Baker’s Spotlight: Aaron Harries and Springerle Cookies

Baker’s Spotlight: Aaron Harries and Springerle Cookies

Baker’s Spotlight: Aaron Harries and Springerle Cookies

Aaron Harries

Kansas Wheat Commission

KS Wheat Growers

Some cookies are head and shoulders above others at Cookie Swaps, holiday gatherings or as a gift. Springerle Cookies are definitely one of them and put Aaron Harries, VP of Research and Operations for the Kansas Wheat Commission and KS Wheat Growers in our spotlight!

Photo Credit: King Arthur Baking Company

Springerle Cookies are a traditional German or north Alpine Christmas cookie that requires the use of molds with intricately carved designs. Traditionally the cookies are anise flavored, but any flavor can be used. 

“In my family, if I want to eat springerle, I’m the one who has to make them. These cookies are a labor of love and take time to make.  My German grandma used to make them and then my mom continued the tradition. My mother used to roll out the dough on flour-sack towels dusted with flour.  She would then cut the dough into triangles and let the cookies dry overnight.

She did not own any Springerle molds. That was a discovery I made when I became an adult. I now have a small collection of molds. I bake them for Christmas and Easter using the appropriate molds for each occasion.”

Aaron recommends the springerle history found at The Spruce Eats website.

Over time Aaron has opted for baking springerle with powdered sugar and cake flour, much like found at this website by Ken Hamilton and rich with information and history.

Worth noting: In old-time springerle recipes Hartshorn or Baker’s Ammonia (ammonium carbonate- single-acting- activated by heat only) may be called for as leavening.  Baking powder can be substituted 1 for 1 if needed.

“The recipe I use is not the recipe my mother used when I was a child, but it is very similar. My mom’s recipe used granulated sugar and all-purpose flour. The texture of the cookie with powdered sugar and cake flour is finer than the texture of my mom’s recipe.  Both are delicious.”

Aaron’s personal touches to the springerle recipe:

-Adding 1 teaspoon of baking powder, reducing the baking time to 10-12 minutes.

-For flavoring, I use 1 teaspoon anise extract + 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (Some bakers omit the extract and put whole anise seeds on the cookie sheet under the cookies while they dry.)

-I freeze my springerle cookies after they come out of the oven and cool. This preserves the soft texture which is how I prefer them. However, you can store the cookies in an airtight container for weeks. The cookies will dry out and become perfect for dunking in coffee. Their flavor also intensifies as they age.

Aaron recommends the Kitchen Vixen recipe here.  You’ll love her springerle demonstrations too!   

Need molds for this specialty?  Aaron recommends this site for its wealth of information about Springerle cookies and molds. HBA member King Arthur Baking is a great source for tips and molds as well.

Check out this wonderful recipe for Springerle in the Home Baking Association recipe database

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