Lebkuchen are some of the most popular and known Christmas cookies in the world. You know them better as Gingerbread cookies. In Austria and Germany you will find them being decorated and sold in the all famous charming Christmas markets. Also, most of the households preparing for the merry season, usually bake Lebkuchen in all different shapes and sizes. Often these Gingerbread cookie type is mentioned in one go together with Christmas and they are literally ingrained in our Food culture.
There are uncountable different Lebkuchen types and variations. Some are harder some are softer, some include a different Lebkuchen spice mixture and some include secrete ingredients. An ingredient that has to always be included is honey. History tells us that the Lebkuchen first appeared in the medieval period around Ulm, Bavaria, South Germany. Later on in the 1500, The old city of Nürnberg made the, at that time better known as Honey cake, Lebkuchens popular. Nürnberg is also popular for making some of the best candied fruits in Central Europe, so that explain how the fruits ended up to be part of the traditional decoration on the Lebkuchen, together with nuts such as Almonds.
Now, this is my first Lebkuchen recipe here and I certainly will come up with more and different versions in the future. This recipe is better used for smaller shapes and shouldn’t be made if you are planning to build a Gingerbread house or if you want to make your own Lebkuchen heart. For that, I ll share with you all a different recipe!
In my opinion, this is the easiest recipe that I know off and a quick one also. I leave the cookie shape choice and decoration up to you. As you can see I made a couple of different ones, so that you get my idea. They are not fully loaded, but if you like them more busy, then feel free to add more deco. The Icing can be colored as well with a couple of food coloring drops added at the end while making the icing. You might recall the Grimm brother’s tale of Hänsel and Gretel and the house of the witch, and if you are able to envision all that, then you might come up with some gorgeous colorful extensive decoration ideas for your own home made Lebkuchens.
- 150 grams Honey
- 80 grams brown Sugar
- 50 grams Butter
- 270 grams White Flour
- 1½ Tsp Baking powder
- 1 Egg Yolk
- dash ground Lemon zest
- 130 grams ground Walnuts
- 2 Tablespoons Lebkuchen spice mixture prepacked or 4 Teaspoons [Home made Lebkuchen spice mixture|www.masalaherb.com/blog/2012/12/lebkuchen-spice-mixture-gingerbread-masala.html]
- 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon or ½ Tablespoon only if you are using the home made Lebkuchen mixture
- 1 Eggwhite
- 200 grams Powdered Sugar
- colorful Sugar decoration such as pearls etc (as shown)
- Candied fruits such as Cherries
- Nuts such as Almonds
- Place the Honey, brown Sugar and Butter together into a bowl and melt and mix the ingredients to a smooth sticky paste.
- Once the sticky mixture has cooled a bit add the white flour and baking powder and make a mold to add in your egg yolk. Keep on adding the Lemon zest, the ground Walnuts, the Lebkuchen spice mix and the Cinnamon powder.
- Mix it all first with a spoon or something and then work it out for 10 minutes into a smooth dough.
- Preheat your oven to a 180 Celsius!
- Flour your working space and roll your dough to a 0.3 millimeter thickness out and cut out your shapes with your cookie cutters.
- Place them on a baking tray. At this point you can decorate them with Nuts and Candied fruits by pressing the sweets lightly into the dough.
- Bake them for about 10 minutes and then let them cool.
- In the mean while, beat your egg white to a stiff snow. Once stiff continue to mix in the powdered sugar batch by batch. The Icing should be very tough and shiny sticky. (For colored batches just add a couple of Food coloring drops)
- Once the cookies have cooled, you can decorate them with the icing and top them with colorful and pretty looking sugar decorations. Either you pipe a thine line with the icing onto the cookies or you add a thin layer of icing onto the whole cookies surface. Just be creative and have fun!