(pronounced leb-ku-hen in German) is a kind of spiced gingerbread, but not all lebkuchen recipes contain the same spices. This traditional lebkuchen recipe has been passed down from generation to generation in my husband’s family; I had the honour of learning it from my Oma-in-law in November 2014. This year, I did the entire recipe on my own and was able to bake the lebkuchen successfully! The entire process does take a long time, but if you were to make these cookies ahead of time, lebkuchen actually keeps really well as the baked cookies will soften slowly over time! Start preparing these cookies in late November or early December; you can decorate the lebkuchen at a later time, as long as you store them in air-tight containers and definitely layer parchment paper between each set of cookies. (I got lazy when baking last year and let’s just say the lebkuchen stuck to one another. Oh well, more test cookies, right!)
Weigh Your Ingredients
It is very important to measure by weight as moisture in your ingredients may vary, depending on the climate you live in. Also important to note is that: you may NOT use up all the flour prescribed. I ended up using about less than 3.5 lbs of flour.
The consistency of the dough is soft after adding liquids and eggs.
This recipe will be VERY tough on your KitchenAid (I tried towards the end and the mixer was getting warm just on ‘stir’); you’d get a better feel of the dough with a wooden spoon anyway.
- The amount of margarine used is roughly 1 cup or 8 oz.
- 10 g of cinnamon or cloves is roughly 3 tsp
Other recipe notes:
– After washing your lemon and drying it with a towel: When zesting lemon, please do not be aggressive. You do not want to zest until you see the white pith; that would be quite bitter. Oma saves her lemon after zesting by wrapping it in cling wrap and puts it in her freezer to make lemon glaze icing later on.
– You can add 1/2 lb of nuts if you’re a nut lover in cookies. I have left it out because nuts are common allergens.
– 120 cookies yield will vary depending on size of cookie cutter you are using. With less than half the dough batter, I was able to make over 50 gingerbread boys and over 50+ stars. You will use up your dough a lot faster if you used larger sized cookie cutter.
– While eating raw cookie dough is often frowned upon, after the end of the 4 days of rising the dough, you might notice that the dough batter tastes like toffee.
– You *almost* could substitute food grade Ammonium Carbonate and Potassium Carbonate with Sodium Bicarbonate (commonly known as baking soda), but you will NOT get the same texture as the ultimate food chemical reaction’s results are different.
Note: Links will lead you to K & K Foodliner, which is a local import store in Edmonton, Alberta. I am not paid for linking my favourite German import and deli store — other than giving away a gift certificate, which is found on this GIVEAWAY POST (OPEN TO ALBERTAN residents only; pick up in Edmonton) on the blog. K & K Foodliner ships within Canada — so, if you are trying this recipe, you are in luck for finding hard to find ingredients for making lebkuchen!
LEMON GLAZE ICING RECIPE
2 fresh lemons, use a juice reamer to squeeze juice
1 1/4 cup icing sugar (minimum); add more if you desire more sweetness and/or icing thickness
Directions for lemon glaze:
2 lemons roughly makes about less than 1/2 cup of lemon juice; remove any seeds in the juice if there are any. Add icing sugar about 1/4 cup at a time; use the back of a spoon to dissolve the icing sugar.
(OPTIONAL: To make a chocolate version, add 1 TBSP dutch-processed cocoa powder to 3 TBSP of your lemon glaze mixture and add more icing sugar to thicken as necessary.)
Please comment below if you would need more illustrations on the step(s). (I used to draw comics, so I can definitely do illustrations for process pictures)
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[Last edited on Dec-12-2015 to include lemon glaze icing recipe]