Friday, December 12, 2008
It seems like I'm reading everywhere about peoples trials with baking macarons but I am going though my own trials with a beloved cookie, springerle. Springerle are these beautiful german cookies that are imprinted with wonderful delicate little pictures made from molds. A lot of times they are printed with pictures of animals, and I associate them with all the Bavarian wood carving/black forest/Brothers Grimm types of things I love.
They are supposed to puff up in the oven and are like a macaron in that they should have an outside that has a little crunch but should be chewy inside, but very light. I usually find them at church bake sales, made by grandmothers. How those ladies get them so light and fluffy I don't know!
Last Christmas I got a rolling pin mold so had to try them this year. I was prepared for them to be tricky but I think my my first batch was a little doomed from the start. For one thing all the recipes say you need something called 'hartshorn', which satisfyingly is something that is extracted from deer antlers. It is a perfect potion ingredient? And it adds a little more wild forest spirit mystery to these cookies, I think. Sadly I didn't have any of that (actually I found out later I do), nor did I have six cups of powdered sugar, or enough white flour, so I had to use regular sugar and, worse, whole wheat pastry flour. It's very sad to end up with pounds of dough that you feel like is going to be a total failure, but I pushed on!
Printing them was a lot of fun. After you cut out the cookies they are supposed to sit out and dry for 24 hour before you bake.
In the end they DID puff up, but not very evenly, more in the center, which made a lot of the pictures fade. They filled the house with a lovely anise aroma and they taste pretty right, but the texture is all off and they don't look as appealing as they should. I think they look too bready, and taste too heavy. But I'm going to try again! I got a big bag of powdered sugar and I'm going to make sure I have cake flour this time before I start. In the mean time we have about two dozen cookies to get though, good thing they get better with age!
Posted by Julianna at 2:40 PM