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Glazed Lebkuchen on a cutting board.
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Lebkuchen

Try a traditional German Christmas cookie this holiday season (or any time of year!). Lebkuchen spice cookies are cozy and comforting, and pair perfectly with a cup of cold milk or hot coffee.
Course Dessert
Cuisine German
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chilling time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 27 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Calories 186kcal

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses (see note 1)
  • 3 cup all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 11/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (see note 2)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (see note 3)
  • 1/2 cup raisins finely chopped (see note 4)

For the glaze:

  • 1 egg white slightly beaten (see note 5)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

To make the cookies:

  • In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, or by hand using an electric mixer, beat egg until frothy. Add brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Reduce speed to low and stir in honey and molasses.
  • Sift together flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, ground cloves, and allspice. With standing mixer speed on medium-low, slowly add flour mixture and mix well. Stir in almonds and raisins. Cover bowl and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two rimmed baking sheets well. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Cut dough into 3 1/2-inch by 2-inch rectangles and space 12 evenly apart on each baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack.

To make the glaze:

  • In a small bowl, combine 1 beaten egg white with lemon juice, lemon zest, a pinch of salt, and powdered sugar. While cookies are still warm, brush with lemon glaze.

Video

Notes

  1. Dark molasses: Commonly used in gingerbread or ginger cookie recipes, dark molasses is less sweet, slightly more bitter, and thicker in consistency than its lighter cousin.
  2. Allspice: This clove relative is a spice that tastes similar to a mash-up of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. If you don't have any on-hand, make your own mix of 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg and a small pinch of ground cloves; use 1/4 teaspoon of this blend in the Lebkuchen.
  3. Almonds: Regular slivered almonds work fine, but I love the way roasting amplifies the nuttiness. To roast slivered almonds, evenly spread the slivered almonds on a sheet pan and roast in a 325-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Raisins: If your raisins feel more dried out than you'd like, plump them up by soaking them in some warm water before adding them to the Lebkuchen cookie dough. Pat dry with a paper towel after soaking. If you’re not a fan of raisins, choose your own adventure with dried cranberries, currants, nuts, or chocolate chips instead.
  5. Egg white: Or pasteurized egg whites or meringue powder, if you prefer.
  6. Yield: This cookie recipe makes 24 Lebkuchen cookies. Double if desired to share as a food gift or freeze some for later.
  7. Storage: Store these cookies in an air-tight container at room temperature for 2 weeks or in the refrigerator for 2 months. 
  8. Make ahead: This is one cookie recipe that should be made ahead (so the cookies don’t spread too much while baking), so get a head start on the cookie batter. Mix and chill the dough at least 2 hours or up to 4 days in advance.
  9. Freezer: Once you have mixed the dough, form into a disc (instead of rolling it out) and wrap in plastic wrap. You can place the dough in a freezer bag for extra protection, if you like. Label with the kind of cookie dough, baking temperature and cooking time in the recipe, and the date you made the dough. Before baking, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then roll out, cut, bake, and glaze following the recipe’s instructions.
  10. Get artistic: Garnish the glaze with sprinkles, additional finely chopped slivered almonds, or mini chocolate chips.

Nutrition

Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 36mg | Potassium: 156mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg