Recipe: Lebkuchen to start the festive baking

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.

Raw Lebkuchen dough

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.

Lebkuchen glazed

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.

Lebkuchen cookies

You can also see what Karen, Beth, Becs and Eliza are up to in the links below, they’ve got some great ideas so do pop across if you’ve got time.

Lebkuchen cookies

Yield: 35 - 40

My version of the traditional German Christmas treat that always marks the start of the festive season for us.

Ingredients

    For the Lebkuchen
  • 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
  • For the glaze
  • 6 tbsps icing sugar, sifted
  • 3 tbsps water

Instructions

  1. Place all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter, honey and treacle together over a low heat stirring until combined.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Once cooled, make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar and water together to make a very thin, runny glaze.
  8. 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.

Notes

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.

http://fishfingersfortea.co.uk/2012/11/19/lebkuchen-to-start-festive-baking/

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. 

  • http://twitter.com/KarenBurnsBooth @Lavender and Lovage

    I adore Lebkuchen Sian and those look extremely good! When I lived in W Germany, I used to buy the big Lebkuchen hearts at the Christmas markets for family – for their stockings! Karen

    • http://twitter.com/BangerMashChat Bangers & Mash

      Karen – you really have lived everywhere haven’t you?!

      • http://fishfingersfortea.co.uk/ Fishfingers for tea

        She has, hasn’t she!

    • http://fishfingersfortea.co.uk/ Fishfingers for tea

      Thank you Karen! I love the Lebkuchen hearts, they’re so pretty!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Zbyszkos Zbyszko Swiniarski
  • Polly

    Yum, I love Christmas baking.

    • http://fishfingersfortea.co.uk/ Fishfingers for tea

      Me too! Never too early to start as far as I’m concerned!

  • http://twitter.com/BangerMashChat Bangers & Mash

    I love, love, love Lebkuchen. Whenever we went over to Germany for school trips I used to come back with big bags of these. I’m definitely making some of these for Christmas presents this year – thanks for a great post!

    • http://fishfingersfortea.co.uk/ Fishfingers for tea

      Thank you! I’ve got boxes of these next to a few people’s names this year!

  • Camilla @Fabfood4all

    I absolutely love Lebkucken but I’m afraid the rest of the household are not with me on this one, more for me every year tho. Yours look wonderful and I wish I had an audience to make them for!

    • http://fishfingersfortea.co.uk/ Fishfingers for tea

      Thank you! Treat yourself and make them, maybe they’ll change their minds!

  • Vickii O

    I’ve never tried lebkuchen before but they look so wonderful that I will definitely try them this Christmas! Or better still, I might make them following your recipe :)

    • http://fishfingersfortea.co.uk/ Fishfingers for tea

      Thank you, they really are so tasty. I’d be interested to know what you think if you do make them!

  • Laura@howtocookgoodfood

    First of all well done on getting to try out the Kenwood Chef, perfect timing with all the use it will get over the next month! Secondly, I love your Lebkuchen, spice flavoured biscuits at this time of the year cannot be beaten. I must try these out and they have a long life……even better :) x

  • http://twitter.com/ritacooksitalia Rita cooks Italian

    It’s nice to have a bright new helper in the kitchen, Sian! I love the mix of spices in these biscuits. I’ve never had Lebkuchen, but I think that the Danish Christmas biscuits have a very similar taste…and we love it!

    • http://fishfingersfortea.co.uk/ Fishfingers for tea

      It really has been so helpful Rita and it’s making things a lot quicker too.

  • http://twitter.com/therecipeblog The Recipe Blog

    I just have to try these at some point this Christmas – they look awesome!

    • http://fishfingersfortea.co.uk/ Fishfingers for tea

      Do let me know what you think!

  • sader

    what type of glove would you reccomend grinding up? rubber, leather, maybe knitted?

    • http://fishfingersfortea.co.uk/ Fishfingers for tea

      Thank you for pointing out my typo, corrected now.

  • Becs @ Lay the table

    Wow Sian, these look amazing! Mr LTT has been asking me to make some – now I have a recipe!

    • http://fishfingersfortea.co.uk/ Fishfingers for tea

      Thanks Becs! let me know what you think if you do make them!

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  • http://twitter.com/temaris temaris

    I’m curious that there don’t appear to be any eggs in the recipe. Is this right?

    • http://fishfingersfortea.co.uk/ Fishfingers for tea

      Hi, thanks for stopping by. Yes, it’s right. When I was researching recipes some called for the inclusion of egg and some didn’t. This is the recipe that I’ve used for a while without and it works for me. The ones I’ve made with egg tend to be slightly more on the cakey side.

  • gingerpops

    In Germany Xmas baking was done 1st week of Dec. The Lebkuchen were hard at first, but softened in the tin by Xmas time. They keep longer than the 2 weeks you advise.

    • http://fishfingersfortea.co.uk/ Fishfingers for tea

      Thanks for that, it’s always useful to hear how long people successfully keep things for! It’s hard to tell as you can never be sure how people are storing things, so I’d rather stay on the cautious side.

  • Deb

    This was a really lovely recipe. I made it today (added ginger-couldn’t resist). Many thanks.

    • http://fishfingersfortea.co.uk/ Fishfingers for tea

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, thank you for taking the time to let me know!

  • Dee

    This is the best Lebkuchen recipe I have ever tried in terms of taste and texture. I just added ground ginger and probably a lot more ground spice than the recipe. Thank you so much. This is now going to be my Christmas special treat.

    • http://fishfingersfortea.co.uk/ Fishfingers for tea

      Thank you, that’s a lovely thing for you to say, thank you for taking the time to come back and let me know. I find the amount of spices to be such a personal thing but it’s the kind or recipe that you can play around with and add more of what you like and less of what you don’t!

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