Springerle Experiment – Take 2
I’ve been terrible about updating this post, but it’s been a squirrely week for me. I made a batch of Springerle last weekend, with the recipe coming from Ken Hamilton, The Springerle Baker. His recipe is pretty huge, I found out. You really never think about how much mess can come from 6 cups of powdered sugar and 8 cups of flour. I followed his full-length recipe, not the shorter quicker version. This was also the recipe which made me realize I SO NEED A STAND MIXER. My poor little hand mixer got quite the workout. I figured I was starting out well with the eggs!
It took QUITE a lot of work to get all the ingredients in. I had to use numerous bowls to handle the sheer amount of dry ingredients, along with all the sifting involved. WHY I DID NOT JUST CUT IT IN HALF, I’LL NEVER KNOW. Anyway, the dough turned out quite nice. I used the same amount of almond oil in this batch, as I did my original one. Since the batch was SO HUGE, the almond oil was perfect. As an aside, almond oil and almond extract are WAY different. The oil is SUPER concentrated. Seriously. You have NO idea until you actually work with this stuff. But it sure did make for a pretty looking and smelling dough.
Shiny and silky, eh? At this point, it’s actually still a bit sticky, even letting it rest and letting the flour work itself out in the dough. You did know that is why you let dough rest, right? MAGIC THINGS ARE HAPPENING. Once rested, it’s time to start working in the flour until you have a dough which will hold an imprint from the Springerle molds, but not actually stick to them. Or the rolling pin and mat, either.
This is actually one of my favourite parts. I love working the dough. It’s quite the soothing process. And I say this as someone with ZERO patience. This is why I do not often bake; I have a hard time waiting on anything. It’s almost like this dough is more tactile than others I’ve worked with, for regular cookies and such. Maybe it’s because this process is so ritual driven in many ways. Once I had the dough where I wanted it, I decided to try using the extra powdered sugar for the molds. Since flour gets all gooey and cakey with water, it can make for a pain in the arse when things get sticky. With sugar? It’s easily dissolved in water, so you can clean the molds easily. At least, that’s what I read on the internets. ONE NEVER KNOWS IF ONE IS BEING TROLLED.
As it turns out, I was not being trolled! The powdered sugar was quite easy to work with and the dough pulled away from the molds quite easily. The heart mold is pretty shallow, compared to the cat mold, which has the deepest imprinting. All three of my molds turned out great imprints and next to no sticking at all with the powdered sugar.
I also learned that I should bake like-sized cookies on the same sheets. I put all the heart-shaped cookies on one pan. The original recipe for Springerle calls for putting anise seeds under the cookies, with that being the only flavoring. Since most Americans are not fans of Anise, I’m using almond oil. And on the hearts, I sprinkled unsweetened cocoa powder on the parchment paper. For the pan of kitties and ladies, I sprinkled cinnamon on the parchment paper.
I let these sit over night, about 16 hours as it was a chilly and not very humid day. They rose pretty well, and the designs stayed in them while baking. I overbaked the kitties/ladies tray just a bit, but the hearts were perfect. After cooling, I put them all in plastic bags and took them to work.
While everyone was impressed with the designs of the heart cookies, the others were favored for the cinnamon flavor. I held back a whole bag of them, as the flavor is supposed to “ripen” for a week. I took them up to game day at the pub, where lots of people ate the kitty cookies. The flavor did settle in better, and the texture was fantastic. I was asked for the recipe already, and my game group said they’re happy to be my “beta” testers for future batches of cookies.
I started another batch this morning, but using a different recipe, along with some different techniques about working the dough and working the designs. Also? I totally need to crowdsource the money to get a KitchenAid stand mixer. I could send everyone cookies in return. Especially after I start the PAINTING of them! Once I get the recipe I’m happy with and get all the flavors set I want to try, I’ll be sending out lots to people to test.