Baked Sunday Mornings: Lebkuchen

There are so many holiday cookie recipes in Baked Occasions that we ended up with a backlog of them on the Baked Sunday Mornings schedule as we finish up the cookbook. Hence the fact that I was making Lebkuchen in August. I had considered making this recipe last year for our holiday party -- I had sort of a European Christmas theme going with a menu that included leckerli, pfeffernüsse, panforte, and stollen bites. But I just ran out of time and haven't been able to get to the recipe before now.

To make the cookie dough, you heat honey with butter and brown sugar until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves; put the cooled honey mixture into a mixing bowl; add an egg yolk, cocoa powder, lemon zest, and Lebkuchengewürz gingerbread spices (cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, coriander, cardamon, and ground ginger); mix in baking soda dissolved in rum; and add flour, ground almonds, and chopped candied orange peel. You're supposed to form the dough into a disk, roll it out, and cut out 3-inch round cookies. My dough was so soft that there was no way I would be able to cut and transfer cookies even if I managed to roll it out. (It might have been doable after chilling, but the recipe doesn't include any chilling time.) So I just used a #20 scoop to form the cookies, flattening them before baking. I got 16 cookies from the recipe.
After the cookies were baked and cooled, I dipped each one in a glaze made from powdered sugar, cocoa powder, milk, and vanilla. I had just enough glaze to cover my cookies, even though the recipe says it should yield 24 large cookies. The glaze was thick, shiny, and set firm. I have to admit that I had a lot of doubts about this recipe during the process of making it, given that I wasn't able to roll and cut the cookies as directed. But I was delighted with the way these came out -- and I definitely prefer to ease of being able to scoop and drop these cookies instead of having to roll and cut them out. While I'm generally not a fan of cakey cookies, these lebkuchen are like little gingerbread cakes with a wonderful, warm spice flavor. The chocolate glaze is rich and delicious, and the headnote description of it as a "crowning feature... pièce de résistance that brings it all together..." is pretty on point. I loved the texture from the bits of chopped candied orange peel.

Most rewarding, my husband Tom took a bite and was immediately taken back to another time. "I feel like I'm four years old," he said, describing how his mother and grandfather brought home lebkuchen at the holidays. I would definitely make these again and think they would be a great addition to our holiday party menu this year.

Recipe: "Lebkuchen" from Baked Occasions by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

Previous Posts:


Louise said…
I'm going to mark these to include in my holiday baking.