Day 4: Lebkuchen

Several years ago, I was introduced to today’s cookie by a good friend of mine who generously shared a package of lebkuchen that she had squirreled away. We had never heard of them before, but loved them from first bite.  Then, we began seeing the everywhere at Christmastime, from Trader Joe’s to the local fancy grocery store.  We would buy multiple packs of them during the holidays and save them for special treats.

The best way to describe them is a citrusy-spiced nut cookie, sorta like a nutty gingerbread.  They are usually glazed with either an icing or chocolate glaze that  protects the cookie from getting dried out, which also makes this cookie an excellent keeper.  In fact, I read one recipe that suggested making them two full weeks before you plan to serve them because the flavors develop over time.

Another distinctive thing about them is that they are usually baked on top of an oblaten wafer.  These are usually made of some kind of starch and resemble the communion wafers that some churches use.

This year, we are having a little trouble finding a supply of lebkuchen in our area, so I decided I would have a go at making them myself.  You start by making a ground nut mixture that includes citrus and spices.  I got my spice mix from a friend in Germany who sent me a package awhile back.

Some recipes sort of stop here and just add some sugar and eggs to finish the recipe.  However, the recipe I was using called for some flour, a little chocolate, and butter as well, which I understand is not entirely traditional.

Usually, I would pick a more traditional recipe, but I was worried that they would fall apart since I did not plan to use the wafers.

With the addition of flour as a binder, you can bake them with or without the wafers.  As I said, I did not have wafers, but at the last minute, I remembered that I did have sheets of rice paper from making nougat.  It just took some cutting to make the round oblaten shapes.

You can see I was all ready to bake them when I remembered the rice paper.  It was easy to transfer them to a different baking sheet with the paper.

I have to say that I am really pleased with how they turned out.  They look just like the ones in the packages, especially after the glaze is brushed on and has time to dry.

And they taste great as well!  The texture is just right and the flavors are actually a little brighter than the packaged ones.  I think the spices could be a bit stronger, but those may ripen with time.  It will be interesting to see if they taste better the longer they sit, but we may not make it that long!

The recipe I used came from an America’s Test Kitchen publication from 2008, Holiday Baking and is not readily available on the internet unless you subscribe to their site.  I think this recipe would be a good substitute, though.

Next year, I may try buying some oblaten papers, but for now, I will stick with the rice paper that I have.  It worked really well, though it is probably not as thick as the real thing.

I have loved reading all the comments so far, so keep them rolling in!  Tell me about the best gift you have ever given someone else for Christmas.  I’m looking for ideas!

Remember that you get one entry a day if you leave a comment here on the blog.  Comments in other places are not eligible for the Christmas Treat box giveaway.  More details here.

 

 

 

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Posted on December 10, 2016, in Baking, Holiday, Inspiration and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Hmmm, best gift I’ve ever given…. that’s a hard one…. I made table runners one year, which were well received. And my kiddos loved the flannel pajamas i made last year. I’m a sucker for homemade gifts!

  2. The best gift I have given, was to my parents when I had their first grandchild right before Christmas. My dad beamed all Christmas morning while snuggling a tiny baby!

  3. That is a huge tree! Is it in your town or in the city?
    One year when I was a teenager I made quilted bathrobes for my two younger sisters. That was an undertaking! I think my mom must have helped me.

  4. I have only ever eaten the packaged Lebkuchen. These look amazing!

    I am not sure what would be the best gift I have ever given at Christmas. For the past decade, I have tried to include knitted gifts in my gift giving (hats, scarves, cowls or shawls). I love receiving handmade gifts and like to take the time to make gifts for family and friends. (Seeing those gifts worn by the recipient always makes me happy, so I guess then it is a gift to me, too!)

  5. These look delicious! Great photos as well. I have to say the best gift I gave was a DIY calendar I made the spouse 🙂

  6. These look like a bit of work…but sound good 😄 As for gifts…sooooo many over the years…my kids are in their mid 30s…just thinking back over them all boggles my mind haha!

  7. I love how multi-cultural your cookies are this year! Your baking prowess really amazes me…

    One time I booked a train ride to attend a Baltimore Orioles game for my husband – he loved it! Another time I secretly had a sunroof installed in his car. But those are really big gifts. This year I purchased a slingshot for my new daughter-in-law’s father. Even though I spent less than $25, I think that it will be a big hit!

  8. Mmmm. Another cookie that sounds tasty.

    I think my best gift was the year we moved to Australia. I secretly emailed my husband’a friends and family and had them send me pictures and stories of their memories with him. I put it together in a book and surprised him with it on Christmas since we were so far away from everyone that year.

  9. My favorite part is the oblaten! I love the slight chewiness with the spice flavors.
    Everyone on my list is getting a Luci solar light this year; time will tell if it becomes a favorite gift for all the recipients. For me, however, I remember specific books given because the giver really knew me and the selections reflect that deep friendship and love. Books are always treasures in my book. (Pardon the pun!)

  10. Another interesting cookie. Love the photos

  11. Love these! Reminds me of when we lived in Germany😃

  12. thecrazysheeplady

    Probably books. My favorites to gift are Shepherds of Coyote Rocks, The Shepherd’s Life and Sylvia’s Farm.

  13. I do a sweater for my SO every year. He wears them regularly in the winter.

  14. One year, I got salimah’s favorite painting from childhood framed and surprised her with it. She was so delighted and would never have thought to ask for it!

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