When does the festive season start for you? By the time Bonfire night has passed I’m ready to start thinking about all things twinkly lights. The celebrations start early here with both my brother and my dad having birthdays in November, then Izzy’s birthday half way through December, Yule and finally Christmas. So lots of call for festivities, baking and fun.
Kenwood have challenged myself and 4 other bloggers to help create the Kenwood Christmas Menu and hopefully provide a few tips and a bit of inspiration on the run up to the big day. We’re kicking off with gearing up for the festive season.
And that’s what Lebkuchen are for me. They mark the start of all things wintery and fun. These traditional German Christmas cookies are packed full of spices and deep flavours that just shout Christmas.
Chewy and cakey at the same time, there’s something that’s rather hard to resist about Lebkuchen. Somewhat similar to gingerbread there are various recipes available but this is a mash-up of a couple and it works well. Not overly sweet but just sweet enough with warming spices and an almost burnt caramel taste from the treacle.
These have a very thin glaze, though it can be swapped for a thicker icing sugar and egg white glaze instead, which is how they are often bought. A coating of melted chocolate wouldn’t be out of place either.
These make lovely home-made gifts, especially popped in to a glass jar, pretty box of wrapped up in bags with ribbon. They keep well in an airtight container so can be made in advance and help you to get ahead of yourself.
My version of the traditional German Christmas treat that always marks the start of the festive season for us.
- 250g plain flour
- 85g ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 ½ tsps cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 85g butter
- 100g runny honey
- 100g black treacle
- 6 tbsps icing sugar, sifted
- 3 tbsps water
- Place all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter, honey and treacle together over a low heat stirring until combined.
- Pour the butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well, until combined and you have a soft sticky dough. Leave to cool completely. If you’re like me and can’t resist tasting raw mixtures there will be an overwhelming flavour of black treacle, don’t worry, it will mellow with baking.
- Once the dough has cooled, preheat the oven to 160c fan / 180c and line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper. You will need to bake the cookies in several batches.
- Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into balls, about the size of a large marble. Flatten the balls to around half a centimetre thickness. Place each round on the greaseproof paper, leaving 4 – 5 centimetre gaps between them to allow for spreading.
- Bake for 8- 10 minutes until risen slightly. Leave to cool on the trays for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Bake the rest of the cookies. I find it speeds up the process to cut out further sheets of greaseproof paper and line the raw cookies up on them so the sheets can just be transferred to the baking trays once the previous batch has been removed.
- Once cooled, make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar and water together to make a very thin, runny glaze.
- Lay cling film on the work surface (it saves on cleaning up later!) and dip each cookie into the glaze and return to the wire rack. Leave to dry.
When working with honey, syrups and treacle I find it much easier to weight directly in to the container I need (so the saucepan in this case) using my add and weigh scales. Dip a spoon in to very hot water and it will allow the treacle to just slide off the spoon in to the pan.
These make great homemade gifts and will keep in an airtight container for about two weeks. Package them up in pretty boxes or bags and wrap with ribbon.
The glaze can be varied with an icing sugar/egg white glaze or some melted chocolate.
This is a sponsored post in association with Kenwood. I received a Kenwood Titanium Chef (which I’m happy to admit that I’m more than a little bit in love with!) in return for working with Kenwood and 4 other bloggers to create a Christmas menu.