General Directions for Baking and Printing


Size and liquidity of eggs, flour, and weather can affect your dough. Use your senses to decide if the dough will print well without sticking. You may need to use less or more flour than the recipe states.

Prevent Sticking

Brush flour or confectioner's sugar (use flour for cookies and confectioner’s sugar for candy) over mold with a clean, dry pastry brush to prevent sticking.


Most printed cookies are dried 2-24 hours before baking (depending on the recipe, your schedule, humidity, etc.) Drying preserves the image during baking. Test bake one cookie first! It saves grief!

Baking Temperatures

Ovens vary widely! If your test cookie “over puffs” or tilts, reduce heat, put an empty cookie sheet on bottom oven shelf, or prop the oven door slightly ajar with handle of a wooden spoon to wick off heat. For tiny cookies, you may need the temperature set as low as 200 degrees. In general, the smaller the cookie, the lower the temperature. The larger the cookie the longer the baking time. See the baking discussion in our Frequently Asked Questions section.

Printing Cookies

Method #1 - For most cookies
Dough will be rolled approximately 3/8” to 5/8” thick with a plain rolling pin (deeper molds need thicker dough). Brush flour or confectioner’s sugar on the mold image, then imprint with your press (mold), cut out shape with knife, shaped cutter or pastry wheel, then dry and bake. Remember to “press and cut, press and cut” so that adjacent images are not distorted.

Method #2 - For very deep or large cookies
Roll out dough to desired thickness and, using a dry, clean pastry brush, apply flour or sugar and cut a piece of dough the approximate size needed for the mold. Press dough into the mold with fingers, working from center outward. You may lightly roll the back side of the cookie to smooth before turning out of the mold. Trim, dry and bake. To check your print, use light from the side – daylight or light from a floor lamp – so the shadows let you see if your prints are good.


Flat areas of larger cookies are vulnerable to “bubbles” while baking. Simply press then down manually and finish baking.

Hartshorn (Ammonium Carbonate or Baker’s Ammonia)

Hartshorn is an old-time leavening unexcelled for any cookies and produces an especially light, delicate texture. Hartshorn is the traditional leavening for Springerle cookies. Hartshorn can be substituted for baking powder proportionately one-to-one in cookie or cracker recipes. Hartshorn is not affected by age, but it will evaporate.

Doughs made with hartshorn store well, as its leavening action is only triggered by heat, not moisture. There will be an ammonia smell during baking, but it will be baked out of your cookies. (It used to come in a form like rock salt, so old recipes instructed “crush with a rolling pin” then dissolve in liquid.) 

Do not eat the raw dough. You must bake out the ammonia. Don't use hartshorn for cakes and breads. Use only for cookies and crackers when you know that the ammonia will be completely baked out.

Flavoring Oils

Flavoring oils are very strong and pure in flavor. I highly recommend their use in Springerle cookies.

Don’t be alarmed if anise oil crystallizes or congeals. Place the bottle in warm water until it is liquefied and shake.


A helpful video for beginners can be found here:



Perfection Springerle Cookies


These whisked-egg holiday cookies date back to at least the 1600’s and are made in Bavaria, Switzerland and the Alsace area of France. For eating quality, ease and quality of prints this recipe is just perfection!

 What you’ll need:

1/2 teaspoon baker’s ammonia (Hartshorn) or baking powder
2 tablespoons milk
6 large eggs, room temperature
6 cups powdered sugar (1 1/2 #)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of anise oil (if substituting fruit flavored oils, use 3-4 teaspoons)
2 lb. box sifted cake flour (Swansdown or Softasilk)
grated rind of orange or lemon – optional (enhances flavor of the traditional anise or the citrus flavors)
more flour as needed

    Dissolve hartshorn in milk and set aside. Beat eggs till thick and lemon-colored (10-20 minutes). Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, then the softened butter. Add the hartshorn and milk, salt, preferred flavoring, and grated rind of lemon or orange, if desired. Gradually beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer, then stir in the remainder of the 2 lbs. of flour to make stiff dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead in enough flour to make a good print without sticking. 

    It is not required, but I find the dough easier to work with when I refrigerate it for 8 hours before printing the cookies. (Refrigerating the dough is particularly helpful in humid conditions.) Seal the dough tightly in zippered plastic bags and in a sealed container so the dough does not dry out. The liquid ingredients absorb into the flour making it less sticky. You can refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days.

    On a floured surface, roll dough into a flat pancake approximately 1/2 inch thick. Roll thinner or thicker based on the depth of the carving in the cookie press you are using. Shallow carvings will need to be thinner while deeper carvings will need to be thicker. Flour your cookie mold for each and every pressing. Press the mold firmly and straight down into the dough, then lift, cut and place the formed cookie onto a flat surface to dry. (I like to put the formed cookies directly onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, but you may put them on a countertop or tabletop covered with flour sack cloths if you do not have enough cookie sheets.) 

    Do not cover the cookies while they dry. The goal of drying is to set the design. Let the cookies dry at least 12 hours, but you will loose clearness of design. Best is a 24 hour drying period before baking to get a clean print after baking. Larger cookies and warm humid weather may require longer drying times. Cookies that are not dried long enough will not retain the beautiful designs, but will taste fine.

    Bake on greased or baker’s parchment-lined cookie sheets at 255° to 325° till barely golden on the bottom, 10-15 minutes or more, depending on size of cookie. See Baking Times chart below for suggested baking times and temperatures.

    Store in airtight containers or in zipper bags in the freezer. Cookies stored in tins in cool dry conditions are best in my opinion. Tins seal but allow a slight amount of air circulation. Springerle keep for months, and anise flavor Springerle improve with age. Orange and lemon and almond flavors have a fully develop flavor when they are baked and cooled. Yield 3 to 12 dozen. Yields vary greatly depending on the cookie presses you use.

    Baking Times

    Generally, the larger the cookie, the lower the temperature, the longer the baking time. The smaller the cookie, the lower the temperature. But here are some considerations and guidelines for various sizes.

    Ovens vary; some run hot or cold and others have “hot spots”. As a rule, electric ovens have more even heat and are drier, but this is not always the case. Thus, electric ovens may bake the cookies more quickly. Be sure to let the oven get back to the same temperature after opening the oven door and open and close the oven door as quickly as possible. Use the middle rack in most instances – the heat tends to be more even there.

    Be sure to bake only the same size cookie on a single baking sheet.

    The first time you bake a new size cookie, bake a single test cookie. Repeat until you get it right. Better to waste a few cookies than a whole tray. You want the top of the cookie to be very white and the bottom to be slightly golden. Break the baked test cookie in half and make sure that the cake-like texture is fully formed and that no doughiness remains; this is especially important when you use hartshorn (you want to completely bake out the ammonia.)

    If you roll cookies very thinly, reduce the temperatures and baking times. If you have thicker cookies, you may need to add 1 to 3 minutes to the baking times.

    Examples of Baking Times

    Below are some examples of some Springerle sizes and suggested temperatures and baking times. These guidelines assume a cookie thickness of 3/8 to 5/8 inches:

    Basic Size

    Approx 1.5 to 2 by 2 to 2.5 inches – a very common size found in multiple image presses. Examples are M7615 Cassie’s Garden and M4028 Mixed Motifs.
    Bake at 300 to 325 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes.

    Small Size

    Approx 1 x 1 to 1.5 inches. Example is M5736 Petting Zoo.
    Bake at 225 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes.

    When baking very small Springerle, think about popcorn; you want the heat to penetrate very quickly to the center of the popcorn kernel to “pop” or burst the kernel. You do NOT want that to happen to your Springerle, so lower the temperature for slower rising.

    Medium Size

    Approx 2 to 3 by 2 to 3 inches – a common size of single image cookie molds. Examples are M5383 Winter Sleigh Scene and M7444 Jane’s Bouquet.
    Bake at 300-325 degrees F for 12 to 14 minutes.

    Large Size

    Maybe 3 x 5 inches and larger.
    Bake at 290-300 degrees F for 14 to 16 minutes.

    Just increase time on even larger cookies. Do not go above 300 degrees as you will not be able to control the browning as well. Larger cookies-think lower and slower.


    Gluten-Free Version


    What you’ll need:

    1/2 tsp. baker’s ammonia (hartshorn)
    2 Tbsp. milk
    6 large eggs, room temperature
    6 c. confectioner’s sugar (1 1/2#)
    1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened (not melted)
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. oil of anise or almond (OR 2 tsp. lemon or orange oil)
    Approximately 7 cups Flour Blend*
    Approximately 3 tsp. Xanthan gum
    Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon, if using lemon/orange oil in lieu of anise or almond oil (Microplane)
    More Flour Blend, if needed
    Parchment paper
    Waxed paper
    Semi-sweet baker’s chocolate (optional)

    Dissolve hartshorn in milk and set aside for 30-60 minutes.

    Beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored (10-20 minutes).

    Slowly beat in the confectioner’s sugar, then the softened butter.

    Add the hartshorn and milk, salt, preferred flavoring (and zest if using), and Xanthan gum.

    Gradually beat in as much of the Flour Blend as you can with the mixer (switch to a dough hook if using a Kitchenaid), then stir in the remainder of the 7 cups Flour Blend. You’ll need to eyeball this part; depending on which types of gluten-free flours you use in your Blend, it may take more or less. Nevertheless, the dough will need to be fairly stiff — although not dry — in order to “take” the print of the cookie mould(s).

    With a pastry brush, lightly dust the Springerle mould with Flour Blend. It is recommended to dust the mould each time.

    Take about 1/2 c. of dough (more or less, depends upon the diameter of your Springerle mould) and roll into a ball (you will want to dust your hands first). Press the ball into the center of the dusted mould and lightly press outwards to the edge of the mould. Take a small piece of waxed paper, place it over the dough and gently roll your rolling pin over the waxed paper to make the cookie’s depth even. Very gently, begin to peel the cookie away from the mould and place 1 1/2” apart on parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets. If using the large Paschal Lamb mould (5” diameter), you might fit 3 cookies per sheet. My experiment proved that rolling this dough is nearly impossible due to its incredible stickiness! (Perhaps use more Flour Blend?)

    Dry the cookies on the sheet overnight or for several hours. My experiment also proved that, as with wheat-based flour, the cookies do need to dry several hours or else the image will distort, rise too much and crack.

    Bake for about 15 minutes at 275°, or until very lightly golden on the bottoms. This is a ballpark time and temperature, depends on the size of the cookies! Yet if under baked, the cookies will fall apart while transferring them to the cooling rack. Test-bake ONE cookie first!!!

    Store in an airtight container as with wheat-based springerle.

    Optional: melt semi-sweet baker’s chocolate in a double-boiler, and slather melted chocolate on the backs of the cookies. Place them on waxed paper, and when dry, store cookies in between layers of waxed paper.

    Cindy’s Flour Blend (courtesy of Carol Fenster, PhD.):

    4 cups white or sweet rice flour
    2 cups brown rice flour
    2 cups potato starch (not potato flour!)
    1 cup tapioca starch


    Speculaas Cookies


    A holiday tradition in Holland (“windmill cookies”), Belgium, Northern Germany, and Scandinavia. They can printed with Springerle molds that are of a low and even depth.

    What you’ll need:

    3/4 cup softened butter, preferably unsalted
    2 cups brown sugar (spooned, not packed)
    1 egg
    1 cup ground almonds
    2 teaspoons cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon each of salt, cloves, ginger, cardamon, and mace
    2 teaspoons cocoa
    grated rind of one lemon
    3 cups flour
    4-6 tablespoons milk
    shaved or sliced almonds for undersides and milk for tops

    Cream butter and brown sugar together; add egg, almonds, then salt and flavor ingredients, and finally work in flour. Add 4-6 tablespoons milk to make a stiff dough. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes.

    Select cookie molds that are shallow in depth and without fine details. Traditional Speculaas molds often have bold stylized designs. The cookie is meant to be a thin crisp cookie when baked.

    Flour molds (for every use), knocking out excess. If using a wooden mold instead of a resin replica, brush the mold lightly with vegetable oil once only and then flour mold before each pressing. Press dough into mold, then cut excess dough off flush with back of mold with a wire or knife. Unmold carefully onto greased or parchment-lined baking sheet which is sprinkled with the shaved almonds. Brush with milk. No drying is needed before baking.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Yield 30-90 cookies depending on size.

    * Note: If you seem to have some “fading” of pattern during baking try chilling the molded cookies a few minutes before baking.


    Molded Gingerbread Cookies


    This is a softer sweeter gingerbread cookie that will require drying time, unlike the traditional sturdy gingerbread.

    You can easily adjust the spices. For instance, if you are not a fan of cloves, leave them out. Crazy about ginger? Then add an extra ½ to 1 teaspoon.

    Remember that if you use all molasses (instead of molasses and dark corn syrup) to add 4 Tablespoons extra flour as the all molasses version is stickier. 

    Choose a boldly carved mold. Many of the larger molds were originally used for gingerbread or honey cakes.

    Measure into a large measuring cup and mix thoroughly:

    ½ cup vegetable oil
    ½ cup molasses **
    ½ cup dark corn syrup
    2 tablespoons water only if needed

    Put into large mixing bowl and whisk together:

    3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour*
    ½ teaspoon baking soda
    ½ cup sugar
    1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
    ½ teaspoon ground cloves
    2 teaspoons ground ginger
    ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    ½ teaspoon salt

    Now combine the flour mixture and the liquid mixture together either by hand or in a heavy standard mixer using the flat blade (not the whisk). Mix until the dough holds together, adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of water only if necessary to bind the dough. Knead the dough into a solid mass and place into a tightly sealed zipper bag. Let the dough rest for 1 hour or refrigerate overnight. I prefer to refrigerate overnight as it makes the dough easier to work with.

    On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough with a plain rolling pin about ½ to 5/8 inch thick, depending on the depth of your cookie mold. Using a pastry brush, flour the surface of your cookie mold. Press firmly onto the flat surface of the dough and then lift the mold straight up. Re-flour the mold for every pressing.

    For especially large molds, you may want to roll a piece of dough, cut it to the size of the mold and place that piece on top of the mold. Then press firmly into the deepest parts of the carving and then flatten the back by rolling a plain pin over the back of the dough or flipping the mold and dough together and give it a gentle press.

    Cut and place the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Let cookies dry for at least 12 hours. Up to 24 hours is good to help set the pattern.

    Bake at 300 degrees for 12 minutes. Large cookies will need 14-15 minutes.

    Let cookies cool completely before storing in airtight containers. My preference is rectangular cookie tins.

    *If dough is too sticky, knead in small small amounts of flour until it is not sticky to the touch.

    ** You may use 1 cup molasses and no dark corn syrup if you prefer. You will need to add 4 tablespoons of flour since the molasses is very sticky.


    Frankfurter Brenten Cookies


    White marzipan cookies from the Frankfurt area of Germany.

    What you’ll need:

    1 cup almond paste, NOT almond filling
    1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoon flour
    1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon water or flower water *
    1 egg white

    *Rosewater or orange flower water give an authentic European aroma and flavor. I like to substitute vanilla.

    Knead all ingredients into a firm, smooth dough. Gather dough into a flatted round, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, then let the dough rest for one hour.

    Working on a dry work surface dusted with confectioner’s sugar, roll out the dough to a ½ inch thickness. Using a pastry brush, brush the desired cookie mold with confectioner’s sugar and press firmly into the dough. Cut and transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Repeat, brushing the cookie mold for every pressing. Dry cookies for 3-12 or up to 24 hours.

    Bake at 275 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes. The “peaks” on the cookies will turn slightly brown while the remainder stays cream colored. These cookies will be more brown than Springerle cookies because of the higher sugar content. If you want to prevent excessive browning, place an empty cookie sheet on the top shelf of the oven as you bake cookies on the center shelf.


    These are very rich cookies, so they are often made small. Bitter chocolate, melted and brushed on the bottom of baked and cooled cookies, provides a wonderful flavor counterpoint.

    I also tried making the dough in a food processor and found that it worked very well. I broke the almond paste into pieces and put it into the bowl of the food processor with the regular blade. I pulsed until the almond paste was in very small pieces. I then added the remaining ingredients and again pulsed until well mixed, then kneaded the dough until it was very smooth.


    Cream Cheese Butter Cookies


    This recipe will not hold the design as well as most recipes that are designed for molded cookies, but will satisfy those who wish to have a richer, sweeter cookie.

    What you’ll need:

    2 cups flour sifted
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ¾ cup butter, softened
    2 ounces cream cheese
    ¾ cup sugar
    1 egg yolk
    finely grated rind of one lemon or orange
    1 teaspoon lemon oil or orange oil

    Sift together flour and salt. Cream butter and cream cheese together. Gradually add sugar and mix well. Beat in egg yolk and flavoring. Chill dough well – at least 4 hours, overnight is best.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough on floured surface 1/4 inch thick. Flour cookie mold. Imprint, cut cookies and place on cookie sheet. Repeat.

    Bake 10 – 12 minutes till cookies are light brown around the edges. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Cool completely and store in airtight containers.

    Flavor Variations
    Replace lemon with: 1 teaspoon vanilla and ½ teaspoon nutmeg -OR- 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


    Clear Sugar Glaze


    A simple glaze to brush on hot gingerbread just out of the oven.

    What you’ll need:

    2 1/2 cups powered sugar
    2 tablespoon water
    1 tablespoon butter, softened
    1 tablespoon light corn syrup
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla if desired
    food coloring if desired

    Combine sugar, water, butter, corn syrup, and vanilla in a small bowl and mix until powered sugar is moistened. 
    Beat at medium speed until smooth, adding additional water if necessary.
    Tint with food color if desired.

    Use to brush on gingerbread immediately after removing baked gingerbread from the oven.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: Can I Use These Molds With Any Cookie Recipe?

    A: You must use recipes that are designed for use in cookie molds. Recipes that are proportionately high in fat, sugar and leavening will not maintain the imprinted design when the cookies are baked.

    Q: Can I Use All-Purpose Flour Instead Of Cake Flour In The Springerle Recipe?

    A: Cake flour is made of soft wheat flours. All-purpose flour is a blend of hard and soft wheat flours, not as high in gluten as cake flour. Therefore, your cookie will not be as cake-like. All purpose flour will yield a harder cookie: you may need to use less all purpose flour. This is a personal preference. Consider starting with 7/8 of the amount of cake flour if you use all purpose; thus in my recipe calling for 2 pounds of cake flour you would use 1.75 pounds. If you are using measuring cups, use 7/8 of all purpose flour cup for every cup; that is the same as taking out 2 tablespoons per cup.

    Q: When I Baked My Springerle Cookies, The Image "Puffed Up" And I Can't See The Picture. They Looked Fine When I Dried Them. What Happened?

    A: Your oven temperature is probably too hot. Reduce the temperature, put an empty cookie sheet on bottom oven shelf, or prop the oven door slightly ajar with the handle of a wooden spoon to wick off heat. Test bake one cookie of each size first! For tiny cookies, you may need the temperature set as low as 225 degrees. In general, the smaller the cookie, the lower the temperature; the larger the cookie, the longer the baking time at a lower temperature.

    Another consideration is kneading. MAKE SURE that the dough is a solid mass. You must knead the dough so that you have no layers of air in the kneaded dough.

    The layering is more likely to happen on mold designs that have flat areas with no printed design. I.E. When you print the design, the press breaks the dough slightly to allow the release of air. Thus you will always have this problem more often when flat areas are not broken up, so be sure to follow the above tips. You will never be able to entirely eliminate this problem, but  you will have more control. 

    Q: Do I Really Have To Dry Springerle For 24 Hours?

    A: YES. The reason for drying the cookies is simple. Drying allows the surface of the cookie to form a “crust.” This crust will help to maintain the desired image during the baking process.

    It is recommended that after you print and cut your Springerle cookies, you place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Be sure to place “same size” cookies together on the same sheet, as different size cookies will require different baking times and temperatures.  Allow the cookies to dry at room temperature, uncovered.  We suggest you allow them to dry at least overnight. For best results, we recommend 24 hours.

    If you live in an area of high humidity, this may affect the drying time for your cookies. We recommend you place the cookies in the coolest area of your home, using a fan or air conditioning to circulate the air and aid the drying.  A minimum 24 hours drying time is recommended under high humidity conditions.

    There is no concern regarding bacteria contamination due to drying without refrigeration. Because the cookies are baked at a temperature in excess of 200F, any bacteria would be eliminated during the baking process.

    Q: How Do I Keep The Cookie Dough From Sticking In The Mold?

    A: We recommend that you flour the mold well, before each printing. Using a dry, clean pastry brush, simply brush a generous amount of flour onto the mold, paying particular attention to the deepest areas of the image. You must brush the mold for every single pressing. Gently tap the mold to remove any excess. Never use oil or non-stick spray and flour in the molds. Oils will accumulate in the deep areas of the image and will be difficult to remove.

    Q: Can I Refrigerate Or Freeze The Springerle Dough To Bake Another Day?

    A: Springerle dough can be refrigerated or frozen – remember to thaw before use! Refrigerated dough may be kept up to 4-5 days. (I most often make the dough, refrigerate it over night, and form the cookies the next morning.) Frozen dough may be kept up to 3 months wrapped airtight in plastic wrap and/or Ziplock bags.

    Q: How Do I Store The Cookies?

    A: Springerle are meant to be baked in advance. The longer they “age,” the better they taste! Anise flavor develops and mellows over time. Store Springerle in tins with tightly fitted lids. Separate the layers of cookies with waxed paper.  

    Speculaas and gingerbread cookies store well in tins, also, but are best eaten within a week.

    Springerle, speculaas and gingerbread cookies can be frozen after baking, but this is not recommended due to the change in taste and texture.

    Q: What Can I Use To Make Fondant Or Marzipan Stick To My Baked Goods?

    A: You may adhere marzipan or fondant using frosting or corn syrup applied with a pastry brush as “glue” to the top of cakes or cookies.

    Q: Can I Use These Molds For Chocolate?

    A: In general, we do not recommend using our molds for chocolate.  Chocolate is usually poured into flexible molds and House on the Hill molds are NOT flexible.

    Modeling chocolate and chocolate fondant are alternative choices that work well. 

    Q: Can Baked Springerle Cookies Be Painted With Egg Wash?

    A: No – egg wash needs to be baked.

    Q: Can Springerle  Cookie Dough Be Dyed? What Should I Use?

    A: Yes, Springerle dough can be dyed using food color gels. Add gel to dough after you have added about 2 cups of flour.