The last post’s gingerbread recipe was, quite possibly, the yummiest cookie I have ever baked. Thankfully, we had many people in and out of the house that week, so there were many mouths amongst which to share it. (As opposed to it all ending up in my belly, which is probable without Ryan around to take some of the eating pressure off. Aah, yes. The key to a successful relationship may be having someone who will, without question or hesitation, always be there to enjoy your goodies, successes or failures.) But, yeah, success this time and we loved every bite. But in my little baking-perfectionist’s heart, I had originally had this very specific visual in mind: The embossed, wainscoting-like tiles that had beckoned me in the first place.
These molds that are traditionally used for such a recipe are called springerle. They are small, hand-carved wood reliefs used to press into the dough and leave a beautiful, incredibly detailed image. Images run the gamut from seasonal depictions like acorns and harvest scenes to kings and their court, to one of my favorites, a woman over a stove minding many pots. I like the historical element to these. The idea that someone would have a carving of their farm made, showing the rows and the house and the huge oak tree in the corner. They would (in my idealized dream world) pass it down to a child upon their wedding and it would come to symbolize that family’s name. they were used as gifts and bartering and have come to be highly prized among bakeware collectors. I found the original rolling pin style springerle that I was looking for (this one you would emboss your dough in strips and then cut individual tiles from those strips). It is a very pretty mold, but I realized that wasn’t the idea with these. They were to reflect something you love, what stirs your bowl and your heart. I found one that was a marriage symbol (calm down, moms), a winding, infinity-like design studded with pomegranates and wheat. But, alas, I know no one to carve it for me, so I’ll have to order it online, which feels so anti-antiquated. But, it is 2009 and not 1709. So, instead, I made my gingerbread that day with out a mold, just with my hands. And then I ordered the springerle mold. 🙂
House On The Hill has beautiful ones…
A new family springerle for my friend Wendy who had her lovely son Felix with her love Joe on this last Thursday. Congratulations!