Springerle rolling pin cookies

Posted: Wednesday, December 16, 2009

4 eggs

My grandmother's old wooden springerle rolling pin, given to me by my mother, and the carved antique butter/cookie mold (circa 1890s), a gift from Hilton Head Islander Joan Nahikian, detail the old-world beauty of delicious springerle cookies. Replica springerle rolling pins and molds may be purchased from King Arthur Flour, 1-800-827-6836.

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups granulated sugar

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon anise extract

3 large whole star anise, crushed, or 2 teaspoons crushed anise seed

In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs until light.

Add sugar and butter and cream until well blended.

In a separate bowl, sift flour with baking powder and salt.

Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, in thirds. Stir in anise extract and crushed star anise, or anise seeds, if using.

Remove dough from mixing bowl and knead on a lightly floured board until dough is smooth. (If dough is too sticky, add more flour, a little at a time.)

Divide dough into 2 disks and wrap with plastic wrap; chill for 1 hour. Remove one of the disks from the refrigerator and roll to a thickness of 1/2-inch on a lightly floured surface. Roll again with a springerle rolling pin, pressing hard enough to make impressions onto the dough. Cut out designs, at borders, with a pastry wheel. Place cutouts on a wire rack. Remove second disk from refrigerator and repeat process, again placing cutouts on the wire rack.

Allow cutouts to dry on rack, overnight.

The next day, place cookies on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 15 minutes. (Cookies will not brown.)

Cool completely on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. The anise flavor in the cookies will improve as they age.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

*Kitchen Ade note: A cookie mold may also be used to shape springerle cookies.

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