Last week we had friend Ruth over for the evening and we were making traditional German Lebkuchen for a fun Christmas school project.
Lebkuchen is traditionally a spicy dark German cookie that was heart-shaped. The name means something akin to sweet cake, and is commonly made at Christmas time. They are decorated with a very thin frosting, which dries and hardens quickly. The cookies can be eaten (Yummy!) or hung on the tree as decorations. Or, I guess, both. Hang them on the tree and when you get hungry grab a decoration off the tree. Just make sure you grab the lebkuchen! 😂
Nowadays, there are so many recipes for the cookie, ranging from spicy to sweet, light to dark, with just about every imaginable ingredient, and now are made in all shapes.
We chose to stick with a more traditional recipe, which I will share with you here. Happy lebkuchen making, and Merry Christmas!
|Ruth sifts our dry ingredients as we make our Lebkuchen|
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 - 3 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400° F. Put honey, butter and brown sugar in a pan over low heat and stir until melted. Sift flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, ginger and cinnamon into a bowl. Add the egg yolks and melted butter mixture into the bowl and mix well. If dough is too sticky add enough extra flour that it is not sticky, but should still be very soft. Roll out to 1/4" thick. Cut into desired shapes. Use a straw to poke a hole near the top, making sure to leave at least 1/2" of dough between hole and edge of cookie. Bake 8 minutes or until done. Cool for a few minutes and then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, mix powdered sugar and lemon juice. Divide into 2 or 3 bowls and color with 1 small drop of food coloring. Pour into disposable piping bags and tie bags shut tightly.
Once cookies are cool, snip of very tip of piping bag. If the hole is too big you will not be able to control icing as it is very thin. Decorate in fun whimsical designs. Leave to dry. They will be dry to the touch in a few minutes, but leave out for an hour or two to ensure they are completely dry all through. Use narrow ribbons to thread through the holes and hang on tree if desired.