Here are two recipes for cookies – German Ginger Cookies called Liebkuchen. Robin made some of each of these and they are awesome. Spicy and sweet. See the note below. Enjoy!
Yield: 2 dozen
1 1/3 cups Honey heated in microwave with 1/3 cup packed brown sugar for 1 minute in lg glass mixing bowl
2 c All-Purpose flour
1 t Baking powder
½ t Baking soda
1 c Candied mixed fruit
1 T Light Sesame Oil
¼ t ground Ginger
½ t ground Cardamom
2 t ground Cinnamon
¼ t ground Cloves
¼ t ground Allspice (optional)
¼ t ground Nutmeg (optional)
1½ c All-purpose flour
Candied fruit and whole skinned almonds
Spray bottom and sides of a 10 x15 inch glass or ceramic lasagna pan with a non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).
In a [I use a quart glass measuring bowl that has a handle] 2 cup glass measuring cup, heat the honey and 1/3 cup sugar in a microwave for 1 minute.
In a large mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Then I add the spices first and stir and then the fruits to the flour.
For the oil [I used 1 tsp roasted sesame oil cause I did not have light sesame oil + 2 tsp canola oil] add to the honey mixture. Stir well.
Add 1½ to 2 cups more flour. Knead dough to mix (dough will be stiff). Spread into pan. [I score the top with a knife in diamond shapes and decorate with candied cherries, green cherries or pineapple to look like a rose with leaves] and then an almond at each corner. [I skin my own whole almonds – just pour boiling water over a cupful of whole raw almonds, let sit at least 10 minutes, then drain in a sieve and pop off the skins]
Bake for 20 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cut into diamonds or squares along the scored lines. May be frosted with lemon or orange juice/powdered sugar glaze or left plain. Best if stored for 2 weeks.
Note: Liebkuchen or Lebkuchen, also called Pfefferkuchen, is German gingerbread. These cookies are either rectangular or round, they have a sweet, lightly nutty taste, and their aroma is spicy, a bit like nutmeg and allspice. They are usually soft with a slight crunch from chopped nuts. The Lebkuchen is a traditional Christmas cookie, which is often enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee. There are many regional variations to the Lebkuchen, but the most well-known is the Nürnberger Lebkuchen … Nürnberger Lebkuchen or gingerbread has been around since the 14th century, when Nürnberg was a rich city with good trade associations … “Nürnberger Lebkuchen” are just one of many types of German gingerbread. They have been baked in the city of Nürnberg since 1395 by the local monks. The spices had to be imported for all Lebkuchen, so cities with strong trading partners had an advantage over small, agricultural villages when creating new types of Lebkuchen. Nürnberg also had good honey production and this gave them an edge up in commercial production of their Lebkuchen, which began in the 14th century. In 1643, the city even created the “League of Lebkuchen Bakers”.
“Oblaten Lebkuchen” are baked on a thin wafer to keep the soft cookie from sticking to the cookie sheet. “Nürnberger Elisen Lebkuchen”, considered the finest kind of Oblaten Lebkuchen, must have a minimum 25% nuts and less than 10% flour by weight. Sometimes, the recipe includes marzipan. These are soft, moist drop cookies.
Other types of Lebkuchen are made with a stiff dough which starts with a honey or sugar syrup and are rolled and baked. White Lebkuchen are decorated with almonds and candied orange or lemon peel. Lebkuchen is often referred to as “Pfefferkuchen”.
Liebkuchen Dark Cookies
Yield: 72 Cookies
½ c Honey
½ c Molasses
¾ c packed Brown Sugar
1 T Lemon Juice
1 t Lemon Zest
2¾ c All-Purpose flour
½ t Baking Soda
1 t ground Cinnamon
1 t ground Cloves
1 t ground Allspice
1 t ground Nutmeg
1/3 c diced candied Citron Peel
1/3 c chopped Hazelnuts
In a medium saucepan, stir together the honey and molasses. Bring the mixture to a boil, remove from heat and stir in the brown sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and lastly the egg.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Add the molasses mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in the citron and hazelnuts.
Cover dough and chill overnight. Dough will be very sticky – some roll the dough out on a floured surface and cut 2 inch circles. I find it works with the scoop and press method below.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets. Using a large T scoop of dough at a time, place 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet. Press the ball of dough down to ¼ inch thickness – cut with a circular ring, removing excess dough with a spoon if you want a perfectly round cookie. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until no imprint remains when touched lightly.
Icing 1 cup white sugar ½ cup water ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan.
Have a candy-making helper – necessary for this part. Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F (soft ball stage). Remove from heat and stir in the confectioners’ sugar.
Quickly brush the icing over the cookies while they are still hot (Important!) and remove them to wire cooling racks.
If icing becomes sugary while brushing cookies, re-heat slightly- adding a little water until crystals dissolve.
Store in an airtight container with a ¼ cut orange or apple core for a few days to mellow.