The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

A labor of love: Making springerle cookies this holiday season

James Hoeck
Cookies pairing wit a caramel frappe sit by a window on Nov. 5. Columnist Magdalena Neff shares a recipe for springerle cookies to suit the holiday season.

I have always associated the holidays with baked goods. The weeks leading up to Christmas at my house are marked with floured counters and dough balls in the back of the refrigerator. 

I remember coming home from elementary school on the days before my winter break to a warm kitchen and fresh cookies to try. One of the recipes that stood out to me the most in my childhood was old and German, passed down from my grandma’s family. 

Springerle cookies are small and usually square, with intricate designs. They have a crunchy outer layer, a soft middle and a subtle sugar flavor. 

This recipe is definitely a labor of love. It’s tedious and time-consuming, taking three days to achieve the perfect texture and shape, but I believe it to be absolutely worth it. 


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  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 ⅓ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 ½ cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Anise seeds (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of grated lemon zest

To begin, crack all four eggs into a large mixing bowl. Beat the eggs with the confectioners’ sugar and lemon zest until well combined. 

This step is possibly the most tedious in the recipe, but it ensures the cookies have the right texture and airiness. In a separate bowl, sift the cake flour with the baking powder and salt. Any type of sieve or fine strainer will work. For added effect, use a 50-year-old hand crank sifter, but I don’t recommend it. 

Gently fold the sifted flour mixture with the egg mixture until completely combined. 

Segment the dough into two portions, wrap it in plastic and chill for several hours, or overnight for the best results. 

After your dough is chilled, you’ll begin the next portion of the process. Cover your counter with wax paper and dust with cake flour. Place your dough on the floured surface and roll to about ½ inch thick with a rolling pin.

To achieve the traditional springerle form you’ll need a springerle board or a springerle roller, but any dough mold or cookie cutter will work just as well.

If you’re using a springerle roller, flour the surface of the rolling pin, making sure to get into the design. You’ll use it like a traditional rolling pin, applying enough pressure to press the design into the dough. Cut out the individual cookie squares. 

If you’re using a springerle board, flour the surface of the board, making sure to get into the design. Place your flattened dough atop the board and use a traditional rolling pin to roll the dough into the board. 

Flip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut the cookie squares. 

If you’re using a cookie cutter, lay your dough on a flat surface and use the cookie cutter as you normally would.

If you’re fond of the taste of black licorice, you can press a pinch of anise seeds into the bottom of the cookies. You could replicate this with any spice or herb of your choice, or you can leave them plain.

Place the cookies onto a lightly greased baking tray, and cover them with a clean tea towel. This allows the surface of the cookies to dry out, setting in the design. Let them chill overnight.

When the cookies are chilled, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes. When the cookies are done, they will be golden brown and have feet, like macaroons. 

These cookies don’t have a particularly unique flavor, and they take a lot of work. But, if you’re up for a challenging bake, or want something fun to make with someone you love, these cookies are perfect.


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About the Contributor
James Hoeck
James Hoeck, Photo Editor
Heyo! I am James Hoeck, a third-year undergraduate student in photography with a minor in media. I have been a part of Illini Media for two years, starting back in fall 2021. I hold the position of Photo Editor here at The Daily Illini. I also work as Photo Editor for Illini Media’s Illio Yearbook. There is a good chance you will see me out and about on campus taking photos for my personal work or for The DI and/or Illio! If you want to check out more of my work, visit my socials linked below.
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