Springerle Cookies (Do not make these until after the first hard freeze)
1/2 tsp Baker's ammonia
2 tbl milk
6 eggs, at room temperature
6 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1/2 tsp anise oil (extract may be substituted)
1/2 tsp salt
2 lb cake flour, sifted (about 8 cups)
Mash baker's ammonia with a rolling pin if it is not powdered. Dissolve it in the milk in a small bowl and let stand 1 hour before using.
Beat eggs in large bowl of electric mixer until thick and lemon-colored, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until creamy and smooth. Add butter and beat again until creamy. Add anise oil, dissolved baker's ammonia and salt; beat to mix. Gradually beat in enough flour to make a stiff dough.
Cut off pieces of dough and work in more flour on a floured work surface until dough is stiff enough to roll out and hold the design of the springerle rolling pin or mold. Roll out on a lightly floured board with a floured rolling pin to 1/4-inch thickness. Press design on dough with a floured springerle rolling pin. Cut cookies apart using a floured knife. Leave on work surface covered with a clean kitchen towel overnight.
The next day, heat oven to 325 degrees. Bake cookies on greased baking sheets, until barely golden on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Store in tightly covered tins and let stand at least 1 week before serving.