Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lebkuchen (German)

The delicious Lebkuchen (and you can learn more about them by clicking their name in this phrase) is a traditional kind of biscuit cookie very popular in Germany and particularly known as a product of Nürnberg. They taste spicy-sweet, resembling a softer version of gingerbread. Also, this is the material of the supposedly witch house in the "Hansel and Gretel" fairytale. Given that Christmas is coming and it seems to be the season for spicy sweets, this was our choice for how to spend the afternoon. Try them both with milk as breakfast or with mulled wine for something a little more festive ;). It took us 30-40 minutes (including baking time) to make them, and we had fun decorating them!

  • 200 g of honey
  • 50 g of sugar
  • a thick slice of butter (about two spoons)
  • 1 egg (divided into egg-yellow and egg-white)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground all-spice (pimento - do not confuse with cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 300 g flour
  • 10 g backing powder
  • 100 g of ground almonds (or hazelnuts) 
  • 100 g of candied lemon zest (finely chopped)
  • 50 g of dried apricots (finely chopped)
  • some whole almonds for decorating (un-roasted)
  • 150 g powder sugar

First, gather your main ingredients into one place:

Put the honey and the sugar in a pot over a heat source on high intensity:

Stir it and heat it until the sugar evenly dissolves into the honey. It shouldn't take more than 3-4 minutes and after all blended in should look like this:

Add the butter and gently stir so it can melt into the honey and sugar:

After the butter melts, remove from the heat source and put it in a large bowl. Let it cool. While it cools, separate the egg-white from the egg-yellow, by moving the yellow from one side to the other until all the egg-white has been poured into a glass below, like this:

After the contents of the bowl cools off a bit, add the egg-yellow and the spices:

Stir very well to blend it all in. In a large plate or bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder.

Separate the flour into halves. Use only one half of the flour (and baking powder in it) to mix in the main bowl, by gradually stirring it in:

When you're done the cream should be thicker, even, and looking like this:

Cut the dried apricots into fine pieces:

On top of the other half of flour, put the ground almonds, the candied lemon zest and the apricots. Keep about 1/5 of the lemon zest and apricot pieces for decorating:

Add the whole plate (all at once into the main bowl and stir):

You'll find that the mixture has become quite hard. So, it would be easier to use the perfect tool: your hands. Get your hands in and work it into a dough:

In about 3-4 minutes the dough should be done and look like this:

Now take a little bit of it at a time and place onto a thick surface. Press it with your palm so it forms a layer about 0,5-1 cm thick:

Cut different geometrical shapes out of it and place them on a baking tray, on which you previously placed a sheet of baking paper. Decorate the shapes with almonds and bits of apricot and lemon zest:

Put the tray in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius (or medium-high intensity). Let them bake for 15 minutes. In the meantime, add the powder sugar to the egg-white and mix them together very, very well.

Take the lebkuchen out of the oven. They should look like this:

Add the contents of the glass (egg-white and powder sugar) on top of each cookie while they're still hot. As they cool, the icing will dry up. You can serve them while they're hot and also cold, hours and even days later. Dig in!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...