Elisenlebkuchen are some of my favorite cookies in the world!
Learn further below why 🙂
As I had promised my dear readers, we are kicking into the Cookie week with a load of different sweet treats. I have joined up with some of my food blogger friends to present you a colossal collection of the best homemade cookie recipes. There is something for everybody, especially for sweet-eaters, or as we call them in German, Naschkatzen (translated: nibbling cats).
Speaking of German, you might have noticed the lengthy name of the cookie in the title. You guessed right, I am of course sharing some of our traditional central European cookie recipes and today it’s all about the Gluten-free Elisenlebkuchen cookies. You might recall last years traditional Lebkuchen cookies during Christmas time. Lebkuchen are our most important Christmas cookies ever, if you don’t have Lebkuchen in the house for Christmas it’s not really that festive.
Last year in the Lebkuchen post I explained that this particular brown cookie was coming close to Gingerbread, yet we don’t use ginger and therefore I could hardly call them Gingerbread cookies. Also there are countless different Lebkuchen cookie types and variations. In fact Lebkuchen is an age old cookie which was already prepared back in the middle ages. Back in the antique our forefathers would enjoy Honey cookies and that’s where the idea of the humble but scrumptious Lebkuchen must have came from.
About 200 years ago the Gluten-free Elisenlebkuchen cookies were born in Nürnberg, Bavaria Germany. From what I know, Nürnberg was the home of Jewish traders, even before the Elisenlebkuchen was born, and at the time and they would sell specialties from the orient such as fragrant fancy spices, dried and candied fruits and the best of nuts such as sweet almonds from Armenia. So it came that the Jewish community was soon known for making some of the most exciting cookies since long and thanks to their expertise we nowadays are enjoying soft and juicy gluten-free Elisenlebkuchen.
The name Elisen-Lebkuchen must have come from a gorgeous lady by the name of Elise, or so some believe. Anyhow these Lebkuchen are exciting and what makes them different as well is that you can coat them with chocolate or a sugar glaze. The sticky dough can be difficult to handle, therefore we place the dough on so called communion baking wafers, super thin paper like round wafers which are commonly available in the supermarkets in central Europe. The same (or similar) are used in the catholic church during mass for the communion, so wherever the church is, you should be able to buy these super useful paper wafers. I got mine from Europe since I always have thoughtful sweet friends who bring me some back to Goa. Monks originally came up with the idea of using communion wafers as an underlay for troubling cookie doughs, so using the ones from the church should be ok! If you have been hunting down your region for the waffers and you couldn’t find any, then you could always spray some non stick spray on some baking paper before placing the cookie dough with a spoon on the butter paper. BUT I can’t guarantee that it will work! The best thing is to get those communion baking wafers before trying this recipe.
Oh and before I forget… If you live in a hot tropical climate, then don’t cover your Gluten-free Elisenlebkuchen with dark chocolate or a sugar coating, except if you live in a 24 h AC environment. Elisenlebkuchen don’t have to be covered with chocolate or a sugar glaze but in a cold climate I would always finish them that way. Tropical climate can be very challenging and chocolate will always melt and storing them in the fridge isn’t really a great option. In a tropical climate store the cookies in air tight containers with some baking paper. In a cold climate store them in metal Christmas style boxes, baking paper and add apple skin pieces to keep the cookies from getting hard.
Elisenlebkuchen Cookies Recipe – German Christmas Cookies [Gluten-free] recipe below:
- 100 grams Almonds
- 100 grams candied Lemon pieces (also known as Zitronat)
- 50 grams candied Orange pieces (also known as Orangeat or Aranzini)
- 2 Eggs
- 150 grams Brown Sugar
- pinch Salt
- 1 flat Teaspoon grated Organic Lemon rind
- ¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon Powder
- 1 heaped Teaspoon Lebkuchen spice
- 100 grams plain Marzipan cut into smaller pieces
- 150 grams powdered Sugar
- 2 Tablespoon Honey
- 20 milliliter dark Rum
- 120 grams Almond flour
- Round 40 mm average sized Gluten free Communion baking wafers or bigger size if you prefer
- 70 grams Dark bitter Chocolate
- 2 Tablespoons Oil
- 70 grams powdered Sugar
- about 1½ Tablespoon Water
- First we have to peel the almonds and we do that by keeping a pot of water to boil. Then we add the almonds to the boiling water and take them out after a few minutes or when you can see that the skin is getting off easily. Take them out of the water, let cool and peel them all one by one.
- Heat up a frying pan and add your peeled almonds and just stir fry dry (No oil!) until they are not that wet anymore. Keep aside to cool then place them into a grinder and just grind short to rough bits. Keep aside for later use.
- Add your candied lemon and orange pieces to a blender and mix it to a sticky mush as seen in the picture. Keep aside for later use.
- In a bowl combine the Eggs and brown sugar. Whisk the content to a fluffy consistency.
- Now add all the cookie dough ingredients to the egg sugar mixture which includes the almond bits, the candied lemon and orange mush, salt, grated organic lemon rind, cinnamon powder, Lebkuchen spice, marzipan chunks, powdered sugar, honey, dark rum and almond flour. Mix to a smooth sticky dough.
- Preheat your oven to 160 Celsius!
- Place your communion baking wafers with some space between each other (the cookies will grow in size while baking) on a baking sheet and with a teaspoon pick up some of the dough and slide the dough with a finger onto the wafer center. Don't add too much dough since it will rise.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes in the oven at 160 Celsius. Each oven is different, mine gave best results with 20 minutes. When they are finished baked, the cookies will appear very soft but that's what we want. Once they cool a bit they harden, so if you over bake them and they look fine after baking, then they might turn too hard after cooling them. What you are looking for once cooled is a softer (but baked) center with a harder surface.
- While your cookies are cooling down prepare the coatings (completely optional, you can also keep the cookies plain without coating). For the chocolate coating melt the chocolate with the oil and brush the cooled but still warm cookies with the chocolate. For the Sugar glaze mix the smooth powdered sugar with the water well and brush your cookies with the glaze just as you did with the chocolate glaze.
- Leave them to harden and then store well. Tropical climate -> airtight container and Cold climate -> Metal box + Apple skin to keep the cookies soft
Dear Reader, have you ever tried to use communion wafers in your baking?