Five Days of Holiday Traditions

Springerle boards and rolling pins

Tradition #3 is Baking Springerle.  These traditional anise-flavored German Christmas cookies deserve their own spot on our list of holiday traditions.  On Warren’s mother’s side of the family they are the all-time favorite.  Gather the family and bring a container of Springerle and you will see eyes light up and lips licked for a taste of Grandmom Ruth’s specialty, for you see the tradition has almost died out with only Warren and a cousin still making the treat.springerle

By definition, Springerle are white, anise-flavored cookies, made from a simple egg-flour-sugar dough. Usually rectangular or circular in shape, they have a picture or design stamped on the top. The images are imprinted with specially carved rolling pins or flat molds (Springerle presses, or boards).  Warren has been collecting these molds for over ten years.  His great-grandmother’s rolling pin is proudly displayed in our kitchen and was given to her by her husband as a gift brought from Germany in the late 1800’s.  The history of Springerle dates back into the 15th century and started to honor church holy days.  Many of the impressions on the molds are religious,  but in more recent history depict animals, flowers and the modern resin molds even have decorations for holidays such as Halloween.

Most times these cookies are baked for Christmas, as a special treat as the process is springerlecookiestime consuming.  After all in the cookie’s history they were used much as we send Christmas cards today.  Over 40 years ago I was introduced to making these embossed gems.  Warren’s grandmother taught me, using her recipe (Written in handfuls and pounds instead of cups and teaspoons! At least it was English) and all beat and mixed by hand.  The traditional leavening agent in the cookies is Hartshorn, or baker’s ammonia.  This is what makes the Springerle recipecookies “spring up” when baking.  After pressing the design into the cookies they must rest for 24 hours to set the pattern in order to hold it during baking.  Because these cookies have no fat in them they dry out and harden even if sealed tightly, but hardcore Springerle fans will just dunk the cookie and enjoy!

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Five Days of Holiday Traditions

It’s that time of year again, everyone hustling around, busy, busy, busy.  I thought I would that the last few days to talk about some traditions around the inn, and slow the pace if only for a short time.  Traditions are the memories, warm and cozy, of the Christmas of our youth.  They are the passing of time and the passing of life.  I hope you enjoy hearing about some of the things we enjoy and hope you are busy making traditions of your own.

Tradition #1 is Crafted with love.  During December the innkeepers can be found taking some time from the cleaning and cooking to make things homemade; Warren in his craftedwithloveworkshop and Janet crafting cards.  These traditions started many years ago when money was tight and children were small.  Warren loved to make wooden toys and our children loved to play with the wonderful trucks, trains and moving animals their father crafted.  Now Grandpa is very proud and excited that our nine year old grandson is showing an interest and working on a pull toy puppy for his little sister.  In the past he has helped his Grandpa with some hammering and a bit of painting, but this year he has been working with some machines and doing the project himself, with guidance and teaching from Grandpa.  I guess that teaching spirit is just like riding a bike, never forgotten.   It’s wonderful to see the bond that is building over sandpaper and paint.  Meanwhile after the cookie baking and Christmas Open House, Janet will get to work crafting and stamping the Christmas greeting cards to send to family and friends.  She feels it’s one way to relax and keep the stress out of the holiday planning.  makingcards

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