Amanda & Merrill

Biscuit Meets Biscotti (Meets Very Unexpected Technique)

December 10, 2010

My grandmother, Helen Getz, turns 94 today, and she's as sturdy and charming as the springerle cookies she makes this time of year. What, you've never heard of a springerle? Now's your chance to learn all about this lovable German treat.

Helen Getz's Springerles

But first, the truth: when I was young, why anyone would eat a springerle, a hard anise-and-lemon scented cookie, was incomprehensible. It was white and not at all buttery. It did not melt in your mouth, but assaulted you with an intense flavor called anise! It showed up at Christmas and could linger in the cookie jar until Easter, giving my mother an excuse not to make any other cookies until they were gone. And the adults who liked them were obviously misguided.

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I have grown wiser with age and have come to appreciate springerle’s defensive façade. Its anise seed is balanced by lemon. Its patterned top is a thing of beauty. It’s the under-appreciated German cousin to biscotti. Moreover, I now have an actual appreciation for method and springerles are all about method.

Springerles are typically made using either springerle molds or a springerle rolling pin (but you don’t have to have them, so don’t give up). After patting (or rolling) out the dough, you use the mold or springerle rolling pin to imprint the top of the dough with shapes and designs. You cut the dough into rectangles, set the cookies on baking sheets, and then comes the odd-ball part: you let the cookies sit out overnight to dry out the dough before baking. (Is this safe? I don’t know. I’ve eaten them my whole life and I’m still here)

Finally, when you bake them, you do so at a low temperature so the cookies never brown. And after all that, you’re left with a hard, fragrant chip that’s as beautiful as a majong tile and a perfect partner to eggnog and warm milky tea.

Helen Getz’s Springerles

Makes about 24 cookies

2 eggs 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 cup sugar 
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons crushed anise seed or fennel seed 
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

View the entire recipe (and save and print it!) here.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


Dee December 11, 2015
My husbands aunt made these every year. I loved them for the flavor and also used them when my daughters were teething, they loved them and we never used any thing else the whole time they were cutting their teeth.
Patricia M. December 8, 2015
Ellen - my grandmother made these and I remember them from when I was a little girl. My mother, all my aunts made them and I started making them a little over 50 years ago. Not everyone likes them but those of us who do look
forward to Christmas. They are definitely an acquired taste. I have never
added the lemon so may try it next time. I've already made 3 batches this year. Next cookie to make is Lebkuchen - another German cookie that I didn't like as a child, but now they are delicious!
Jilllaur December 5, 2015
My Mom made these. She wet the bottoms and set in anise seeds before baking. My husband called them the "rock hard cookies with bird seed on the bottom"! No problem, there was more for me?
AntoniaJames November 26, 2012
Starting this year"s Springerle tonight. It's become my annual ritual for launching the December holiday season!! ;o)
Amanda H. November 26, 2012
How nice to hear this! The great thing about an early Thanksgiving -- more time for holiday baking!
AntoniaJames November 26, 2012
Ah yes! The luxury of a full extra week. I am soooo looking forward to this. ;o)
AntoniaJames December 11, 2011
These are the best! I made a batch right after Thanksgiving that I've just started eating. (They last forever, tasting better after a few weeks.) I used the springerle mold my mother had when I was a girl, which is the only thing from her kitchen that is now in mine. I use Penzeys' anise seeds from Spain, which have a bright, beautiful freshness about them, and Meyer lemon -- though I had to buy the lemons, as the Meyers here are very late in ripening this year. These springerle are perfect with hot chai on these bleak winter days. ;o)
Amanda H. December 28, 2011
All of your adjustments and tweaks sound terrific. Makes me want to bake these right now!
Sagegreen December 28, 2011
This year I used an organic unbleached cake flour for my springerles; it turned out really well! I will be gilding some for the New Year!
tbpromo July 25, 2011
My Great Grandmother made these every year...and I can still taste and smell them...but still haven't mastered them! Have her old molds and will try your recipe. Her recipe listed a nickles worth of and a dimes worth of's hard to figure that out in 2011 when she made them in the early to mid 1900's! Thank you!
Paul H. December 13, 2010
A dear friend of my mother made these every year for Christmas, when I was a kid. Not everyone enjoyd hem so I always had them pretty much to myself. What lovely memory and time to make them again.

Thanks for the memory!
Amanda H. December 21, 2010
You're welcome.
alexa_van_de_walle December 13, 2010
My mother still has a springerles rolling pin. Long survived her divorce from my father in the 70s -- he's of German/Belgian descent. Will ask her to borrow and try your recipe. For fun, check out the vintage springerle rolling pins and molds over on ebay -- magnificent! Thanks for this post.
Lexi (
mnr_t December 13, 2010
Love these! My grandmother's recipe includes hartshorn (ammonium carbonate) which you can only get from a drugstore (tho' I now use baker's ammonia!) Gives a bit of a rise to the dough -- and makes the dough itself less snackable :) My mom always made these in August for maximum crispness! I always warn recipients -- hated them as a child, love them now 50 some-odd years later.
Smaklig December 13, 2010
Every year at Christmas my aunt would give my dad a ziploc bag filled with Springerle because she knew they were his favorite. They were perfect little tiles, each with an imprint of a flower or a bird, just too beautiful to eat! My dad would make them last for months! Sometimes we'd find them in a drawer under a pile of papers and if we were lucky he would share. They really do last that long, a delicate crunch on the outside and slightly chewy inside and that special anise flavor; my aunt would sprinkle some of the seeds on the board before rolling them out.
Amanda H. December 21, 2010
Thanks for your comment -- glad to find others with springerle memories.
wmnofoz54 December 12, 2010
My mother made Springerle, Liebkuchen and Pfferneusse every Christmas. My ancestors were mostly of German descent and those cookies always signaled the beginning of the Christmas season around our house. My Mother is 99 now and unable to do the cooking, so my sister and I will carry on the tradition. What wonderful memories this blog brought back to me. I could never wait til these cookies softened up enough to eat, so dunking them in hot tea was a special treat for the holidays. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good cookie. :o)
Amanda H. December 21, 2010
Thank you for your lovely comment. Happy holidays!
fortyniner December 12, 2010
Amanda - What an interesting little cookie. I happen to have all the ingredients on hand and out of sheer curiosity am going to make these. I have never heard of them, or seen the rolling pins or cookie moulds, but I am sure they will still be edible without the decorations on them! I guess I could always buy some of the scottish shortbread biscuit moulds though.
Amanda H. December 21, 2010
No need to have the rolling pin -- that's just for show!
chava December 12, 2010
My mother had a friend who baked these each year - and insisted that they were only hard "at first." If you left them in the cookie jar for a week or two, she said, they get easier to bite.
Amanda H. December 21, 2010
Haven't had that experience, but certainly if your house is humid, the cookies will soften a bit.
MakeThatMakeThis December 12, 2010
This is such a charming recipe. Thank you for sharing. I'm looking forward to making them with my own Grandma (96) this Christmas.
Amanda H. December 12, 2010
Have fun with it -- it's a forgiving dough.
Savorykitchen December 12, 2010
How do you pronounce "springerle"?


etc. etc.

Please advise - thanks!
Amanda H. December 12, 2010
I pronounce it spring-err--LEE.
Savorykitchen December 12, 2010
Riverguyd December 12, 2010
Ahh! too funny! I had a German Deli for some years and always carried these at Christmas. The German descendant patrons always snatched them up...but I was always issuing refunds to the run of the mill population.
Amanda H. December 12, 2010
Very funny. Definitely an acquired taste/texture.
mcs3000 December 11, 2010
It's so nice to see this post about your grandmother, Amanda. I loved the stories about her in your book. Best birthday wishes to her. If I ever get a springerle rolling pin, I'm going to make her recipe first. Great video too - and tree.
Amanda H. December 12, 2010
Thank you -- my grandmother will be pleased to hear it!
amysarah December 11, 2010
When I was little, my mother had a beautiful carved wood rolling pin for Springerles - not that I recall her ever using it. I wonder if she still has it, and if so I may have to liberate it from her. I know anise is the classic, but I have a lifelong aversion to anything in that flavor group (anisette, pernod, ouzo, even fennel unless used very sparingly - as a kid, I was black Good & Plenty-phobic.) So, is there any other flavoring you'd recommend as a substitute? Cardamom maybe?
Sagegreen December 11, 2010
I am going to be experimenting with some lavender ones. Probably will also do some with almond oil and some with cinnamon oil. Lemon, lime and orange are other great flavorings. Cardamom works really well with orange. These will be such fun!
Sagegreen December 10, 2010
I know these usually are left white, but one of the things that I most enjoy with springerles is painting them with natural coloring! They make gorgeous ornaments either way. Lemon and orange cardamom are great flavors, too. I wonder how lavender or rose would taste. This week while other folks are busy with dinner rolls, I may do some of these instead as gifts.
Amanda H. December 11, 2010
I've never painted them before -- like that idea.
Sagegreen December 11, 2010
If you make holes in each cookie, you can hang them and decorate an entire tree as decoration as some folks do with gingerbread. When they are painted, they truly are edible art!
Amanda H. December 11, 2010
Elycooks December 10, 2010
Oh my, I haven't thought of these in years. I grew up next door to a famly that made these every holiday. I became obsessed with the rolling pins and collected them at an early age. Wonderful dunked in hot tea!
Amanda H. December 11, 2010
Would love to see your collection! I like them with Earl Grey (with milk and raw sugar).
Kitchen B. December 10, 2010
There's a fantastic kitchen shop closing down near where I live and last Sunday, I bought a 'fancy' rolling pin..........Guess what it was? Oh yes, a springerle one!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for adding yet another cookie to the genre of European bakes and very best wishes to your Grandma
Amanda H. December 11, 2010
Maybe you're psychic!