Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lebkuchen cookies

Christmas is knocking our doors... or I better say our windows. Yay! It's been snowing since a couple of days now up here in the north of Germany. It is a bit ahead of time as it is not common to have snow on these last days of November. Nevertheless I celebrate it! I love snow and cold weather :). And because of that, last night I made a recipe I wanted to make since long. Delicious and crunchy Lebkuchen Cookies. (Lebkuchen Plätzchen in german).

Lebkuchen is a traditionally german Christmas biscuit. Comes from medieval times in the area of Franconia in south Germany. It is also known as Pfefferkuchen (pepper cake) or Honigkuchen (honey cake). The characteristic taste comes from honey and from the mix of spices used, usually cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, anise, cardamom among others. Usually Lebkuchen is very sweet and it is somewhat soft. But in this case I made them as cookies... and trust me they are delicious. I recommend them for any cold snowy afternoon, with a cup of hot tea with a hint of fruits, cinnamon and ginger.


  • 100 gr Honey (liquid)
  • 180 gr Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract powder / or liquid or the inside of 1 straw pure natural vanilla.
  • 150 gr butter or margarine
  • 4 tbsp. Milk
  • Spices:
    • 1/2 tsp. Almond extract (liquid or powder)
    • 1 tbsp. Cinnamon powder
    • 1/4 tsp. Cardamom powder
    • 1/2 tsp. Cloves powder
    • 1/4 tsp. Anise powder
    • 1/4 tsp. Ginger powder
    • 1 tsp. grated Lemon rind
    • 2 tbsp. Cacao powder

  • 400 gr Flour (all purpose)
  • 100 gr Corn Starch (Maize Starch - Maizena)
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • For the decoration:
    • 150 gr Confectioner's Sugar
    • 2 - 3 tbsp Lemon Juice


Place the honey, sugar, vanilla, margarine and milk in a sauce pan and cook in low-medium heat until everything is mixed and sugar and butter are dissolved. Move out of the heat and let it cool down. Prepare the flour. In a bowl, sieve together flour, baking powder, corn starch and cacao powder. Mix all the dry ingredients well and reserve.

When the melted butter, sugar and co. mixture it's cold, mix with your hand mixer on the highest speed. You will obtain a light yellow thick paste. Add all the spices.

Add by portions, 2/3 of the flour mix. Mix well until all ingredients are combined. Reserve 1/3 of the flour for next step. Pre-heat your oven in 392 °F (200 °C). Prepare your baking plate with a sheet of baking paper (maybe you will need 2 baking plates, that will vary according to the size of your cookie or biscuit cutter).

Place the dough mix in your working table and with the rest of the flour-cacao mix, knead until you obtain a soft non-sticky dough. If it is a bit sticky, add a bit more of flour. Cut in half.

Take the first half and use your rolling pin to flatten it until 1/2 cm or 0,2 in. Cut your cookies and place them in the baking plate. You can make the whole dough or you can reserve the half in the freezer. Keeps well frozen.

Bake for around 15-20 minutes on 356 °F / 180 °C . When done, let them cool down and proceed to the decoration.

Add the lemon juice to the Confectioners sugar. Mix well until you get a thick white syrup. You can use your pastry/piping bag, or more free deco -as you can see in my photos- with just a tsp., a knife or a wooden stick, letting the thick syrup fall over the cookies in thin lines. You can decor as you wish :)

Let them cool down again... and enjoy!

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