Lebkuchen Cookies

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Swapped at the 2012 SE cookie swap by Clara Schuhmacher. Adapted from Clara Schuhmacher's aunt.

Note: Lebkuchen spice mix generally contains cinnamon, coriander, star anise, fennel, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom, with anise and fennel as the dominant flavors. Recreate or tweak as you wish! Back-oblaten, or baking wafers, are round wafers often used as the base of each lebkuchen. They're traditional, but not necessary. It is critical that the nuts be ground into a flour, as that is their function in this recipe. Too coarse, and the dough will be thin. If this happens, add a bit of all purpose flour in step 3 until the dough is pliable and can be patted into rounds.

These recipes from our annual Serious Eats Cookie Swap are provided by Serious Eats staff, friends, and family. They have not been tested by our recipe team.

Lebkuchen Cookies

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About This Recipe

Yield:Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup candied orange peel
  • 1/4 cup candied lemon peel
  • 3 tablespoons good dark rum
  • 1 cup ground hazelnuts
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon lebkuchen spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 24 baking wafers

Procedures

  1. 1

    Mix candied peel with rum and set aside to soak. Toss ground nuts with spices and baking powder and set aside.

  2. 2

    Beat the eggs on high until pale yellow, about four minutes. Add sugar and salt, and beat on high five minutes more.

  3. 3

    If very wet (though it likely won't be), drain the candied peel. Using a wooden spoon, fold the nut flour mixture and candied peels into the egg mixture until the flour is well incorporated, but do not over mix.

  4. 4

    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place rounded spoonfuls of the mixture on the parchment paper, making sure each cookie is at least 2 cm tall and leaving 3 – 4 cm between them. The cookies do not spread much in baking, so if you prefer perfectly smooth lebkuchen rather than craggy ones, it’s best to smooth them out by hand at this point. Optional: if using back-oblaten, form cookies directly on wafers, making sure that each cookie is about 2cm tall. Again, as the cookies don't spread in baking, cover the entire wafer.

  5. 5

    Allow the cookies to rest for one hour at room temperature.

  6. 6

    Preheat the oven to 150°C / 302°F. Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until the cookies are lightly browned, and spring back to the touch. (It’s better to air on the side of slight undercooking, as you want them to be moist and they dry out quickly.) Remove them from the oven and cool slightly on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack.

  7. 7

    Store lebkuchen in an air tight container between layers of wax paper in the fridge. Cookies will keep, refrigerated, up to two weeks.

  8. 8

    For an extra treat, dip them in chocolate, or glaze them with a thin sugar icing.

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