German Lebkuchen

I love having at least one spice cookie in my Christmas cookie assortment. This year, I selected Lebkuchen because I know my mom is a fan of them. I only made one batch- what a mistake! I should have doubled it (at least)… Next time. 😉

This recipe is from Hannah of the beautiful blog Domestic Gothess. I glazed the finished cookies and omitted dipping them in chocolate. I weighed the dry ingredients and freshly ground the spices in the dough. They were wonderful!

For the Lebkuchen:

  • 150 g (1/2 + 1/3 cup) dark brown soft sugar
  • 150 g (5.3oz) runny honey
  • 50 g (4 T,  1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • finely grated zest of 1 naval orange
  • 300 g (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 150 g (1 1/4 cups) ground almonds
  • 1 T cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs

For the Glaze:

  • 150 g (1 1/2 cups) Confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 T water

  1. Put the sugar, honey, butter and orange zest in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.
  3. Beat the eggs into the sugar mixture one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. In two or three additions, mix in the flour mixture until well combined.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least half an hour or (ideally) up to overnight.
  6. To Bake: Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 (on convection) and line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Scoop out portions of the dough using a large cookie scoop (1 1/2″ in diameter) or measuring spoon (about 1 1/2 tbsp at a time), and roll between slightly damp hands into smooth balls.
  8. Place them well spaced apart on the baking sheets and flatten them slightly with your fingers.
  9. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes until firm and lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  10. Transfer the Lebkuchen to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  11. To Make the Glaze: Place the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl and gradually mix in enough of the water to form a slightly runny icing – not too wet though or it will all run off. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet.
  12. Dip the tops of the Lebkuchen in the glaze, allow the excess to drip off then place them right-side up on the wire rack to set.
  13. Once set, store in an airtight container. The cookies improve over time. An apple placed in the container may keep them more fresh.

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German Potato Salad with Dill

I make potato salad just for my husband who would love to eat potatoes in some form on a daily basis. I often say that I really could give or take a potato… but… I’ll have to admit that this potato salad was quite tasty! The dressing was really delicious. It’s a perfect summer side.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Alison Roman. I used baby Yukon gold potatoes and cut them after cooking so that they would take on less water. We ate it with Pasta Salad with Peas and Summer Beans and Grilled Salmon and Bacon Sandwiches for our Memorial Day cookout. Delicious.

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Yield: Serves 6

  • 2 pounds small waxy potatoes, scrubbed clean (I used baby Yukon golds)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 scallions, white and green sections, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted (directions below)
  1. Cover potatoes with cold salted water, bring to a boil, and cook until tender (about 10-12 minutes); drain, cut in half, and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and mix in vinegar.
  4. Add to potatoes along with scallions, and dill, and toss, crushing potatoes slightly; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the caraway seeds to the remaining dressing in the pan. Heat gently until fragrant and add to the potato mixture. Mix gently.
  6. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled, as desired.

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Spinach Spaetzle with Bacon and Sage

This comfort food dish is truly season-less. It’s the easiest fresh pasta recipe EVER. These little German dumplings, or batter noodles, are cooked in minutes. The noodles can be prepared several hours in advance- finishing the dish by sautéing them with bacon and sage just prior to serving.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I modified the cooking method by using a potato ricer to form the noodles. In addition, I increased the spinach as well as the water in the batter. We ate it as a main dish but it would also be delicious as an indulgent side dish.

Yield: 6 servings

Time: about 1 hour

  • 6 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces bacon or pancetta, cut crosswise into thin slices
  • 4 T unsalted butter
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
  1. Drop spinach leaves into boiling water to blanch, about 30 seconds, then transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain spinach and squeeze dry.
  2. Put cooked spinach in a blender or food processor with the eggs and yolks and blitz briefly to make a green purée.
  3. Put spinach purée in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, the nutmeg and the pepper.
  4. Beat in flour and 3/4 cup cold water to make a wet, sticky batter-like dough. Beat for 5 minutes, until lump free. If the mixture seems too stiff, beat in a few more tablespoons cold water. (Because I used a potato ricer, I thinned the batter to a more runny consistency by incorporating an additional 3 T of water.)
  5. Leave batter to rest at room temperature, covered, for 15 minutes. Prepare an ice-water bath. Place a colander within the ice-water bath.
  6. Bring a large wide pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  7. Holding the potato ricer over the boiling water, fill it with 1-2 ladles of batter; close and press the batter into the water. IMG_3886
  8. Let the spaetzle cook for 1 minute or so, until they rise to the surface. Remove with a skimmer and immediately cool in the colander in the ice water. Continue until all batter is used. Drain cooked spaetzle and blot dry. (I placed the spaetzle on a rimmed baking sheet which was lined with several layers of paper-towels.) *Note: The recipe may be prepared up to this point several hours before serving.*
  9. Just before serving, set a large wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and let it render without browning much, about 2 minutes. Pour off fat and leave bacon in pan. (To decrease the mess, I wiped out the fat with paper towels.)
  10. Add the butter and let it foam, then add sage leaves and let sizzle for 30 seconds.
  11. Add the cooked spaetzle and sauté, stirring with a wooden spoon until heated through and lightly browned.
  12. Transfer to a warm serving bowl, if desired. Serve immediately with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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Speculaas: Dutch Spice Cookies

One of my all-time favorite cookies are Belgian Biscoff cookies. They are SO GOOD! When my husband picked up this holiday cookie cookbook at the library for me, this recipe immediately caught my eye. These Northern European spice cookies are called Speculaas in the Netherlands, Speculoos in Belgium, and Spekulatius in Germany.

This recipe for Dutch Spice Cookies was adapted from Christmas Cookies: 50 Recipes to Treasure for the Holiday Season by Lisa Zwirn. It was recommended to use a diamond-shaped cookie cutter with fluted edges, but I made Christmas trees for the occasion! (Any other shape would truly make them seasonless.) The dough had an ideal texture and rolled and cut like a dream. 🙂 I am going to make them again for sure- and will (at least) double the recipe next Christmas. I may also have to get the traditional cookie cutter.

Yield: Makes about 50 (2 1/2-inch diameter) cookies

For the Cookie Dough:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice (or cloves) (I used freshly ground allspice)
  • 8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest (I used the zest of 1 lemon)

For the Egg Wash & Topping:

  • 1 egg white whisked with 2 tsp water until frothy
  • sliced almonds, to taste

  1. Whisk together the flour baking powder, salt cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice in a medium bowl.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until creamy.
  3. Beat in the egg, then the lemon zest.
  4. With the beaters on low-speed, mix in the flour mixture until throughly combined.
  5. Gather the dough in to a ball, then divide it in half.
  6. Shape each half into a disk and wrap separately in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (I refrigerated the dough overnight.)
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees on convection. Line 2 rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Working with one disk at a time, roll out the dough  between two sheets of plastic wrap or on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4-inch thickness.
  9. Using a diamond, square, or round cookie cutter measuring about 2 1/2-inches in diameter, cut the dough and arrange on the prepared baking sheets about 1 1/2-inches apart.
  10. Reroll the scraps and repeat.
  11. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the egg wash over the tops of the cookies.
  12. Press a few almonds onto the center of each cookie.
  13. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes or until the cookies are slightly browned around the edges and the almonds are golden. (The cookies will crisp up as they cool.)
  14. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool.

Note: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.

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If you like this you may also like:

Haselnussmakronen: Raspberry-Hazelnut Macaroons

Oh my goodness… I hope it’s not too late to wish all of you a Happy New Year! 🙂

I am so behind on my posts- so please forgive me. :/ I have to do a little catch-up with a couple of holiday cookie posts before I can move on! 😉

These Raspberry-Hazelnut Macaroons were a new addition to my Christmas cookie plates this year. I thought that they were special and tasty- but my biggest critics (read: my husband & my son) were skeptical. Well, let me tell you that TWO of my neighbors told me that they were their absolute favorite!! I was absolutely thrilled. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Luisa Weiss. I doubled the original recipe and reduced the baking time for a convection oven. These cookies are described as “extremely no-fuss”; they require minimal ingredients and no chilling time. Truly the hardest part of their preparation was roasting and peeling the hazelnuts!! I used a hand mixer (as instructed) but would use a stand mixer (with whisk attachment) next time to whip the whites to a little bit past soft peaks. My thought is that the cookies would be less flat as a result. I’ll keep you posted! 😉 They would also be wonderful for Valentine’s Day! ❤ ❤

Yield: approximately 30 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups whole hazelnuts
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam (I used Trader Joe’s)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° on convection. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Spread the hazelnuts in a pie plate and toast until the skins split and the nuts are fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and 
rub together to release the skins. Let 
the hazelnuts cool completely.
  4. In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts until finely chopped.
  5. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer (or stand mixer), beat the egg whites with the salt at medium speed until foamy, 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted, 
5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Fold in the hazelnuts.
  7. Using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop 
or a soup spoon, scoop 1 1/2-inch rounds 
of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
  8. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes on convection, or up to 11 to 13 minutes in a standard oven, or until fragrant and lightly browned; rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking.
  9. Remove the cookies from the oven and, while they’re still hot, carefully make an indentation in the center of each with 
the back of a teaspoon.
  10. In a small saucepan, boil the raspberry jam for 30 seconds, until slightly thickened. Carefully spoon about 1 teaspoon of the hot jam into the center 
of each cookie. Let the jam set and the cookies cool completely before serving.

Note: The cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container between wax paper for up to 4 days.

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German-Style Bacon & Shallot Potato Salad

I have to confess that I am not really a huge fan of potato salad. I guess that I usually think of potato salad as the typical super starchy mayonnaise-laden version. This German-style potato salad is loaded with mustard, bacon, and shallots- some of my absolute favorite ingredients. When my husband requested potato salad for his belated Father’s Day cookout, I was so happy to have found this mustard version! It was tangy and loaded with flavor. 🙂 This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. It is best eaten warm, just after it is assembled, but would also be good at room temperature. Perfect for every summer cookout. I’m sharing this with my friends at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #75 this week- which I am co-hosting with my friend Julie of Hostess at Heart! Come join the fun! 🙂 Happy 4th of July! Yield: Serves 8

  • 2 pounds small waxy white or yellow potatoes, roughly about the same size
  • 6 ounces thick-cut bacon, diced
  • ½ cup thinly sliced shallot (I used 2 GIANT shallots)
  • 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt, more as needed
  • freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • chopped parsley, for garnish, optional
  1. Place whole unpeeled potatoes in a large pot with enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are just tender, 15 to 25 minutes depending upon size.
  2. Drain and cut potatoes into 1 1/2-inch chunks as soon as you can handle them. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  4. Stir shallots into the skillet with the bacon fat and fry for a minute, until just slightly crisped. Remove from heat.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk in shallots and bacon drippings. (I added the mustard mixture directly to my skillet to combine with all of the drippings.)
  6. Crumble in bacon. Immediately toss potatoes with dressing. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
  7. Garnish with parsley and more vinegar if you like and serve warm or at room temperature.

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German Apple Cake

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I love apple baking season!! My son has also become obsessed with cinnamon-sugar ever since pumpkin doughnut muffins became part of his life. 🙂 Apples and cinnamon-sugar are a match made in heaven- not to mention eating tasty cake a la mode- the whole dessert was heavenly!

I chose this recipe because the presentation was so pretty- so happy it was equally delicious. This cake was AMAZING. The recipe was adapted from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn, via Martha Stewart Living. I used Ginger Gold apples because they were the most tart and best baking apples available at my farmstand at the time. It would also be wonderful with a combination of Granny Smith, Winesap, or Cortland apples. I usually prefer to combine varieties, but I couldn’t wait to make this cake. 🙂

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  • cooking oil spray
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, separated
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 large, tart apples, such as Ginger Gold, Granny Smith, Cortland, or Winesap

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  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (on convection). Butter (or spray with cooking oil) a 9 x 7-inch or an 8-inch square pan, or other equivalent-size baking dish. Line with parchment paper, butter or spray the parchment as well.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup of the sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until combined. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/3-cup sugar with the cinnamon.
  5. Squeeze lemon juice into a medium bowl. Peel, core, and slice the apples into the bowl. Add the cinnamon-sugar mixture and toss to thoroughly coat each apple slice.
  6. Arrange the apple slices on top of the batter in overlapping rows, pressing lightly into the batter. Drizzle remaining cinnamon-sugar over the top.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

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