Springerle Cookies

Springerle Cookies
Photo: Lennart Weibull
Makes anywhere from 3 to 12 dozen, depending on mold

Intricately embossed springerle cookies originated in central Europe, where they've been a fixture during the holidays for more than 500 years. House on the Hill, a female-run company in Rosebud, Missouri, is keeping the tradition alive with their hand-carved molds that feature both new designs and replicas of original molds. Once baked, these beautiful cookies will resemble works of art, and have a cake-like texture and buttery anise flavor.


  • ½ teaspoon baker's ammonia (hartshorn) or baking powder

  • 2 tablespoons whole milk

  • 6 large eggs, room temperature

  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened

  • ½ teaspoon fine salt

  • ½ teaspoon oil of anise (or 3 to 4 teaspoons lemon or orange oil)

  • Grated orange or lemon zest (optional)

  • 2 pounds sifted cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for dusting


  1. Dissolve baker's ammonia in milk; set aside about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, beat eggs in a mixer on medium-high speed until thick and lemon-colored, 10 to 20 minutes. Slowly beat in confectioners' sugar, then butter. Add milk mixture, salt, oil of anise, and grated zest, if using. Beat until incorporated.

  2. Switch to paddle attachment and gradually beat in as much flour as you can with mixer, then stir in the remainder to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and, if needed, knead in more flour to make a good print without sticking. (Dough can now be refrigerated in a tightly sealed bag up to 48 hours.)

  3. On a floured surface, roll out dough approximately 1/2 inch thick (or thinner or thicker, based on depth of carving in cookie press you are using). Flour mold for each pressing. Press mold firmly and straight down into dough, then lift, cut out, and place formed cookie on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let cookies dry, uncovered, at least 12 and preferably 24 hours to set design. (Larger cookies and warm, humid weather may require longer drying times.)

  4. Preheat oven to 300°F. Transfer cookies to parchment-lined baking sheets and bake until barely golden on bottoms, 10 to 15 minutes, or more, depending on size. Let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for months, and will improve with age.

Cook's Notes

This recipe uses baker's ammonia, aka hartshorn (available at kingarthurbaking.com), which creates a light and fluffy texture.

The secret to getting sharp details on the cookies is to let the pressed dough rest for 24 hours before baking. This gives the dough time to form a crust which will preserve the design, so be sure not to skip this step.

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