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SPRINGERLE, GERMANY

14th CENTURY

 

OTHER NAMES: "Änisbrötli" (Anise cookies)

 

The name springerle means "little jumper" or "little knight". It was unclear how it was named but historian suggests that springerle is named from its baking process, which cookies will rise or "spring up" while cooking. Others think that they got their name because one of the most popular molds is a picture of a leaping (or "springing") horse. [1]

 

Springerle is a tender, anise-flavored cookie imprinted with designs or images on the surface with specially flat molds/presses/boards or carved Springerle Rolling Pins. Their origin can be traced back to the 14th century in southwestern Germany. The oldest known springerle mold was from Switzerland, which was carved from wood in the 14th century. [2] The molds can also be made out of ceramic, stone, and metal. [3] The first plastic molds come very later in the 1970s. [4]

 

In the 15th century Biblical scenes were some of the earliest images portrayed on the springerle molds and were used to educate those who couldn't read or write. [5] In the late 16th century the molds were often self-portraits or portraits of royalty. City and family coat's-of-arms were also popular. Around 18th – 19th century household simple themes like friendship, love and naïve were used to make molds because more people were using them so uncomplicated molds and less expensive production methods were needed. [6]

 

Springerle cookies were used to celebrate births, weddings, and used as betrothal tokens. Exchanging springerle during the holidays was a common practice very much like we exchange cards today. [2] In modern time at Bavaria and Austria, Springerle is still a popular traditional Christmas cookies for celebration. [7]

 

BASIC INGREDIENTS:

Eggs, sugar, flour, anise seed, flavoring, hartshorn salt

 

Optional: cake/wheat flour, powdered/confectioner’s sugar, anise extract/oil, lemon zest/oil, baking powder, milk

Springerle Wooden Mold

Carved Springerle Rolling Pin

Photo by mpaulmd / CC BY

Photo by sackton / CC BY

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