Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Um. Yeah. We all have our cooking failures, right? OK, they look pretty and they tasted fine, but for the amount of time, frustration, and effort these dang cookies took me to make, they should have been the best cookies made since the dawn of time. And they weren't.

A little background: springerle are traditional, anise-flavored German cookies. My mom used to make them every Christmas when we were little. She did and still does love them, but I despised them. But not many kids like anise. So I thought I would give them another try, since as an adult I love anise and I thought it would be special to make my mom her favorite cookie for my first time hosting Christmas.

Springerle require a special springerle mold - they have gorgeous designs of religious scenes or little farm vignettes, etc. I had to specifically order my mold online from House on the Hill. Then, springerle need to age for a few weeks to develop flavor, so I had to make these in advance. The recipe seemed kind of odd and questionable (which should have tipped me off). But I made it and it seemed to turn out well. Then came the torture. Molding the cookies. Now, I consider myself a pretty experienced/skilled baker, but molding those springerle was a baffling ordeal. The dough stuck. It took me about 15 ruined cookies to figure out how to get the dough out the mold with the design intact and actually looking nice. The strategy was ridiculously involved:

 First, I brushed the mold with powdered sugar. Then I made sure the dough is really rolling it in some flour. Then, I added it to the mold.

Then, with a very well-floured rolling pin, I went over the dough to flatten it in the mold.

Next, I gently turned mold over in my hand and let the dough fall out of the mold as I pulled it away. Pulling on the dough will distorted the imprint, so each cookie I got out was a small victory, as lots got stuck in the mold.

Finally, I had to trim the edges off with a paring knife.

What a waste of time. My mom liked the cookies, but they weren't really anise-y tasting enough. Needless to say,  I won't be making these ever again. I do have plans to use the mold to make some salt dough ornaments instead.


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