Lebkuchen – German Christmas Cookies
Back at the beginning of the week I put up a poll about holiday baking, asking what types of recipes you all would like to see featured here on Brown Eyed Baker leading up to the holiday season. (If you haven’t thrown in your two cents yet, head on over and vote!) In the comments section, Heather of Squirrel Bread asked about Lebkuchen and said that she had a couple of recipes but had yet to make them. I emailed her and told her I hadn’t heard of them but would do some research and plan on making them. Less than a day later I was browsing through some of my cookbooks just looking for ideas and inspiration and wouldn’t you know, I ran across a recipe for Lebkuchen. I considered it fate and set out to make a batch right then and there. I did some reading and research and looked at other recipes and came up with this gem.
Lebkuchen is a traditional German cookie that is usually baked for Christmas. It is most like a soft gingerbread cookie, made with molasses and full of warm spices. The glaze provides the perfect complement, a little sweet and with a hint of lemon. All of the flavors blend together so nicely and taste like the holidays; one bite and you will want to crank up the holiday music and trim the tree. You could roll these a little thinner and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and decorate them. No matter how you make them, you will be glad you did!
For the Cookies:
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
1¼ teaspoons ground nutmeg
1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ cup honey
½ cup molasses
For the Glaze:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Set aside.
3. Beat the egg and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
4. Beat in the honey and molasses until thoroughly combined.
5. On low speed, stir in the flour mixture until just combined.
6. Turn the dough out from the bowl onto a well-floured surface. Knead the dough, adding more flour as kneaded, until a stiff dough is formed.
7. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
8. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough into a 9x12-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 18 3x2-inch rectangles. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
9. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Whisk together the confectioner's sugar, water and lemon juice and brush or spread on top of the cookies.
10. Allow the glaze to firm, and then store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.