Source: Beerli Family Recipe cir. 1940’s
Anise Christmas Cookie
Another wonderful vintage, heritage recipe passed along to me from my lovely father-in-law. The Anise cookies (Anisbrötli) are an incredibly old, German original recipe. They are said to date back to the 14th Century and originated from what is now known as the Schwarzwald area in Germany. Very close to the Swiss border indeed.
The original German name is “Spingerle”. These cookies held a holy connotation to all back then, and the cut-out’s were made with a ceramic mold. Most old ceramic molds had a religious motif. Today, anisbroetli are a typical German-Swiss Christmas cookie. You’ll see that over the several hundred years, they’ve changed a bit in shape. Many options today represent the anisbroetli. For example, the simple form as my cookies show is option number one. The ceramic ‘stamps’ are also still available as option number two. Finally, you have the Chrabeli form which is similar to a ‘twig’. It’s made all the same (dough wise), but the chrabeli are rolled into a long thin stick, then cut into 3″ strips, and then 3 slits along the spine. You slightly round the shape to a half-moon and set it to dry. It’s shape when baked is that similar to a twig.
All of these old Beerli family recipes are kid friendly and the kids love assisting during these festive times. I make these little treats every year. They are a harder type of cookie due to the fact that the recipe contains no butter, just lots of eggs and sugar. Additionally, once you roll them out and cut them, it’s suggested that they stand overnight, (or 24 hours) which brings an additional dryness to the cookie. I love these cookies though. The anise undertone is just right, quite subtle, so don’t think of omitting the anise for any reason, ‘cuz then you just have a sweet, hard cookie. Trust me, you’ll love the anise too.
Anisbrötli or Anise Cookie
- 500 Grams sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp anise seeds anise gives great flavor, and keeps this cookie unique
- 500 Grams white flour
- With the wire mixer attachment, mix the sugar with the 4 whole eggs, and beat until it foams. (about 5 min.)
- Change your attachment to the batter attachment and add the anise seeds and the flour mixture together with the sugar and egg mixture. Pulse until well combined.
- On a well floured surface, roll out the dough until it’s about 1/4″ thick
- select your cookie cutter shapes, and begin to cut the dough, placing the finished cuts on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet. note: keep cookie cutters well floured on the base to avoid sticking
- Your cookies will now stand over-night or for 4 hours minimum so they air dry.
- Pre-heat oven to 200 Celsius, and bake for 15-20 min, until they begin to slightly brown around the edges. Take out, cool, and can be stored in paper-lined cookie tin during the holiday season.