How to Make Leb Kuchen Cookies
A Traditional German Recipe for Lebkuchen Christmas Cookies, made easy!
Leb kuchen is a traditional German cookie, much like a gingerbread, or a gingersnap, but with a tender and chewy texture! They're dense, sweet and chewy; commonly copied as gourmet cookies under other names.
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 cups honey
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 cup finely chopped almonds
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon of ground ginger (optional)
- 3 eggs
- zest of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped citron (that's about 1/2 pound of candied citron peel). Citron is a large citrus fruit that looks like a lemon. You can normally find candied citron peel in your supermarket during the holidays because it is a common ingredient in fruitcake. If you can't find any, candied lemon or orange peel is a good substitute.
- 3 tablespoons brandy, Triple sec, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier. A small airline bottle is the perfect amount.
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup Confectioners' sugar (also called powdered sugar)
- 2 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Recipe and Directions
Step 1 - Mix the sugars over heat
In a large saucepan, mix then honey and brown sugar over low to medium heat.
Step 2 - Add the almonds and spices
Add in the almonds, citron, orange and lemon zest, spices and then the brandy. I finely dice the citron in a chopper or food processor first.
Step 3 - Add the baking soda and eggs
Stir the baking soda into the mix well. Next beat the eggs with a hand whisk or fork and then mix them into the pot.
Step 4 - Gradually add the flour
Gradually add in the flour. The dough will start to become very sticky.
Step 5 - Roll out the dough
Scrape the dough onto a floured 3-foot-long board or plastic wrap. Generously flour (dust) the dough. Then, using floured hands, knead the dough several times to smooth it. Flatten the dough into a 3/8-inch-thick square.
Step 6 - Cut out the cookie squares
Using either a square cookie cutter or a long knife, cut out cookies into 2 inch squares
Step 7 - Let it rest overnight
Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest overnight in a cool room or fridge (40 F to 70 F)
Step 8 - Preheat the oven
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or lightly greased aluminum foil. Transfer the squares to the baking sheet, spacing them about an inch apart.
Step 9 - Prepare the icing
Mix the 1 cup of powdered sugars, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Step 10 - Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes
Bake the cookies on the center oven rack for 8 to 10 minutese. When done, the cookies will have formed a crust, but they should still feel soft to the touch. (Tip: The cookies stay chewier if you bake them less and put them in an airtight container while they're still slightly warm. If your family prefers a crisper cookie, just bake them a little longer and let them cool completely before you store them.) Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool
Step 11 - Ice the cookies while they are still warm
While they are still quite warm, ice the cookies. When they've
cooled completely, dredge them once more. Makes about 18 to 24