Traditional German cookies with a delicate anise flavor, stamped with special cookie stamps for a lovely bas-relief appearance. Real works of art, these are a hard cookie suitable for shipping and dunking in your tea or coffee.
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
4 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Crushed anise seeds
Beat the eggs with an electric mixer for 10 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients along with the lemon zest and a 1/2 teaspoon of the anise seeds to the egg mixture. Mix well. Cover tightly and chill 4-5 hours. Divide the dough into fourths. Roll 1/4" thick, dust lightly with flour and press with springerle mold*. Cut the individual cookies apart with a cutter wheel. Place them on a lightly floured surface, cover with a towel and let stand to dry overnight. Grease baking sheets and sprinkle them with anise seeds. Brush the excess flour from the cookies, place them on the sheets and bake at 250F for 25 to 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container.
*Springerle, also known as Eierzucker, are shaped with special wooden molds used to stamp designs into the cookies. They can also come in the form of a roller. These items can be found by clicking on the links at right, or by visiting specialty food stores or gift shops specializing in Swiss and German keepsakes. If you cannot find a springerle board, just cut the cookies in squares or cut them with cookie cutters, or use the other popular cookie stamps that are available.
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