Springerle: It’s such a spring-y name for what’s traditionally a winter cookie. But we can make them any time of the year, right? (Spoiler alert: Yes, of course.)
Springerle cookies are a type of German biscuit-style cookie that are traditionally embossed with an intricate print. They’re usually made at Christmastime, with Christmas-themed designs. We got inspired by springerle cookies at (when else?) Christmastime, when we visited a kitchen store and got turned on to the stunning array of springerle molds and rolling pins that are out there.
Fast-forward to a conversation with dear old Dad, who happens to love woodworking and helping out his kids. He surveyed some springerle molds online and decided he could make one himself. The result? This sweet bee mold, in the perfect size for a springtime cookie (about three inches in diameter).
With bee mold in hand, we decided to forge ahead and make a batch of “spring” springerles. This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s Springerle Cookies recipe, which we cut down in size and changed up the glaze to make a lemon-honey version.
Lemon-Honey Springerle Cookies
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp milk
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 stick butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 4 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/4 tsp. water
- 2 drops lemon extract
Dissolve the baking powder in the milk in a small bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until they are pale and very thick, about 10 minutes (yes, 10 minutes). Keeping the mixer running, slowly add the sugar, about a cup at a time, and then the butter, one tablespoon at a time, while keeping the mixture well-blended. Beat in the milk mixture, salt, and grated lemon zest until just combined.
Turning the speed of the mixer down to slow, add three cups of the flour; then turn off the mixer and add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour and stir by hand. The dough will be very stiff. Transfer the dough to a board coated with a dusting of flour and knead until the dough is no longer sticky, adding more flour if necessary. Divide the dough in half and wrap one half in plastic wrap (to prevent it from drying out) while you begin work on the other half.
Dust your work surface and your springerle mold with powdered sugar. Roll the dough out to 1/4 or 3/8 inch thick. Press the mold firmly into the dough, and then cut your desired shape around the mold. Place the cookie on a baking sheet that is covered with parchment paper. Repeat until the first dough ball is finished; then continue with the second batch of dough. Let the cookies stand uncovered for 24 hours (yes, 24 hours).
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, at 220 degrees. Do not let them get brown - if they start browning, turn the oven down to 200 degrees. Note: The baking process works best if the cookies are not on the bottom shelf of the oven. Let the cookies cool on wire racks.
Make the glaze: Whisk together the honey, water, and lemon extract until you have a very light syrup consistency. Using a fine paintbrush, glaze the cookies with the honey-lemon glaze. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
One thing about springerle cookies is that they’re not your typical soft and chewy cookie. The dough is heavy and stiff in order to preserve the intricate embossed details, and the cookie itself is hard like a biscuit or shortbread.
How do you get the design to set? The pressed cookies need to sit out for 24 hours before you bake them. You might think that’s overkill, but it’s actually a good thing. Once these cookies had their 24-hour set period, there was no breaking that design.
To keep up the bee theme, we added a lemon-honey glaze. That glaze seems to give just the right amount of sweetness and sticky-ness to make these cookies tasty and appealing (plus, the kids had fun painting the honey glaze on top).
And voila! Lemon-Honey Springerle Cookies. Do you hear that, spring? We’re ready for you now, and we’ve got the cookies to prove it!
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