Springerle cookies

Earlier this year, my province hosted our kingdom’s Twelfth night celebration. I contributed cookies (and a subtlety, which deserves its own “Doin’ it WRONG” mention, ha ha) to the feast.

In the words of an event steward, “We’re interested in exploring period European twelfth-night traditions of festive merriment.

Our touchstone for the theme is Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” — boisterous humor, cakes and ale, chance reversals of fortune, masked identities, cross-dressing, farcical infatuations, and so on.”

I found a 7.5” cookie mold of the Epiphany (12th night).  I planned to make 2 springerle cookies for each table, one flavored with anise, and the second flavored with speculaas cookie spices of my own admixture — all of which are mentioned in Forme of Cury (the cookbook from which our feast cook was working).  The spice cookie failed to imprint and was not to my taste, so I reserved it for use in the subtlety and cut back to just the anise springerle cookie.

The leavening for the cookies was hartshorn (ammonium carbonate), which in medieval times was literally hart’s horn — powdered & processed deer antler.  The anise cookie was pale cream in color, the speculaas cookie medium/dark brown.  Springerle cookies date back to at least the 1600s, and the mold is duplicated from molds of the time.

I used a modern recipe from House on the Hill (the mold maker), and began test baking in November.  The cookies store well in air-tight tins, and improve with age, so I baked them in December for our January festivity.

Three Magi cookie mold.
Hartshorn dissolving in milk.
6 room-temperature eggs beaten for 10 minutes.
Beating in 1.5 lbs. confectioners sugar.
8 Tbl. butter, beaten in.
Adding hartshorn + milk.
2 half-droppers anise oil.
A half-teaspoon salt.
Finally, beat in 2 lbs. cake flour.
KitchenAid has the power to beat it all in.
Dough is ready to be wrapped and chilled for 24 hours.
Kneading a small portion of the chilled dough.
Rolling out the kneaded portion with confectioners sugar.
Pressing dough into mold, from the center out.
Trimming excess.
Imprinted cookies drying for 24 hours.
Baking 2 cookies at a time.
Result! 14 delights.


We be Soldiers three

I asked my friend Lilie to compose a song for our province’s largesse presentation to their Eastern Majesties, for which we parade from our Østgarðr encampment at Pennsic to the East Kingdom royal encampment, singing as we march.  Her contrafact (filk) to the tune of We be Soldiers is delightful.

In preparing for the presentation, I discovered that the melody with which I was most familiar is not the original melody, but is instead an interpretation by Curtis & Loretta, who learned it from a Renaissance band,  possibly after an arrangement by William Chappell.  You can go down this rabbit hole yourself — there is much interesting information out there.  I began here:  http://www.lizlyle.lofgrens.org/RmOlSngs/RTOS-Soldiers3.html

Desirous of returning to the original melody, I turned to Greg Lindahl’s helpful scan of Ravenscroft’s Deuteromelia, and typeset Thomas Ravenscroft’s original harmonization with my own interpretation, so we can practice beforehand.

We be Soldiers three

Whipstitching a decorative element to a base fabric

A friend asked for help stitching Girl Scout patches, so I made her a video, since we don’t live near each other.  The technique is the same as I would use to appliqué trim or an embroidered element onto a medieval garment, so I share with you the video I made for her.

Pride cord

My local SCA group, the Crown Province of Østgarðr, is participating in Brooklyn Pride festival this year, yay!  What better way to show off our affiliation and support than with a period cord worked in Pride colors?  Presenting a lace bend round of 8 bowes in the inclusive (Philadelphia) Pride flag colors: black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.

Continue reading “Pride cord”


I am in desperate need of a new chemise.  I want it to be short enough that it doesn’t show or need hiking up under my tunic / cote / peplos / overdress.  I need it to be comfortable, not fitted too closely to my body (which changes shape on an irritatingly regular basis), and luxurious. Continue reading “Chemise”