From the category archives:


Valentines Sugar Cookie Test

by connie on January 30, 2019

Are you hibernating this week? This frigid weather is the perfect time  to do some test baking. I have fielded many a question about the use of a regular sugar cookie dough that can be used in the cookie molds. I will be testing several “sugar cookie” recipes to see if they will maintain a good imprint after baking while still having a nice taste and texture. You will be getting my thoughts and opinions and perhaps you will be inspired to test some of these recipe adaptations with your cookie molds.

So what are some doughs that might work? Generally, it is a given that cookie doughs that are high in fat and sugar will spread and rise.  A perfect example is a typical chocolate chip cookie dough which performs in exactly that manner. Sugar cookie recipes that have you scoop a ball or drop a blob of dough onto the cookie sheet are going to perform in the same manner. So, not likely to work well. Cookie doughs that have a higher proportion of leavening will rise more and cause more distortion to the printed design. Again, no. However, very stiff doughs like Springerle dough and higher flour ratio dough like gingerbread dough do work. And some doughs that use liquid sweeteners like honey, molasses and corn syrup have been shown to hold prints better.

For my first adaptation, I decided that I would  try a sugar cookie and adapt  a ginger cookie recipe that I had tried once many years ago with moderate success. It held the design okay, but not as well as I had hoped and I never got back to tweaking it. In this version I lowered the leavening (baking soda) , increased the flour slightly and of course changed the flavor profile by using light corn syrup instead of dark corn syrup, and vanilla and nutmeg instead of ginger, cinnamon and cloves. I did a very small batch for testing.

Here is the formula for this trial recipe:

  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Put sugar, corn syrup and water into a medium saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils and sugar has dissolved. Remove pan from heat. Stir butter and vanilla into the sugar mixture and stir until butter is melted and mixture is no longer hot.
  2. Whisk together the flour, nutmeg and baking soda. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture and stir to blend thoroughly. Place dough in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight or at least 12 hours and up to 4 days.
  3. Heat oven to 375 (see variations in temperature in test notes). degrees F. Remove about one third of the dough and knead until it is slightly softened. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness (see variations of thickness in test notes). Place cookies on an ungreased shiny baking sheet. Scraps of dough may be kneaded together thoroughly and reshaped.
  4. Baked until there are light brown edges on the cookies, about 7 minutes for thin cookies.  Allow cookies to cool slightly before removing them and place them on a wire rack. Cool thoroughly.
  5. Store cookies in an airtight tin.


  1. Rolled 3/8 inch deep, baked at 375 degrees F for 7 minutes.
  2. Rolled 1/4 inch thick, baked at 350 degrees F for 6 minutes, then dropped cookie sheet on counter and baked an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Rolled 1/4 inch thick, chilled in freezer 5 minutes, baked at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes.
  4. Rolled 3/16 inch thick, chilled in freezer 5 minutes, baked at 350 degrees F  7 minutes.
  5. Rolled 3/16 inch thick, chilled in freezer 5 minutes, baked at 325 degrees F  8 minutes.
  6. Rolled 3/16 inch thick, chilled in freezer 5 minutes, baked at 325 degrees F  6 minutes, then dropped cookie sheet  and baked for 2 more minutes.

My Thoughts and Opinions

I was pleased with the design definition in all cases; but the least defined sample was #1 which prompted me to roll the dough more thinly for tests # 5 – 6. In fact the definition is much the same in # 2 – 6 and the best of these was #5.  The higher temperature of 375 browned very quickly, so if you want a whiter cookie, go with a lower temperature. In samples 2 and 6 I dropped  the cookie sheet to deflate the rising and then finished baking the cookies and found this to be unnecessary because it did not make the design that much sharper.

Sampling for taste and texture, I found that # 3 was drier (too thin??) and # 6 was a bit tougher, most probably because of more reworked dough. I thought the taste of all the cookies was similar, but wished  I had added more vanilla and think I will try a classic sugar cookie combo of almond and vanilla or lemon and vanilla on my next effort.  These were all soft in texture, rather than a crisp cookie. If you would like a crisper cookie, you could bake 1 – 2 minutes longer, but this cookie would get much browner than a Springerle because of the higher butter and sugar content. But that might be your preference.

My personal choice: number 5 with nice definition and a pleasing texture and taste.

If you decide to try a new cookie recipe or make adjustments, keep careful notes on your changes so that you can decide which changes make the best impact on your cookies.

Stay Warm and Happy Baking,



How Thick to Roll Springerle Dough?

by connie on August 24, 2018


Many of you have questioned me about how thick the dough should be rolled before you apply the cookie mold and press. The single most common error I see when teaching Springerle classes is that students roll their dough  to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick as if they were making sugar cookies. The dough for Springerle cookies must be rolled at least 3/8 inch thick and I often find that 1/2 is a good thickness for deeper molds and very deep molds may require the dough to be even thicker.


Above, I have shown the top surfaces of two cookies made with the same mold. Though they are different images from the mold (M7615 Cassie’s Garden) shown at the right, the carving on all images has similar depth. Both cookies have a nicely defined print after baking. You will note that there is somewhat more distortion on the right hand side cookie: the sides are slightly puffed in places, the top is slightly  more domed and the rectangular shape is not as even. More dough and more rising will mean more distortion, so too thick is also problematic.


Take a look at the red arrows, which shows the thickness of the pressed cookies before they were baked. The dough on the left was thinner, and the dough on the right was thicker.

Take a look at a side view of the two broken cookies. Both thicknesses are fully baked with a fully formed dense cake like texture. On the left thinner cookie, most of the leavening has occurred on the bottom half of the cookie. The thicker cookie is more domed on the top; because there is more dough it has risen more on both the top and the bottom of the cookie. For both of these cookies the thickness of the dough was plenty deep enough to get a full impression of the carving. In my mind, these are both good thicknesses. They have both risen so that they are not hard discs, they have nice clean impressions and they have a dry cake-like texture.

But, the thinner cookie will get drier and harder more quickly, while the thicker cookie will stay somewhat softer which makes perfectly good sense. Personally, I prefer the thicker cookie. I am willing to have a slightly less perfect end result on the image and have a softer cookie. This decision ends up being a personal preference, so you will have to decide how thick to roll the dough to meet your preference.

So the thickness you roll Springerle dough will differ depending on:

  • must be thick enough to to get a full impression of the carving plus have a minimum depth of 1/4 inch after pressing
  • if you are  very strong and apply heavy pressure with the mold, roll the dough more thickly
  • your personal preference about a harder or softer cookie
  • your personal preference about how “perfect” you want the cookie to look

Some practice and experience will help you determine the best thickness for you.

Happy Baking! Connie


How many cookies will I get?

by connie on October 17, 2017

People often ask me “How many cookies will I get from a Springerle batch?” There is no easy answer when there are so many variables.

Here are some guidelines using my recipe, which has 6 eggs, 2 pounds of flour and 1.5 pounds of confectioners sugar plus the other small amount ingredients. If I make the entire batch into cookies that measure about 1.5 x 2 inches I will get about 110 to 120 cookies. This is a very common size cookie for a multiple press and a cookie size that I most often make, as it works well for  class samples, open houses and packs nicely into rectangular tins for shipping.

Often, you may want to use more than one of your molds. In the batch shown in the above, I made 60 of that standard 1.5 x 2 inch size, 17 rectangular cookies approximately 2.25 x 2.75 each and 20 round cookies approximately 2.5 inches in diameter. I used about half of the dough to make the first 60 cookies and the remaining half of the dough to make those 37 cookies. Mathematically, this makes sense, as those larger cookies are almost twice as large as the smaller cookies.  The entire batch if made in the larger 2.25 x 2.75 cookie size would yield about 72 cookies.

Beyond the size of the cookie, here are some of the variables that will impact the yield in the number of cookies from this batch:

  • Thickness of the dough – you will get more cookies if you roll the dough more thinly and fewer cookies if you roll the dough more thickly.
  • Mold shapes – there will be less waste and less reworking of the dough when you use rectangular multiple molds.
  • Round or irregular shapes (such as hearts) will require more reworking of the dough and you will end up with more waste and thus a lower cookie count yield.

I hope these tips will help you as you plan your holiday baking. If you have a  large collection of molds, keep notes on how many cookies you get from a particular mold. You might divide your dough into quarters and use 4 molds to see how many cookies  you get of each mold or molds of a similar shape and size.

If you use a different recipe, don’t forget that the amount of the dough may be different too.

Happy Baking!




Cleaning Cookie Presses

by connie on August 8, 2016


So you’ve made a few batches of pressed cookies and they are safely drying on the dining room table. The work is not over. It’s time to clean your cookie molds. You want to treat both original wood carvings and resin/wood molds just as you would any fine wood product.Read on. Of course it is easier to clean them right after use, but I’ll give you some tips in case you let the dough dry into the corners of the carving too.

BrushSoapyWaterStart by preparing a bowl of warm soapy water and collecting some terrycloth towels and a mushroom brush. The mushroom brush is a soft bristled brush that has enough surface area  to clean more square inches at a time, but you can also use a soft bristled toothbrush. Just make sure it’s soft so you don’t scratch the surface of your cookie mold. NEVER soak the molds in the water.

ScrubMoldDip the brush into the soapy water. Gently, but thoroughly scrub the floury mold with the brush. Turn the mold in all four directions to get into the carving at different angles. Keep scrubbing until you think you have gotten every crevice.



Do the same for larger and/or multiple image molds. You will just have more surface area to scrub.







Rinse the cookie mold under warm running water. Remember DO NOT SOAK  the molds. Over exposure to water will soften the finish on the mold, just as it would on your wooden furniture.





Now check  for stubborn spots of dough you may have missed. Or you may have cookie molds that have dried dough in them from previous use. Drip a drop of water on the spot, let it soften for a minute.





With a round wooden toothpick, gently pick out the dough. Do not use flat toothpicks (they splinter easily) or metal tools such as skewers or needles (they scratch the surface of the molds). Repeat the drop of water again if needed. Repeat gentle scrubbing and rinsing until the mold is clean.


PatTerryTowelPat the rinsed mold with a terrycloth towel being sure to push into the deep parts of the carving. I use cotton terrycloth shop cloths that I buy at a big box store.






Lay the clean molds on a dry terrycloth. You can put the terrycloth towel on a cooling rack for better air circulation, especially if you have many molds to dry and the weather is humid.


Let the molds dry completely. Overnight is good. You never want to store the molds with any moisture on them. If you store the molds in sealed bags or containers, any moisture remaining will harm the finish. I have many molds that I hang on my wall, and others that I store in bubble bags placed in plastic totes. However you store them, store them DRY.

Good care of your cookie molds will make them last years and removing dried dough from the recesses of the mold will yeild clearer cookie prints.



Summer Weather Cooperates

by connie on June 29, 2016

I got lucky with the weather this week. I often have to force summer into autumn by turning the thermostat to lower numbers and cranking the dehumidifier into high gear. Two cooler days with night temperatures in the 50’s led to a double batch frenzy of Springerle pressing. I am needing some cookies for photography and am so happy to open the windows and turn off the air conditioner for this task. I didn’t have time for a dip in the pool anyway. And I won’t mind turning on the oven.



Easter Arrives Early

by connie on March 17, 2016


Easter really comes up fast when it is in late March. The weather might not fully cooperate for those planned Easter Egg hunts. While my children were always so delighted with snow in December, snow was not so welcome at Easter. Oh to miss the fun of the egg hunt was such a disappointment! Outdoor hunts were so much more fun and longer events than the indoor variety. Just in case, bake some cookies to paint for Easter. You can bake them now, store in highly sealed cookie tins to paint next week. Or if it happens to be cold and wet, get out the aprons, the old sheets and let the kids paint cookies on their spring break. Think daffodils, sunshine and new beginnings.

For a review my tutorial on how to paint cookies with gel colors

Celebrate the beauty of spring,



It’s Really, Really Cold!

by connie on January 5, 2015

Yes, it is really cold here in Chicagoland and that means it’s perfect for making Springerle (or any cookies for that matter). So put on your wool socks and make some cookie making plans. These are perfect conditions for drying Springerle cookies and then turning on that oven the next day.

Generally, the weather in January is more cooperative than November and December. And most of us have more time then we had then too. And it’s a great reason to put off doing your taxes too!

Happy Baking!



This Old Mixer

by connie on June 30, 2014

ThisOldMixerPretty soon,  I am going to have to say “Good Bye!” to this old mixer. It’s a Kitchen Aid made by Hobart.  I am pretty sure this mixer is from the mid to late 70’s, but with no serial number, it is hard to pinpoint the year. Based on a google search, the Model K5-A mixer has been in production since the 40’s and the white cord indicates the late 70’s.

I can hear its motor straining, especially when I make Springerle dough. This old mixer’s zip and speed is gone. Several weeks ago I cut down the batch to two thirds size to relieve the strain on the motor. I tried to buy additional bowls and beaters more than 10 years ago and this bowl size was not available even then. It will be bittersweet, because the mixer has given me many baking memories, including family baking favorites and my ownership of House on the Hill  Cookie Molds. I can’t imagine having made all the Springerle cookies I’ve made over the last 20 plus years for family, friends, photography shoots, classes, and Open House samples if I had to have made them without a high powered standard mixer like this one.

It has been a workhorse in my kitchen for many years and I have given it a good run. More than a good run really, because I have abused the thing by using it for Springerle dough more than anything else. It was given to me, used, in the early 1990’s  and I was so very grateful to have such a wonderful tool – one that I would have been unlikely to purchase for myself. At that time, I did a lot of baking for bake sales, ball games and for my children’s activities. And it was during this same period that  I became a serious baker of Springerle, as my grandmother was not able to make Springerle cookies anymore. In 1993, I submitted my grandmother’s recipe and sample cookies to the annual Chicago Tribune holiday cookie contest and was one of the winners that year. And thus began a series of Springerle related events in my life, leading to my purchase of House on the Hill, and of course, this blog.

And so, I think in July , I will be buying a new Kitchen Aid Mixer. I will be looking for an 8 quart instead of a 6 quart bowl, and I am going to want that very low speed feature that I have used in teaching kitchens when travel teaching. I am going to get an extra bowl and extra beaters. I might even go for a red mixer; not quite sure about that yet. But I won’t forget you, my old mixer. You have been with me for a long time, and you have eased my work load on many an occasion. People have praised my cookies and you went without accolades. But I have been thankful to have such a great tool in my kitchen. Hmmmmm…..I’m not even sure I will say “good bye” , maybe just put you on light duty!

Wishing you warm baking memories too! Connie


Marzipan Topped Cake

by connie on April 24, 2014

TwiningVineCakeMarzipanThis Twining Vine rolling pin is a beautiful implement  that is a replica of a  pin circa 1550. It is hard to know precisely the original intention the carver  had in mind for this lovely tool, but it seems likely that it was meant for decorative confections of fondant and marzipan to embellish cakes. I have   used it for fondant placed around the side of a cake and for marzipan placed    on the top of a long narrow cake. And too, I have used it for gingerbread tile cookies that I first saw in cookbook “Tartine” by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and    Chad Robertson, a collection of recipes from the San Francisco bakery  of the same name.

But until now, I have not recorded either process. So, here is a step by step instruction for making a very impressive  cake with a marzipan topper made with this rolling pin. This post has instructions for a white cake with raspberry jam filling, but there are so many possibilities. A spice or pumpkin cake with no filling. A white cake with lemon filling. A quick bread brown sugar loaf studded with chopped almonds and topped with decorative marzipan. You will think of some other flavor combinations that you like!

MakingCake1Select a rectangular plate to use, so that the cake can be cut into the correct  size. Bake a sheet cake or 9 x 13 inch cake. Consider the plate that you have; if your plate is longer, go the sheet cake route. If you want thicker layers, make a  9 x13 inch cake; thinner layers, make a sheet  cake. I baked a 9 x 13 inch white cake and added almond oil to complement the marzipan topper that will be added. I cut the cooled cake into two pieces an inch shorter (11 inches for the shown cake) than the length of the plate  (just the flat surface part of the plate) and the width of the rolling pin design.

marzipancakestep2Spoon some seedless raspberry jam into a microwave safe dish and heat just    until warm to make the jam more spreadable. If you are going to transport      the cake you may anchor the cake to the plate with a few dabs of frosting.   Place one  cake layer onto the plate and spread the warm jam on that layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the jam. (You could also use any seedless jam of your choice, lemon curd or chocolate filling in between these layers.)


marcakeStep4You will need one can of marzipan (11 oz. and there will be almost none left)   or 2 tubes which are usually 8 oz. each. You will need a flat rolling pin, confectioner’s sugar and a pastry brush. It is a bit easier to work with extra marzipan, so you may want to get more. (If you have leftover marzipan, cut        it into small pieces and add to brownie batter to make delicious marzipan brownies or get out some small cookies molds and form some marzipan confections. You could also let the kids make marzipan animals!)


MarCakeStep7Knead the marzipan into a smooth rectangular mass. Brush the Twining     Vine rolling pin generously with confectioner’s sugar. Also brush the work       surface and the flat rolling pin with confectioner’s sugar. Roll out the    marzipan into a half inch thick strip wide enough for the width of the rolling pin and 2 to 3 inches longer the the strips of cake you cut. Roll the prepared Twining Vine rolling pin down the length of the marzipan with steady   pressure and don’t stop rolling once you start. A continuous roll will help ensure that the pressure is more consistent.


MarCakeStep8Cut a straight edge at one end of the printed marzipan and along the sides. Use a ruler and cut the other end so that the marzipan is the same size as your cake layers. Brush the top of the cake layer with corn syrup; the corn syrup will serve as glue to adhere the marzipan. Place the marzipan strip on top of the cake. If there is some confectioner’s sugar that has not absorbed into the marzipan, brush the powdery areas with a slightly wet pastry brush. To transport cake, place a few toothpicks through all layers to keep them in place. If you wish,   you may add some fresh or artificial flowers to the cake plate as a finishing touch, as shown in the top photo. Cut the cake slices with a serrated knife.

Enjoy! Smile!



Baking Bread Today

by connie on January 27, 2014

We closed the office today because of the frigid weather, which gave me the opportunity to bake bread, while I am working at home. It’s nice to take the time to make something that requires that I be at home during the entire process. I feel like a kid on a snow day! I just shaped the loaf for it’s rise and will try this recipe on my baking stone. Fresh whole wheat bread right out of the oven for dinner tonight! Yum!

OK…..back to work!

Stay Warm!


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