SPRINGERLE is a German/Swiss/Bavarian molded cookie whose origins date backs centuries. Molds were made of wood, metal, clay, or even hard wax. The first Springerle cookies were anise flavored (black Licorice), as Anise was highly prized for flavor and medicinal applications. Now many new flavors including lemon, chocolate, vanilla and spice are popular. They can be hand decorated with edible paints or glazes.
During the holidays they can function as edible ornaments. At Christmas, our edible ornament cookies can be hung on the tree and each exiting guest can take one home. Or let the children pick the one they want as a small present. They also are perfect for wedding or favors or unique gifts for the party hosts.
Early motifs included animals, daily life, biblical scenes and pagan symbols. The traditional leavening agent for springerle is called Hartshorn (ammonium carbonate) and was originally made from the horns of certain deer. The cookies are good for several months or longer. When first baked they have a slightly hard or crisp exterior and cake like or softer interior. Some people used to age them for a month or so before eating them to make them harder and intensify the flavor. They became like a biscotti.
Some bakers strive for foot or rise of the cookie and others shoot for beautiful molding detail or prints. Modern tastes tend towards the latter.
Our current flavors include lemon, butter spice and chocolate. More to come.
GINGERBREAD (a seasonal item) The first gingerbread was not particularly sweet and contained no fat or eggs so it was like hard tack. It was edible for months and months so it was a favorite or soldiers and nomads. Fortunately gingerbreads have developed into much tastier creatures. The hardness, softness, thickness and spicing vary by locals taste and preferences. Early gingerbread involved use of a starter like sourdough bread. Up until fairly recently gingerbread cookies were to be aged for at least a month before eating.
Ingredients vary slightly to accommodate mold size (we don’t want large cookies to break). Centuries ago Gingerbread cookies were baked and gifted to celebrate betrothals, holidays or other celebrations. Especially in early days when many people could not read. Cities competed to have better gingerbread than competitors, more beautiful molds and such. A good gingerbread starter might suffice as a dowry for a young woman.
We have gingerbread molded in many shapes and sizes from large gingerbread men and ladies, to horses to ornate and highly decorated hearts.
HONEY SPECULAAS (seasonal item) This is a honey, almond cookie popular at Christmas time. The taste is not unlike the windmill shaped cookies you had as a child. In fact the windmill shape was a common motif centuries ago.
At Christmas it is commonly sold in the shape of St. Nicholas. There are many different recipes with different spicing. Ours tend towards the spicier.