These famous Christmas cookies hail from the Swabia part of Germany and can be traced back to the 14th century. This version is a bit of a cheat. Let me explain why.
In the past when making these traditional German holiday cookies I have used hirschhornsalz (Baker's Ammonia) which is a leavening agent. The US equivalent would be baking powder which makes the cookies rise or spring (jump) up.
Also in the traditional version, the roasted anise seeds are scattered on the baking tray and the raw cookie cutouts are gently pressed into them before making. I mixed them into the dough.
Before you decide to make these German traditional Springerle cookies, be aware the cut out cookies must stand for 24 hours before baking.
They taste just as good unpainted but decorating them, even though it adds more preparation time, adds a bit of holiday magic to this anise and lemon scented German traditional holiday cookie recipe.
The wood molds can be hard to find in the USA and are expensive to buy from boutique websites. Try eBay or Amazon for more affordable options.
I used paste food coloring, edible gold and silver dust and disco dust to decorate the cookies because you know I liked my baked goods sparkly. However, they do look beautiful un-painted as well. I like to place the unpainted ones on a colorful, decorated holiday platter for contrast.