German/Swabian Springerle Cookies

Springerle german imprinted cookies
Jean-Claude Winkler/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 20 mins
24 hour drying time: 24 hrs
Total: 25 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 60 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
76 Calories
0g Fat
17g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 60
Amount per serving
Calories 76
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 15mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 3mg 0%
Iron 0mg 3%
Potassium 14mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Springerle are holiday cookies with raised designs derived from special molds or rolling pins. Popular in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, they most often are made with anise flavoring, but they also can be made with other flavors such as lemon.

Springerle separate into two layers when baked. A yellow-gold foot and a white crust-like top. This comes from the drying process before baking. When allowed to sit for 24 hours, the egg yolk sinks a bit into the dough and a dried crust forms above. If the back of the cookie is still moist, the dough will rise in a low oven underneath the picture, but the picture itself will not, keeping the details imparted by the cookie mold distinct and not distorted. When this happens, the Germans call this the füßle (the little foot). This is different from sugar cookies or other types of lebkuchen.

Springerle should be soft, so store them in a moist place, such as with a slice of apple in a box or in a cloth bag on the porch.


  • 4 large eggs

  • 5 cups (500 grams) confectioners' sugar, sifted

  • 1/4 teaspoon ammonium carbonate, (hirschhornsalz)

  • 2 tablespoons kirschwasser

  • Clear liquid flavorings, to taste

  • 4 cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour

  • Cornstarch, as needed for cookie molds

  • Whole anise, or ground anise, for cookie sheet

Steps to Make It

  1. Using a whisk and a large bowl, beat the eggs until light yellow, thickened and foamy.

  2. Add the confectioners' sugar a spoonful at a time and beat for 10 minutes.

  3. Dissolve the ammonium carbonate in the Kirschwasser. Add any clear liquid flavorings of your choice at this time.

  4. Mix the liquids into the confectioners' sugar mixture and beat another 10 minutes.

  5. Mix the flour in a spoonful at a time. The dough should be about as soft as sugar cookie dough before it is refrigerated. If it is too stiff, mix in a little more liquid.

  6. Knead lightly into a smooth ball, wrap in plastic foil, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

  7. Lightly dust a wooden board or work surface with sugar or cornstarch and, using about 1/4 of the dough, roll it to just under 1/2-inch thick. Keep the rest of the dough covered so it does not dry out. Use a springerle rolling pin or various cookie molds to imprint cookies. Place the mold over the area you want to be imprinted, and bear down hard on the dough.

  8. Cut out the imprinted shapes using a knife, a small roller cutter, a biscuit cutter, or a cutter designed for your cookie mold.

  9. Lay the cookies on a baking sheet or wooden board that has been lightly dusted with sugar or cornstarch. Let dry right side up for 24 to 48 hours.

  10. Before baking, wet the bottom of the cookies by laying them on a clean, moist kitchen towel.

  11. Sprinkle anise on a parchment-lined baking pan and set the cookies on top.

  12. Bake at 300 F/150 C for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 280 F/140 C and bake for another 10 minutes, until the underside starts to gain color. Try not to let the tops brown.

  13. Remove and cool. When cool, you can paint them with food coloring. In earlier times, they even used gold leaf to decorate some of these cookies.

  14. Store the cookies in a covered container with a slice of apple to keep them moist, and enjoy.


  • All ingredients should be at room temperature before you start.
  • You can substitute baking powder for baker's ammonia (ammonium carbonate), but the cookies will not bake up as soft.