Christmas Treat-Springerle

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Memories of family traditions and Christmas cookies.

There is a family story where someone’s ancestors wound up in Ohio from Germany in the late 1800’s. They went on to preserve their customs. As a matter of fact, it was stated that German was spoken in the home when all of the children were small. The Grandmother made traditional cookies every Christmastime, sending off plates and packages of them to neighbors and acquaintances. She sent off packages of the treats to her boys and girls as they grew up and traveled away from home. Subsequently one of the girls in the family made these cookies annually as well. There are fond memories of helping in the kitchen and then fixing plates and packages of cookies for our neighbors and acquaintances. There was no gift in return ever expected. This family did this because it was tradition.

When the youngsters grew up and moved away, the mother would send packages of Christmas treats. One of the daughters started a family tradition with her youngsters of making cookies to give, likewise, but she didn’t have a suitable traditional rolling pin , profoundly carved with ,pictures which you push into the (densely rolled) dough. She utilized an inexpensive modern one with machine -cut cuttings, very oversimplified and shallow. Her mother passed away some years later.

She printed a family cookbook of her favorite recipes for all her brothers and sisters. It included the Christmastime cookie recipes, which she and her youngsters faithfully made. But her brothers woefully complained that their wives had Christmastime customs of their own, and were not about to bring in new recipes. So, as the firstborn daughter, she started sending packages of the traditional cookies to loved ones. It wasn’t till later that she found her

Grandmothers rolling pin. It has rich, elaborate carvings and is very old. Now she uses that rolling pin, and the family recipe for cookies:


4 eggs
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups white sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup anise seed



Beat eggs in large mixing bowl until very light.
Add sugar and butter. Cream together until light and fluffy.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients and combine.
Knead dough until smooth … add more flour to get smooth dough if necessary.

Cover dough and allow to chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Roll onto slightly floured board to 1/2 inch thickness. Then roll again with springerle roller to make designs. Cut at border. Sprinkle anise seed on clean tea towel and place cookies on this. Allow to stand overnight (don’t cover) to dry. Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).
Cool completely. Store in tight tin container … the longer they are stored, the more anise flavor they take up.

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