Elisabeth Stoll's Lebkuchen (Spice Cookies) Christmas Baking with SusieJ

Measurements [American]

For the cookies:

  • 5 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk (white is used in icing)
  • 430 g brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • Either:
    • 90 g almonds, finely chopped or ground
    • 120 mL hazelnuts, finely chopped or ground
  • 280 g flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

For the icing:

  • 1 egg white
  • 120 g powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond flavoring

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.

Grind nuts in food processor until very fine. My little food processor takes a bit under a minute to grind to the right consistency.

Beat the whole eggs, yolk, and brown sugar on medium speed until well blended and the mixture is very light and has a lot of volume, five to ten minutes. Whisk together the spices, flour, baking powder and ground nuts, and gently fold or mix into the sugar-egg mixture until just blended. Line a rimmed baking with parchment paper, pour mixture into pan and smooth with an offset spatula, making sure to spread all the way to the edges and fill in the corners.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Flip pan, remove pan, remove parchment paper from back of Lebkuchen, and flip Lebkuchen upright.

While the lebkuchen cools, in a small bowl, whisk egg white until foamy (not yet the soft peak stage). Whisk powdered sugar and almond extract into the egg white, until a smooth icing paste forms. It will be fairly stiff but spreadable. Spread on cooling Lebkuchen and allow to cool for another 20 minutes.

Using a serrated knife, gently cut into bars about 3 inches by 1 1/2 inches. Store in the ubiquitous airtight container, and allow to mellow overnight before eating.

Note: You can omit the nuts and add a bit more flour. Or you may wish to add some (about a half cup?) finely chopped candied fruit. The fruit should probably not be as finely chopped as the nuts.

Translations often call Lebkuchen gingerbread, although some recipes, like this one, have no ginger. These are an easy, chewy, spicy bar cookie. (I've made Marth Stewart's gingerbread, and trust me, this is easier!). Modern Lebkuchen are baked on Backoblaten (which remind me of nothing so much as large communion wafers), and traditional Lebkuchen in molds with inedible paper cutouts (such as St. Nicolaus) applied to the top.

These are best after they've had a day for the flavors to mellow together, and will last for weeks.

In the original recipe, Gran'ma noted that adding a bit of water would give more batter and make the cookies less rich.