Springerle (German Christmas biscuits)

Tags: German, Christmas, biscuit, picture
Makes 32. 10 steps
2 large eggs   beat 10 min   Roll 2cm thick, then roll once with a patterned rolling pin to make 1cm thick biscuits. Cut into squares. Bake in slow oven 25 minutes or until puffed and golden at the base. The top should remain white.
225g caster sugar   beat in 10 min
1 teaspoon lemon juice   mix in
320g plain flour sift   gradually beat in, mix to a smooth dough Refrigerate 1 hour.
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons anise seeds sprinkle on clean dry tea-towel   Place biscuits on anise. Leave overnight, uncovered
By leaving the biscuits overnight, a thin layer on top of the biscuit hardens, and so the pattern doesn't sag while baking. This results in a biscuit with a thin fine white top surface and a large-crumb interior.
This recipe calls for anise (Pimpinella anisum) which is not the same as star anise (Illicium verum), as I learned after my first attempt at making these. Nonetheless, ground-up star anise sprinkled over a tea-towel works very well.
These biscuits are soft directly out of the oven, then they slowly go hard. Kept in an airtight container, they were good for about four weeks, after which they were too hard to eat. You can resoften them by putting a slice of apple in the container for three days. Any biscuit in contact with the apple will become very mushy, and the others will become nicely soft.