A rotating exhibit of the things I love most about living in San Francisco.

from the pennsylvania desk, springerle cookies of lancaster county


Springerle Cookies, Springerle House, Strasburg, PA

Springerle Cookies, Springerle House, Strasburg, PA

One of the highlights of my food explorations of Lancaster County was the discovery of the springerle cookie, a type of “picture” cookie which traces its origins to Northern Europe where it has been made for over a thousand years. They’re delicious. And they are gorgeous. Using molds that depict scenes of peasant life, nature, biblical stories and more, these cookies were used in part to communicate stories, and reflect a remarkable level of craftsmanship and detail. You’d mistake them for fired ceramic Christmas ornaments, in fact, because they are every bit as intricate. Here in Lancaster County, they’ve been a part of Pennsylvania Dutch culture for over 300 years thanks to the German immigrants who brought the tradition here.

Flavored with anise this cookie is somewhat like a shortbread and is commonly served with tea for dunking. The springerle is not crisp though, rather just cakey enough for a nice chew as one bites into it. You can find excellent examples of these, in anise and other flavors, as well as Christmas ornaments made from the same molds, at a german tea house in Strasburg, PA, where the same family has been making them for over 100 years. The family operates a stall at the Lancaster Central Market as well, so you can find them there, too, on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Here’s a link to their website. I think they’d make fabulous gifts so check out the mail order options!

The Springerle House

15 East Main Street
Strasburg, PA 17579-1409
(717) 687-8022

the Springerle House, a german tea house in Strasburg, PA

the Springerle House, a german tea house in Strasburg, PA

About Springerle Cookies

For over a thousand years in Europe, hand-carved molds have been used to imprint “picture cookies.” These cookies have been historically used as betrothal tokens, tellers of tales and to celebrate daily life. Springerle molds first came to Lancaster County circa 1710 among the most treasured possessions of the Pennsylvania German immigrants. Our Springerle cookies and ornaments are made from replicas of molds painstakingly copied from original molds in museums in Germany and Switzerland.

We use only the finest ingredients to make our cookies, and follow the traditional European recipe. We offer cookies in lemon, orange, orange vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate, almond, vanilla and traditional anise flavors. Some are accented with edible gold paint. Our ornaments are made of a durable ash/paper pulp mixture and hand painted. We hope you enjoy this taste of the past!


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