It’s not Christmas time in my family’s house until my dad makes Springerle, an anise-flavored cookie made using special wooden molds that produce a raised image on the top of the cookie. (You can find molds online.) Though there are several different recipes for Springerle, this is the one my family has used since my great-great-grandmother immigrated here in 1903.

– Katie O'Connor, Editor


4 large eggs
1 lb. powdered sugar
3½ cups all-purpose flour, separated
¼ tsp. anise oil*
1 tsp. hartshorn, ground to a powder with a mortar and pestle*

* Anise oil and hartshorn can be purchased in some spice shops and grocery stores or online. Hartshorn is also known as ammonium carbonate or baker’s ammonia.


• Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs until they are light and lemon-colored. Add the sugar to the eggs and continue to beat until well mixed.

• Add 1 cup of flour, the anise oil and the hartshorn to the mixture and mix well.

• Switch the mixer’s paddle attachment to a dough hook. Add 2 more cups of flour to the mixture. The dough will begin to get stiff.

• Stir in the final ½ cup of flour and mix until the flour is incorporated and the dough starts coming away from the sides of the bowl.

• Flour a large wooden chopping block or other flat surface. Lightly flour the molds to prevent the dough from sticking.

• Roll out a small amount of the dough to ¼–inch thick. Place the mold onto the dough and press with a rolling pin to obtain a good imprint. (If you make a mistake or you don’t like the imprint, simply pick up the dough, knead it with your hands and roll it out again.)

• Cut the imprinted dough into individual cookies.

• Place the cut-out squares onto ungreased cookie sheets and let them dry at room temperature overnight or for at least 2 hours.

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

• Bake for about 14 minutes or until the cookies have puffed up on the bottom and the bottom is a pale yellow. Do not brown.

• When the cookies are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool on the cookie sheet.

• Store the cookies in air-tight containers. They will last a long time but will become hard as paving stones – but don’t throw them out! They’re still delicious dunked in coffee or hot chocolate. A slice or two of raw apple in the storage container helps to soften the cookies.