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Burning Snowman Cookies

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My springerle cookies made with an antique wooden mold of the snowman being devoured by the Sun, bringing the rebirth of nature. Mighty fine pagan dessert.

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Since time immemorial people have baked breads and biscuits shaped like pagan symbols. For a couple centuries we have lost the original meaning, if there ever was one explicit meaning, of these bones, two headed babies and giant edible phalluses. But they are still all around us. In my parts, we bake small hard cookies shaped with wooden forms passed on like family heirloom. In the South of Germany and the Swiss-German speaking part of Switzerland, they call them springerle. To welcome the sun back onto our land, I made a batch of springtime cookies using a unique mold I bought from an antique dealer.

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Springerle
2 eggs
250 grams / 0.5 lb flour
250 grams / 0.5 lb confectioner's sugar
1 gram baking powder
Vanillin or vanilla sugar or lemon oil or anise oil
A kitchen mixer
A springerle mold
About three days

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We will need to cream the sugar and egg for a very long time - 20 minutes. Old recipes called for your four oldest kids to beat the eggs in turn, but nowadays a kitchen machine is definitely cheaper.

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Break the eggs...

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... then sift the sugar over the eggs, like snow on a field of sunflowers.

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Add the vanilla or other flavoring, then beat over high speed for 20 minutes.

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Leaving the frothed eggs in the bowl, add half the flour, sifted with the baking powder, and continue to mix until fully absorbed.

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Continue to add the rest of the flour by hand, working the dough on a table until it makes a smooth and relatively hard ball. Cover in foil and let it rest in the fridge overnight.

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Springerle molds are about symbols and figuration. There is nothing really artistic in them, but the farmers who carved these molds during wintertime knew precisely what they wanted them to print. This one (picture above) show a sun with fiery rays like tongues of fires melting a snowman. We had our yearly snowman-burning celebration last weekend in Zurich - same spirit.

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The Bööög on his pire during the 2008 Sechseläuten, courtesy of Clemens Orth.

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A last smoke?

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I will also try out this other, more mundane, springerle mold with a bell, a pear, two flowers and a castle.

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