Lebkuchen are sweet, spicy cookies that pop up during Christmastime. These cookies derive from a honey cake dating back to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.
Today’s lebkuchen were invented by monks in 13th-century Franconia, Germany. A Lebküchner from a manuscript c. 1520, in the Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg
Although lebkuchen are baked in a variety of shapes, round is most common. These cookies are made with honey, molasses and spices, including nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts) or candied fruit. They are then frosted with a lemon glaze and decorated in a festive manner.
The coolest thing about my recipe is that it contains no white sugar & you can prepare the dough a day ahead and refrigerate it. The next day, just cut and bake! Enjoy the lebkuchen with coffee, tea or eggnog during the Holidays!
Note: Lebkuchen in photograph are made without almonds and candied fruit.
Active Prep time: 20 minutes
Inactive Prep time: 2 hours to overnight (refrigeration of dough)
Bake time: 12 to 14 minutes
Makes: 20 cookies
Ingredients for the Cookies:
3-1/4 cups sifted all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional)
1/2 cup candied fruit, finely chopped (optional)
vegetable oil, to coat dough prior to refrigeration
Ingredients for the Lemon Glaze:
1 large egg white, beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
Directions for the Cookies:
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and salt; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, brown sugar, molasses, butter. If using the almonds and candied fruit, stir them into batter and beat together.
3. On a lightly-floured board or surface, gather the dough into a smooth ball and dust off the excess flour.
4. Lightly oil the dough, cover and seal in plastic wrap and refrigerate it from 2 hours to overnight.
5. After dough has chilled, preheat oven to 400°F.
6. Grease and flour two baking sheets measuring 12 X 18 inches. Alternatively, line the sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
7. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out the dough to 1-4-inch thickness.
8. Using a 2-inch, round cookie cutter (or other shape), cut out rounds from the dough. If you do not have a cookie cutter, use the rim of a glass, turned upside down.
9. Place the cut rounds of dough onto the baking sheets, spaced 1-1/2 inches apart.
10. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes or until firm to the touch.
11. After 12 minutes if lebkuchen are too soft, bake for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
12. Cool lebkuchen to room temperature.
Directions for the Lemon Glaze:
1. In a small bowl, stir together the beaten egg white and lemon juice.
2. Stir in the confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth.
3. Lightly brush the glaze over lebkuchen and immediately decorate with green and red crystal sugars.
Text & Green/Red Lebkuchen Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real