flour (Swansdown or Softasilk)
- grated rind of orange or lemon – optional (enhances flavor of the traditional anise or the citrus flavors)
- more flour as needed

Instructions:
Dissolve hartshorn in milk 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 milk, salt, preferred flavoring, and grated rind of lemon or orange, if desired. Gradually beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer, then stir in the remainder of the 2 lbs. of flour to make stiff dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead in enough flour to make a good print without sticking. Dry printed cookies 2-24 hours at room temperature before baking (depending on your schedule, humidity,etc.) Drying preserves the image during baking.

We recommend that you bake one cookie of each size first! it saves grief! This will help you determine the correct temp and time for your cookie size.

Bake on greased or baker's parchment-lined cookie sheets at 255° to 325° till barely golden on the bottom, 10-15 minutes or more, depending on size of cookie.

Store in airtight containers or in zipper bags in the freezer. They keep for months, and improve with age. Yield 3 to 12 dozen.

Variations:
*Oil of Lemon or Orange: Use 3-4 tsp. of these oils or 1 tsp. of oil and the finely grated zest of 3 lemons or oranges.
*Oil of cinnamon, almond or peppermint: use 1/2 tsp. oil
*Vanilla: use 3-4 tsp. of pure vanilla extract.
*Capuccino: Use 2TBS. of coffee extract and 2 tsp. of ground cinnamon.
*Chocolate Springerle: Replace 1 cup of flour with 1 cup cocoa and add 2 tsp. of vanilla or chocolate extract. For cocoa-mocha, add 2 tsp. coffee extract to the Chocolate Springerle recipe

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