Edible Arte: Springerle Cookies
Springerle are white, anise-flavored cookies with a picture or design imprinted on the tops by specially carved rolling pins or flat molds. Sometimes the raised designs are also painted to enhance their appearance. A regional specialty of German Schwabia, Springerle are also baked in Alsace, Switzerland, Bavaria, and Bohemia. With roots in the pre-Christian era, Springerle are among several kinds of cookies shaped, molded, or decorated to depict animate or inanimate objects. The designs embossed on the tops of Springerle include religious figures, plants and animals, secular motifs, and symbolic images. The carving of wooden Springerle molds is an art in itself, and many European museums have collections of historical cookie molds. Today Springerle are traditionally baked for the Christmas season, although the motifs on historical molds indicate that these cookies were also made for religious holidays and secular events throughout the year in northern Europe.