What better way to lead up to the holidays than by filling the house with the sweet smell of traditional Christmas cookies baking in the kitchen! I love the way that a perfume can bring back memories in a flash, and I think that this recipe in particular is all about the Holidays.
Here at MFCH, I am very fortunate to have a small but spectacular team working with me. Emily and Molly are busy bees, handling emails and helping me organise the tours and the boxes. Keeping me on the straight and narrow and also helping out with some of the photography and video filming. But of course they both have lives outside of MFCH!
Today this blogpost is written by Molly who loves to bake. She actually runs her own baking classes in Versailles and all over France, and you can check out her other work on her blog right here and instagram for a peek into life in Versailles and her baking escapes.
This recipe is for Springerle, traditional Christmas cookies in the Alsace area of France, where I currently live, and in Germany and Switzerland. The cookies are unique as they hold delicate designs from a cookie stamp making them utterly breathtaking. The process takes almost two days, but for many families here, it’s part of the Christmas tradition, the long wait adding to the excitement and revere. Each cookie is lovingly made with family, to send as gifts, or to hang on the tree.
The traditional flavor of the cookies is anise, with seeds or extract. If you are not partial to this flavor (like me), leave it out and add another extract like lemon or orange, or different spices like gingerbread spice.
You can find the molds at cute stands in the Christmas markets, the walls lined with different designs hanging from little hooks. You can buy them online here as well.
The Springerle Recipe
The dough itself is rather simple. Start with four eggs, and the whisk attachment on an electric mixer and whip until fluffy. Slowly add 500g of powdered sugar and keep whisking for about 10-15 minutes until the mixture resembles a buttercream. In the last 5 minutes of beating, add a pinch of baking powder and a tablespoon of kirsch. Then slowly add in 500g of flour and anise (if you choose).
Then the dough must rest, for 12-24 hours, well covered with plastic wrap touching the surface in the refrigerator. This allows the dough to harden and take on a sturdier texture, which is important when you press the design for the springerle, it also develops any flavoring you’ve added.
Once the dough has rested, roll out small pieces at a time on a cornstarch-dusted surface. Dust your mold with cornstarch (this keeps it from sticking), and the press the mold into the dough. Cut around the shape and then lay on a cornstarch dusted surface to rest again for 12-24 hours. Leave them out on the countertop, avoiding a drafty or damp area. This is very important as it drys the cookie, again ensuring that the stamp will stay defined.
Before baking, place on a wet paper towel to moisten the bottom of the cookie for about 30 seconds or so.
Place on parchment (you can dust this with a seasoned sugar) and bake at 145C/290F for 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely, then remove from tray, and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
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- 4 eggs
- 500g (4 cups) powdered sugar
- 1 pinch baking powder
- 1 tablespoon kirsch
- 500g (4 cups) flour
- anise seed or other flavoring (to taste)
Beat the eggs with the whisk attachment until fluffy. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and whip on medium speed for 10-15 minutes until the mixture resembles a buttercream. In the last 5 minutes, add the pinch of baking powder, and tablespoon of kirsch.
Slowly add in the flour and flavoring of your choice. Then wrap well with plastic wrap touching the surface and chill several hours or overnight.
Roll out small pieces at a time on a cornstarch-dusted surface, and press the mold into the dough. Cut around the design, and lay on a cornstarch dusted surface to rest for 12-24 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 145C/290F. Place each cookie on a damp paper towel for about 30 seconds to moisten the bottom of the cookie and then transfer to a parchment lined tray (this can be sprinkled with a seasoning of choice).
Bake for 18-20 minutes. The cookie will rise on a little foot, and be just slightly brown on the bottom when done.
Keep in an airtight container at room temperature and enjoy!