History of Springerle

The word springerle, comes from the old German dialect meaning "little knight." Springerle cookies were made for hundreds of years and some of the earliest molds found in Switzerland date back as far as the 14th century. The molds used to make springerle were usually carved from wood or made of clay or metal. Biblical scenes were some of the earliest images portrayed in springerle and were used to educate those who couldn't read or write.

Eventually, other scenes were carved and the cookies soon reflected images of holidays, events and scenes from every day life. The cookies were also used to celebrate births, weddings and used as betrothal tokens. Exchanging springerle during the holidays was a common practice very much like we exchange cards today.

Springerle cookies originated in the German province of Swabia in the 15th century. They were originally baked to honor Church Holy Days, but more recently they have become especially a Christmas cookie. Food historians have suggested that the name "springerle" may have come about because the cookies rise or "spring up" while cooking. Another theory is that they got their name because one of the most popular molds is a picture of a leaping (or "springing") horse. There are several other cookies that are made the same way except for the molding, such as "Wurzburger marzipan," Nuremberg "Eierzucker," and Swiss "anisbritli." (Reference: "The Penguin Companion to Food" by Alan Davidson.)

Springerle Cookie Recipe

1/2 teaspoon baker's ammonia (Hartshorn)
2 tablespoons water
6 large eggs, room temperature
6 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter (a little more or less is okay)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon flavor of your choice (more if desired)
8 cups sifted cake flour
more flour as needed

Recipe Directions:

Dissolve hartshorn in water and set aside. Beat eggs till thick and lemon-colored (10-20 minutes). Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, then the softened butter.
Add the hartshorn and water, salt, preferred flavoring, and grated rind of lemon, lime or orange, if using. Let this mixture mix on medium speed for about 30 minutes or so. At times if I'm busy I let it beat for 40 minutes or more. Gradually beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Turn onto floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a good print without sticking.

After trimming your Springerle allow them to dry for between 16-24 hours before baking. This will allow the image to crust and thus prevent it from being distorted. Large Springerle can take from 24 - 48 hours to dry. Here in the South in the Summer my large Springerle at times seem not to want to dry so I have a fan blow on them and it really helps .
Bake on baker's parchment-lined cookie sheets at 225° to 300° till barely golden on the bottom, 15-30 minutes or more, depending on size of cookie. Store in airtight containers. They keep for months, and improve with age but become hard as rocks. Yield 3 to 12 dozen.
PLEASE NOTE: Some days the dough requires all the flour and others it does not. It varies with the conditions of the day.

Try using various flavors such as anise, almond, lemon, orange, lime, vanilla, vanilla orange, chocolate, chocolate orange, espresso, spice, amaretto or any combination. Any combination or single flavor that you like is the right one. Traditionally anise was the flavor used and it is great with Earl Grey tea.

Jamberg Cookies

1 lb. white sugar
12 eggs
1 oz. bakers ammonia
1 oz. oil of lemon

Dissolve powdered ammonia in one egg; add balance of eggs in sugar and beat 1 hour. Add flour, lemon, and butter. Use enough flour to make a soft dough to roll. Roll out and cut cookies into shapes. Beat white of another egg and brush over top of each cookie with pastry brush. Mix 1 cup chopped walnuts with 1 cup sugar; sprinkle over cookies. Bake at 350 degrees, watching so cookies do not brown.

(1/4 of this recipe is usually made - was used for bell shape cookies for the holidays in many of the Helmen's homes for Christmas.)

Hartshorn German Christmas Cookies

2 c Sugar
1/2 t Salt
1 1/8 c -Shortening
2 Eggs
1 c Milk
1 T Hartshorn
1/2 c Boiling water
2 t vanilla
flour to stiffen
1 oz Anise seeds

1. Mix sugar, salt, shortening, eggs,and milk.

2. In a separate bowl, dissolve the Hartshorn in the boiling water. Make sure it is completely dissolved.

3. Add vanilla and anise seeds to the sugar mixture.

4. Add hartshorn mixture to sugar mixture.

5. Add enough flour to the sugar mixture to stiffen and not to be sticky. It may require 4-5 pounds!

6. Roll out dough on floured surface, and cut with cookie cutters.

7. Bake immediately after mixing in a moderate oven (325-350F) for 10-15 minutes.

This entire recipe will make between 180-220 cookies. One half the recipe is suggested (up to 100 cookies)

Bakers Ammonia Cookies

3 eggs
1 c. shortening
3 c. sugar
3 tbsp. Bakers ammonia
1 pt. milk
7-9 c. flour
1 tsp. lemon flavoring

Dissolve ammonia in a little warm water. Beat eggs, add sugar and shortening, beat mixture until smooth. Add ammonia and milk to egg mixture. Flavor with lemon flavoring. Add flour to make a stiff dough. Roll thin as they rise a lot. Cut in 3" squares. Dough will be soft to handle. Use pancake turner to lift to cookie sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

White Ammonia Cookies (Gruznikje or Pfefferminzküake)

from Mennonite Foods and Folkways from South Russia, by Norma Jost Voth:

2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening or butter
4 level teaspoons baking ammonia dissolved in 1 cup whipping cream
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon oil of peppermint
5 to 6 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Cream sugar and shortening. Dissolve ammonia in cream. Combine cream and
milk. Add peppermint and salt to sugar mixture. Alternate sifted flour with
liquid and beat until batter is very smooth.

Roll out small portions of dough to 1/2 inch thickness on floured board. Cut
with round 2 1/2 inch cutter. Brush with a little water and sprinkle with

Bake on greased baking sheet at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cookies
should not brown on top. Cool.

Baker’s ammonia (ammonium carbonate) should be purchased only in small
amounts as it evaporates quickly if not tightly contained.

Ammonia Cookies

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Ready In: 25 Minutes

2 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons bakers' ammonia
3 cups all-purpose flour

1  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
2  In a large bowl, cream together the white sugar and butter until smooth.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sour cream, milk and
peppermint extract. Combine the salt and bakers' ammonia with 2 cups of the
flour and blend into the mixture. Gradually add more flour to make a stiff
dough. Leave the dough soft for drop cookies or add more flour to make
cut-out cookies. Drop dough from heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie
3  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. When
cool, ice with a simple confectioners' glaze that has been flavored with
peppermint if desired.

Makes 60 servings

Ammonia Cookies

14 cups flour
3 tsp ammonia
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 sticks of butter
1 cup of milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

-Preheat oven to 200 C
-Butter baking pans
-Sift flour
-Beat eggs with sugar
-Add butter
-Dissolve ammonia to milk
-Add milk to batter
-Add flour and knead until dough is smooth
-Form the cookies in any shape you like
-Place them in pans
-Bake for 20-30 minutes


Ingredients :
5 lb. flour
3 c. sugar
3/4 c. oleo
3/4 c. shortening
7 tsp. ammonia powder
4 eggs
2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. anise oil

Preparation :
   Mix well all ingredients until dough is a very smooth consistency.
  Roll dough into balls about the size of a walnut.  Bake at 375
degrees for 12-15 minutes.


Ingredients :
2 1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 c. shortening
3 tbsp. baker's Ammonia
2 c. sweet milk
2 tsp. oil of lemon
1 tsp. salt
5 1/2 c. flour

Preparation :
    Dissolve ammonia in milk.  Cream shortening and sugar, add eggs,
and remaining ingredients using additional flour if necessary to
make it stiff enough to roll.  Roll out, cut out and bake 12

Lemon  Ammonia  Cookies

Ingredients :
2 c. sugar
1 c. Crisco
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1 oz. Bakers ammonia
1/4 oz. pure oil of lemon
1 tsp. salt
2 to 2 1/2 lb. flour

Preparation :
    Cream together sugar and Crisco.  Beat in eggs.  Add ammonia to
milk and stir in additional ingredients.  Bake at 450 degrees.

Ammonia  Cookies

Ingredients :
1 c. butter, not margarine
1 c. shortening
2 1/2 c. sugar
1 lg. pkg. fine coconut
3 c. flour
*2 tsp. Bakers Ammonia

Preparation :
    Cream sugar, butter and shortening.  Mix flour and ammonia
together and combine with creamed mixture.  Add coconut.  Roll into
balls (walnut size).  Bake at 300 degrees until lightly browned 15
to 20 minutes.  *Ammonia:  May be crystallized so crush finely.