This Lebkuchen recipe is a spicy German cookie synonymous with Christmas. Soft in the centre and slightly crunchy on the edges, fragrant with spices and sticky molasses.
What these cookies lack in looks they makes up for in flavour and like all good things, improves with age! Similar to gingerbread but much more tender so don’t attempted to make this gingerbread house from this mixture.
This Lebkuchen recipe is easy to make at home and fun to make together with your children.
The best part about these lebkuchen cookies is that they are better made ahead of time. Prepare the dough a day before or even several days before so that the flavor fully develops.
Baked lebkuchen cookies should be set aside at room temperature (in an airtight container) so that the cookie softens and becomes wonderfully moist.
The list of ingredients required for this recipe is quite long but not difficult to find in most supermarkets.
This lebkuchen recipe can be varied to suit your tastes.
- Add dried fruits like currants
- Change or add spices such as cardamom, anise, black pepper or ginger
- Include candied citrus peels
- Prepare the dough
- Refrigerate overnight or for several days
- Roll out dough and cut into shapes
- Bake being careful not to overbake
- Make icing while cookies are baking
- While warm, brush cookies with icing and decorate as desired
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- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup molasses
- ½ cup (1 stick/115 grams) salted butter
- 2 tablespoons (30mls) vegetable oil
- ½ cup castor sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 3 ¼ cup plain flour sifted
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
- ¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 teaspoons cocoa powder
- pinch salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter at room temp
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 to 4 tablespoons water
To make dough
- Stir together in a bowl the buttermilk and soda. It will become bubbly and thick.
- Add the honey and molasses and stir to combine. In a bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter until smooth, add the oil, sugar and vanilla.
- Beat for 3 -4 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg, followed by the molasses and honey mixture. It will look curdled but that’s ok.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients. The dough will be thick and slightly wet. At this point it’s a good idea to wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or even a few days to allow the flavours to mature.
- When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Line baking trays with baking paper.
- Use baking paper dusted with flour to roll out the dough. It will be sticky so be liberal with the flour. Roll the dough to about ⅓ inch/1 cm thick.
- Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters or simply squares with a knife. Arrange on prepared baking trays allow a little room for spreading.
- Bake for 12-13 minutes. Don’t overbake.
To make icing
- Make the icing as soon as the trays go into the oven, by beating all the ingredients together until a smooth consistency.
- Once the cookies are out of the oven and still warm, paint with the icing. Leave as is or embellish as desired. Allow to cool on a wire rack.