When I was growing up, one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season was eating the springerle my grandma made. Springerle are a German cookie baked with anise, so they have a wonderful black licorice flavor to them. (Stop making that face — they are delicious.) Springerle are also beautiful. The dough is rolled out with special wooden rolling pins into which festive designs have been carved.
Once I was married with my own good-sized kitchen, I decided it was time to bake my own springerle. I followed my grandma’s recipe to a T. Or so I thought. The cookies were awful. They didn’t puff up in the oven. The flavor was flat. And I only had my ordinary rolling pin to use.
So when I found two Indiana sources for springerle, I was thrilled.
The first is the Simply Divine Bakery run by the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, Indiana. The Sisters, who have earned the Indiana Artisan distinction, sell their springerle (pictured above) for $10.75/dozen. In addition to the traditional anise springerle, customers can order almond flavored springerle, though I don’t know why anyone would want to.
You can order your springerle online or visit the monastery in Ferdinand to pick up your cookies. While you’re there, stop by the For Heaven’s Sakes Gift Shop or join the Sisters for the celebration of the Catholic Mass or the Liturgy of the Hours.
The second source for authentic springerle is the Heidelberg Haus in Indianapolis. They take orders online, as well, but you really want to visit for yourself to enjoy the atmosphere of this Germanesque version of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
The Heidelberg Haus is a small building bursting at the seams with German grocery items, pastries and memorabilia. The restaurant has been serving the same menu of German staples since 1969 (why mess with a good thing). If you’re not up for a whole meal, definitely go for the soft pretzel with the spicy brown mustard.
Oh yeah, the springerle. The Heidelberg Haus also sells two varieties of springerle — traditional anise and kirschwasser cherry springerle. Again, why bother? But if you must, you can get a mix of the two varieties. Springerle are sold 2 pounds for $19.80. Other traditional German holiday treats such as pfeffernusse and stollen are also available.
If you know of other springerle bakeries in Indiana, please don’t keep that to yourself. Leave a comment below.