I decided to attempt another tricky European cookie this Christmas: this time Norwegian sandbakelse (also “sandbakkels” or “sandkaker”). They are a crisp almond-flavored sugar cookie baked in special aluminum tart molds. I have probably only had them once or twice, over 30 years ago, and as far as I know, no one in my family makes them anymore. Although they are very tasty, they’re kind of a pain. I haven’t quite decided if they’re worth it yet. But when I took the first bite, I did think: “Oh yeah, I have definitely had these before.”
I’ve always hesitated to write about Christmas cookies because, honestly, they’re kind of boring to read about unless you’re specifically looking for a recipe. And everyone already has their favorites anyway. But I figured Springerle are different because they’re so pretty and old fashioned. I know Springerle as a Southern German cookie, but Wikipedia says they’re eaten in Switzerland, Alsace, parts of Austria and Hungary too. Although they basically taste like an anise-flavored sugar cookie, the process for making them is different than a standard sugar cookie. And not just because of the beautiful molds used to shape them.