Sunday, December 22, 2013

German Gingerbread Recipe

Happy Fourth Advent! Slowly I have been catching up on my chores to get done before Christmas. Two sets of cookies are ready and stored away neatly in tins. Sadly I didn't get any Christstollen baked this year. Usually I give a loaf as a gift to friends and folks who have helped me a lot during the year. But there is is still time, right? Like 3 days...

German Tin that was sent to me by my mother many years ago

Here is , as promised the Lebkuchen recipe for the German Gingerbread cookies in case you want to give it a try. Even if you don't have the rice paper, I am sure they would work on a well-greased cookie sheet.

 You will need the following ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of shelled fresh hazelnuts, ground into fine flour
  • 3/4 cup almonds, ground into fine flour
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 stick softened butter (preferably unsalted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup candied lemon peel, chopped very small
  • 1/4 cup candied orange peel, chopped very small
  • zest of one lemon
For decorating the cookies:

chocolate for glazing and blanched almond halves

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare two cookie sheets. I lined mine with parchment paper and put two sheets of ricepaper on top side by side.

Beat honey, soft butter, brown sugar together in a mixing bowl. You will need a mixer with a strong motor for this. My little handmixer had trouble with the chore. So when I made this recipe a second time around I doubled everything and used the kitchen aid instead!

Mix the two types of ground nut flour with flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda.

Add the eggs one at a time to the sugar, honey, and butter mixture. Then slowly add the dry ingredients. Add about a half cup at a time. You will get a very heavy batter.

Last add the chopped fruits and lemon zest.

The recipe we had suggested cutting the rice paper in rounds of about 7 cm diameter and making little balls that were about 2 tablespoons each, then flatten those onto the wafer rounds. Since we didn't know how to cut the rice paper in circles we rolled out the dough between sheets of parchment paper and made cut-out cookies. We baked them for about 15 minutes (or until they are dry on top) on the big sheets of ricepaper. We cut the cookies out of the rice paper after they had cooled down.

It's always fun when you share the cookies with folks who have never had real German Lebkuchen. They don't know about edible ricepaper and try to peel the "paper" off the bottom of the cookies.

After the cookies have cooled down you can brush them with melted chocolate mixed with butter or glaze or just leave them plain. You can stick some blanched almond halves on top of the cookies while the chocolate is still wet. I baked the almonds into the cookie and ended up having to paint the chocolate around the almonds. Duh!

I hope you give these cookies a try. If not this year - safe the recipe for next year. I will definitely make them every year from now on.


ziezo said...

I will certainly give this a try sometime!
My in-laws arrived here for the holidays and brought lovely German Lebkuchen with them as a special holiday treat.

germandolls said...

I love them because I know what's in them. With the commercial ones you never know...They may not last forever but I am sure they'll be gone before we know it. Hope you share some photos of your cookies!