Makes 6 1/2 Dozen Cookies
4 eggs (medium or large)
1 pound powdered sugar
4 cups sifted flour
1/4 tea spoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoon margarine or butter
3/4 tea spoon anise oil
Beat eggs well. Gradually add sifted powdered sugar, and continue beating. If using an electronic mixer, beat at moderate speed for about 10 minutes, until light and fluffy. During the beating, add the margarine, so that it will be well blended. The margarine will keep the cookies soft. At the end of the beating time, add the anise oil, then the mixture of flour, baking powder, and salt, gradually, and mix the batter well.
Knead the dough gently for a few seconds on floured board. Roll out the dough, with a regular rolling pin, on a well-floured board. Then re-roll, with a well-floured springerle rolling pin, pressing hard to make the designs distinct. Press to a thickness of 1/8 in. Cut apart with a sharp knife, and gently place cookies on a large cookie sheet, 1/2 inch apart. Place clean dish towels over them.
Allow them to remain overnight, or for about 10-12 hours, to dry. Replace them, 1/2 inch apart on greased and floured heavy cookie sheets, and brake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, on middle to upper rack. Do not allow them to brown; they should be pale yellow in color on top, and light brown on bottom. Cool on a cooling rack.
Store in a covered jar for several days before serving. They will stay soft about two weeks. They freeze very well. If these cakes become too hard, keep an apple in the cookie jar.
This recipe is for the well-known German Anise Cookies, also known as Springerlies, which are made at Christmastime and which are stamped with a wooded mold into quaint little designs and figures.