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.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Chewy Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies

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I had pretty much finished my holiday baking but decided that a gingerbread or molasses cookie was missing from my assortment. Last year I made gingerbread cutouts- but basically was out of steam to make them this year. :/ I was searching my cookbook library and the internet for the perfect molasses drop cookie when this one magically appeared in my WordPress Reader. Yay! They looked perfect and sounded wonderful. Thanks, Suzanne! This recipe was adapted from Food 52 via A Pug in the Kitchen.

When measuring with molasses, I always coat the measuring cup with cooking spray- it glides right out like magic. 🙂 I also grind whole cloves in a spice grinder. Whole cloves are less expensive and have a much longer shelf life. Freshly ground spices have so much more flavor too.

Yield: Makes 24 to 30 cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (I grind whole cloves)
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • turbinado or granulated sugar, for rolling
  1. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, salt and cloves in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar together in bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, 3 minutes.
  3. Add egg and molasses. Mix to combine well.
  4. Stir in dry ingredients. Do not over mix. Refrigerate the batter for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 F (convection). Scoop dough with a cookie scoop and roll dough into 1 1/2″ balls.
  6. Coat dough balls in turbinado or granulated sugar.
  7. Arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and gently flatten, just barely I use 2 fingers and lightly push on the dough.
  8. Bake in oven until set and crinkled on top, about 12 minutes. Remove and cool.

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One Year Ago:

Gingerbread Snacking Cake

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Today is my sister’s real birthday- HBD, Sister Kins!! 🙂 I made this cake for an early birthday celebration. Either the cake was tasty- or maybe I cut the portions too small…. but almost everyone had at least a second piece. 🙂 I initially forgot to serve it with whipped cream, but I thought it was delicious with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar. This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart, via Smitten Kitchen. I made it one day ahead as the flavor was supposed to improve with age!

Happy New Year & Best Wishes for 2014!

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (optional- I omitted it)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting finished cake
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Butter and flour parchment and sides of cake pan, or spray both with a nonstick baking spray.
  2. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan (or large one, if you’d like to make the cake entirely in there) and add baking soda — it will foam up! Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in butter until melted. Whisk in dark brown sugar, molasses and fresh ginger, if using. Mixture is usually just lukewarm by now, but if it still feels quite hot to the touch, set it aside to 10 to 15 minutes to cool further before using.
  3. Transfer molasses mixture to a large mixing bowl if your saucepan isn’t large enough to make the batter in. Whisk in eggs until just combined. Sift dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, and all spices) over wet, then stir the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake for 28 minutes (standard oven) to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer cake to a wire rack and let cool completely. Once fully cool, cut around cake to make sure no parts are sticking to the side and invert cake out onto a rack, then onto a serving plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream, if desired.

Do ahead: Whipped cream needs to be stored in the fridge. Cake keeps at room temperature for up to a week in an airtight container. It gets better with age.

Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing

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I know that my Christmas cookie posts are belated, but I am sure that someone is still baking! 🙂 I wish that I had more time to make so many new varieties of cookies but this was my only new cookie this year.

My daughter was begging for gingerbread girls and boys to be included in the Christmas cookie lineup! 🙂 They may have surpassed Raspberry Meringues as her favorite too. (She would have been in big trouble if she hadn’t loved them– they require quite a bit of work!) This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. They have a wonderful and deep gingerbread flavor from the addition of fresh ginger.

For the Cookies:

  • 3 1/2 cups (or 14.87 oz) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 T plus 1 tsp grated, peeled, fresh ginger
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • Royal Icing, for decorating (recipe below)

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  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, and cloves; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, both sugars, and fresh ginger on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Beat in egg and molasses to combine. With mixer on low-speed, gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and shape into flattened disks; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with the racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  6. Remove dough from the refrigerator, and let stand until slightly softened. (This will help keep the dough from cracking when rolled.) On a large piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour- or between two large pieces of plastic wrap- roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick. To prevent sticking while rolling on parchment, occasionally run a large offset spatula under dough, and add more flour. (I don’t find this necessary when using plastic wrap.)  Stack cookie dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet covered with plastic wrap. Freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes.
  7. Remove dough from freezer; working quickly, cut out with cookie cutters. (If the dough begins to soften too much, return to the freezer for a few minutes.) Using a wide metal spatula, transfer cutouts to prepared baking sheets; chill until firm, about 15 minutes. (I stack the cut cookie dough on a plastic wrap lined baking sheet, placing plastic wrap between layers; chill 15 minutes to overnight.)
  8. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are crisp but not darkened, 7 to 8 minutes for small cutouts (on convection) and up to 15 minutes for large shapes. Transfer parchment and cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired with Royal Icing, if using. Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

For the Royal Icing:

  • 1/4  pound confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/4 T meringue powder
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar, meringue powder, and a scant 2 T water on low-speed.  Beat until mixture is fluffy yet dense, 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. Pipe onto cookies. Icing can be thinned for flooding, adding 1 tsp water at a time, if desired.

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