HOLIDAY GUIDE TWO: Traditional treat

Learn to love the springerle (and more) at the State Capital Museum's annual Historic Holiday Celebration

By Molly Gilmore on December 4, 2011

A German winter holiday tradition you know about: the Christmas tree, serenaded in "O Tannenbaum."

One you're not likely to know about: the springerle, a holiday cookie made by pressing dough into a carved board. The cookies are three-dimensional works of art, appearing like tiny sculptures.

Learn to prepare this traditional treat - and taste it - at the State Capital Museum's annual Historic Holiday Celebration, Saturday Dec. 10.

"They are not very sweet compared to American cookies," says Susan Rohrer, who manages the museum and owns five springerle boards that have been passed down through her family. "The dough is pretty much strictly eggs and powdered sugar. They are very dry. Our family thinks they are delicious."

Is it traditional to hang them on the tree?

"A lot of people we have given them to will let them harden up and drill a hole in them and hang them on the tree," Rohrer says, "but we don't do that. We all eat them. Why wouldn't we? We make them every year."

As part of the the State Capital Museum's annual Historic Holiday Celebration Rohrer will demonstrate how to make the dough and press it into the boards, and she plans to share her recipe as well as offering visitors a cookie to take home.

One of Rohrer's hand-carved boards dates back to the 1790s century. "It is carved on the back of the board and our family name is written on it," she says.

"The boards are very intricately carved," she says. "There are detailed pictures like a castle and a dog with a basket in its mouth. One looks like a wedding couple, and one is of a man sowing seeds in a field."

The event also includes a petting zoo, pony rides, a hayride in a horse-drawn cart, music, photos with Santa and more activities for children.

Oh, and the museum - in the historic 1923 Lord Mansion - has die Tannenbaum covered, too: There'll be a grand tree decorated in period style in the formal parlor.

Historic Holiday Celebration

Saturday, Dec. 10, from noon to 3 p.m., with springerle baking demonstration from 10:30 a.m. to noon
$7, $25 for a family of four
State Capital Museum, 211 21st Ave. SW, Olympia, 360.753.2580