Springerles - German cookies formed with a special rolling pin or mold.
I WILL . . . limit my holiday baking to a few things I truly enjoy making
instead of trying to outshine my Aunt Martha from seasons long past.
If family stories are accurate, my Aunt Martha was a very good cook, and baker. I know for sure she was an excellent seamstress because she made many beautiful clothes for my sister and me. She was a also a school teacher and cat lover. When I was very young, she sometimes invited me into her sacred sewing room. I may well have developed my love for cats, fabric, old buttons, and "stuff" from being with my dear Aunt Martha. At least I have someone to blame.
My dad often bragged about Aunt Martha's baking. He especially loved her Springerle cookies and I can remember Mom saying she didn't think they were anything to write home about. Mom didn't like them and complained they tasted like black licorce. Well, yes Mom, they did. They were supposed to taste like that. Some years after I married, and long after Aunt Martha had moved to California, I wrote and asked if she'd please share her family recipes for the traditional German cookies she baked every year. To my shock, she would not share them. Aunt Martha is gone now and so are those family recipes, but I've never stopped trying to live up to her reputation for baking good things. Sometimes I go overboard in trying to make so many things at holiday time and become frustrated if I don't live up to my own expectations, no matter how unreasonable they might be.
This year I will use a few recipes to bake some favorite cookies and maybe add a new recipe or two, but I will not try to outdo my Aunt Martha in the baking category. She was one of a kind and cannot be duplicated or replaced. The cookies I love baking at Christmas time are these: Spritz, Chocolate Chip, and Russian Teacakes. If I stick to those, I'll be ok.
For the record, I don't actually like eating Springerle's either. I only wanted to learn to make them to honor my heritage and carry on a family tradition. Oh well.