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 cookies.

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