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German Lebkuchen Christmas Cookies

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German families celebrate the Christmas holidays by serving these traditional Lebkucken cookies. 

German Lebkuchen Christmas Cookies

Dating all the way back to the 13th century, these German spiced cookies have been an integral part of the holidays in the town of Nuremberg. In fact, in 1487 Emperor Friedrich III held a Reichstag (a parliament meeting) and gave out over 4,000 Lebkucken decorated with his portrait.

While my cookies are not that decor-intensive, these cookies are cooked rather different than a traditional cookie. The butter and flour are actually prepared more like a choux pastry, making these cookies soft and airy rather than crumbly.

A bit different, but very tasty in my opinion.

German Lebkuchen Christmas Cookies

To begin, heat the brown sugar, honey, milk, water and butter in a saucepan until the mixture just comes to a boil.

Take the pan off the heat and then add the flour at once, stirring heavily with a wooden spoon. Stir in the spices and salt and then return the dough over the heat to cook until it pulls away from the sides of the pan.

Remove from the heat once more and chill for about 30 minutes, enough that when adding your eggs they will not cook.

Once the dough is chilled, whip your egg white to soft peaks and knead the egg white into the dough along with the baking soda and liquor.

German Lebkuchen Christmas Cookies

Roll out the dough and cut into desired shapes. I decided to go with the traditional gingerbread man, a teddy bear and a glove. Bake until done and browned on the bottom, about 15 minutes.

Once the cookies are cooled, it’s time to decorate! I made up a simple royal icing of powdered sugar and milk and pipped simple decor onto the cookies.

German Lebkuchen Christmas Cookies

The next day I shared my cookies with my closest girlfriends at our Cookie Exchange party. If you’ve never hosted a cookie exchange I highly recommend doing so! They are always so fun and festive.

Check out the video I made of me making the cookies:

There’s only a few more days of holiday baking:

Bake up a batch of my Bajan Coconut Sweet Bread.

And a double-batch of my Brazilian Brigadeiros to give as gifts this season.

Brigadeiros Brazilian Chocolate Truffles

Here’s my recipe for German Lebkuchen.

Print
German Lebkuchen
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

These soft cookies are a fun and festive treat in Germany. 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Servings: 36 cookies
Author: Lyndsay Burginger
Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vodka
For The Icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk
Instructions
  1. To begin, heat the brown sugar, honey, milk, water and butter in a saucepan until the mixture just comes to a boil.

  2. Take the pan off the heat and then add the flour at once, stirring heavily with a wooden spoon. Stir in the spices and salt and then return the dough over the heat to cook until it pulls away from the sides of the pan.

  3. Remove from the heat once more and chill for about 30 minutes, enough that when adding your eggs they will not cook.

  4. Once the dough is chilled, whip your egg white to soft peaks and knead the egg white into the dough along with the baking soda and liquor.

  5. Preheat your oven to 350F

  6. On a lightly floured surface roll dough 1/4-inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake until browned on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. 

For The Icing
  1. In a bowl whisk together the powdered sugar and milk. Place in a pastry bag with a tip and decorate. Let icing harden before storing in a container at room temperature. 

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