Lebkuchen - A Famous Old-Time German Christmas Cookie



Lebkuchen is a traditional German cookie baked at Christmastime. They resemble soft gingerbread. These cookies are also called honey cakes (Honigkuchen) or pepper cakes (Pfefferkuchen). Traditional, Lebkuchen is a large round cookie about 4' in diameter and if made into rectangles, could be larger.

The ancient Romans, Egyptians and Greeks called these honey cakes. Thinking honey was a gift of the gods and had magical powers,they sometimes wore honey cakes as talisman in battles or to ward of evil spirits.

I recommend eating them and not wearing them! This recipe for Lebkuchen is too good to wear.

1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. molasses
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
2 3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 c. cut-up citron
1/3 c. chopped nuts

Mix together the honey and molasses and bring to poil over medium heat. Cool completely in large mixing bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, egg, lemon juice and lemon rind.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, soda, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Add flour mixture to the honey and molasses mixture. Stir in the citron and chopped nuts. Mix well. Chill dough overnight.

Preheat oven to 400° F. Roll small amount at a time to keep rest of the dough chilled. Roll out 1/4" thick and cut into oblong shapes about 1 1/2"x2 1/2". Place about 2" apart on greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until no imprint remains when lightly touched. Brush the Glazing Icing (recipe below) over the cookies the minute they are out of the oven. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire racks.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Glazing Icing

Boil 1 c. sugar and 1/2 c. water until first indication of a thread appears (230°). Remove from heat. Stir in 1/4 c. powdered sugar. Brush hot icing thinly over cookies. (If icing gets sugary, reheat slightly and add a little water until it is clear again.)

Lebkuchen are one of many Christmas cookies to can make this holiday season.

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