Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year

It's New Years Eve and the evening finds me hopeful.

So far my lineup for the year includes my best friend having complicated surgery, my son's overseas deployment and two daughters planning weddings for Fall!  That's not including all the stuff that I do not know about yet!  My prediction?  That 2013 will be eventful beyond many years I have lived so far.

The end of 2012 brought me reunions with 2 special friends from days gone by.  The years fall away when a reunion of this type takes place. Yes, I am hopeful that the loves and the happy surprises will outweigh the losses, challenges and disappointments.

Tonight, our plans with friends were sadly canceled due to illness - then the sun was setting up and I grabbed the camera and took a short drive up Clements Road in Lodi, California.  This, the last sunset of 2012!

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Springerle For Christmas

Most families have at least one special Christmas tradition, many that evolve through the years.  My own family had several, but the one that stands out most, and continues to this day, is the baking and mailing of the German Springerle Cookies.
This is a 2 day process and not conducive to today's working families and busy lifestyles.  Yet each year, magically, someone manages to pull this off to make the familiar happen for the whole family.  This year, the next generation stepped up!

Notes form Laura:
Some of the best recipes begin with the fewest ingredients. One of my favorites is a family tradition passed down many generations...German Springerle Cookies taught to me by my Gammy and Gampy. Last year my Auntie Susie entrusted this years' family batch to me. :)
They take about 10-12 hours to make and you have to order two ingredients online. I have already called Gammy & Gampy three times to make sure I am getting it right. Gampy told me that of anyone he has taught, I seemed to just 'get it' right away. That is saying a LOT, because I reserve baking for the grocery store! It must be in my genes.

Also, you will need a Springerle rollerThis is a Springerle roller. Basically you roll the dough between 1/4 inch guides...then you roll over it to get the 3D pictures onto the cookies. 

Once the long drying process is over...only one more hour till baking starts. Then I start all over tomorrow! Hartshorn (ammonia carbonate) is the leavening agent used in these cookies to keep the shape of the designs from the Springerle roller. It gives off a very strong odor during baking when it is released from the cookies. Combined with the strong anise oil, Springerle cookies have a very characteristic flavor.

"These traditional German cookies are in the Leonhardt DNA." ~ Lynn (Leonhardt) Laura's Mom

This video show's Ray Leonhardt and his daughter, Lynn making Springerle in 2008.

Springerle (Enhanced) from CherLea Productions on Vimeo.