Lebkuchen, or gingerbread is dated back to the 14th century. They are a delicious German cookie, very typically made around Christmas.
I thought this holiday season I would explore my German roots, and do a little German baking. I think my German ancestors would be proud, because I loved the way these turned out. So good, and not too much of a spice to them, and the glaze was so easy and added a great touch to them.
What you’ll need:
1/2 c. softened butter
1 c. sugar
3 c. white flour
1 T. Lebkuchen spices*
2 T. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. double acting baking powder
1 c. milk
1 3/4 c. ground almonds
1/2 c. candied lemon peel, chopped
1 T. rum or orange liqueur
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 – 2 T. rum or liqueur
1/2 c. powdered sugar
32 Oblaten (baking wafers) 3 inch size
1/2 c. raisins, soaked in rum and chopped
1/4 c. shredded coconut
Lebkuchen spices – If you cannot buy premixed “Lebkuchen Gewürz” from a German store, mix your own.
2 T. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground anise seed
~Cream butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy.
~Mix in flour, spices, cocoa powder and baking powder, alternating with milk.
~Fold in nuts and lemon peel. Stir in rum. Stir in raisins and coconut if you are using them.
~If you are not using the “Oblaten” (they look like Catholic communion wafers and are purchased in Germany or at a German deli, etc.) draw 3-inch diameter circles on parchment paper using a cup or biscuit cutter as a template.
~Drop about 3 tablespoons cookie dough into the center of each circle. (If you are using “Oblaten” drop the dough onto the wafer and smooth to the edges.) When tray is full, use the back of the spoon to fill out circle, slightly mounding the dough towards the center.
~Bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes. Turn down oven to 350°F if cookies are browning too much.
~Let cool for a few minutes, then remove to a cookie or cake rack to cool.
~While they are still warm, make the glaze.
~Place 1/2 c. sugar and 1/4 c. water in a small saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil and boil for a few minutes. Add vanilla and liqueur or rum. Sift powdered sugar over hot sugar syrup and stir.
~Using a pastry brush, brush warm glaze over warm cookies. Let dry completely.
~Dry glazed cookies for a day (to dry the glaze so it stays a bit crunchy) then store in an airtight container or freeze.
They were so easy to made and so delicious. Some Lebkuchen are covered in a thin layer of chocolate, so that will be my next go-around with these cookies. I’ll keep you posted on when I make those for an update.
Now its time to get out some of my German cook books and start cooking traditional German meals….
genießen (enjoy in German)