I've been thinking a lot about family and tradition. You know, tis the season and yadda yadda yadda. My daughter had to bring a family recipe to class to share. I think that's what started me down this path. She brought a German potato salad recipe that my family has always made. Then the project shifted, and she had to bring in the actual dish for a class feast. Can you believe that potato salad is not that popular of a dish to share in high school? Me neither. Apparently the people who brought in cookies were more well received. Also, a big bowl of potato salad is hard to store in your locker. Lesson learned.
But it got me thinking about more family recipes. It really only takes a generation and bam, there's a new tradition. My family is largely German and English, but came to this country so long ago that old country traditions have meandered a bit. Springerle cookies are German in heritage, but I don't know where this recipe came from. All I know is it's the only one that counts. It has my mom's notes on the side, so it's the real deal. To be perfectly honest, we called them "punishment cookies" which does not exactly sound like a ringing endorsement. They are supposed to sit in a tin for about a month with an orange or apple to soften a bit. However, there was always something slightly addictive about these, so they were gobbled up way before then, rock hard or not. Hence the nickname. They are also anise-flavored, and I know that's a love-it or hate-it flavor for a lot of people. So before I completely talk you out of it, let's get to the recipe.
Translation for the note on the side: use 1 pound confectioners sugar.
I asked my dad to send me the springerle rolling pin. He agreed, but only if I would send him cookies in exchange, every year, forever. Seems like a fair trade to me. I mean, I probably could buy a rolling pin on ebay, but it's not the same if it's not *this* rolling pin, right? You can't just buy traditions.
So now we wait. Or not. They smell so good, maybe just one...