Lebkuchen or Pfefferkuchen is a traditional German baked Christmas treat, somewhat resembling gingerbread. The ingredients usually include honey, spices such as aniseed, coriander, cloves, ginger, cardamom, and allspice, and nuts; including almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts, or candied fruit.
I grew up eating lebkuchen during the holidays; and enjoyed my fair share of the hard variety that is shaped into a heart, and has a lovely message written on it, in big white frosting during my time at German fairs and festivals.
I talk quite a bit about how I consider food to be a means of communication between loved ones, and can act as time traveling portal to memories of your past and a means of remembering those you’ve lost. This is that type of food. These yummy cookies remind me of my family when I’m away. I am actually very far removed from my family; my mother lives outside of Ottawa (5 hour-drive) with my sister, my other sister lives in Calgary (5 hour flight), my father and his family live in Quebec (7 hour-drive), and my grand parents on my mom’s side along with aunts, uncles and cousins, live in Germany (across the world). So I do a lot of remembering with food.
Lebkuchen is a treat that in some weird way reminds me of them all. It specifically reminds me of the only Christmas in Germany I can remember, where we spent it with my Omi and Opa, opening gifts on Christmas Eve, pigtails and my hair, and singing songs every chance I got, while my wild cousin ran around as though he has waaaay to much candy. My Omi always had treats for us- this was one of them.
My mom puts small reminders of Germany in our stockings every year. Yes, I still get a stocking from my mom- and I love it- and I am okay with that. It always has a German chocolate Santa, Lebkuchen, some marzipan (don’t even get me started on the awesome memories with that one), and socks.
It’s actually my favourite part of Christmas, well, aside from seeing my family obviously. I know when I sit down with a cup of tea, and enjoy one of those items; I will be taken back to my library of incredible childhood memories. And isn’t that, what Christmas really is about? Being with Family and remembering? That how I identify with the Holiday. I hope you all get to spend your Holiday with loved ones! xo
- 1 cup fine cane sugar + 1⁄2 cup for syrup
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 eggs worth egg replacer
- 1 ¼ cup candied mix citrus peel, finely chopped ( I did mine in a food processor)
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1 Tbsp almond milk
- 1⁄2 cup flour
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 tsp ground cloves
- 1⁄2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1⁄2 tsp Pink salt
- 14 (3 1⁄2") oblaten wafers (recipe below)
- 2 tbsp. brown rice syrup
- ¼ cup semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (check ingredients to ensure no dairy products are used)
- ¼ cup water
- In a stand mixer, mix together 1 cup sugar, vanilla extract, and egg replacer in a bowl until thickened.
- Stir in the finely chopped citrus peel, almond meal, flour, almond milk, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt until well combined.
- Using a spoon, place batter on each oblaten wafer (recipe below); spread batter to edges, but leave it mounded in center.
- Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and let them sit for 1 hour. This is necessary, as you want them to dry slightly.
- After an hour preheat oven to 275°.
- Bake lebkuchen for 25 mins, a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
- While the cookies are baking, heat ½ cup sugar, brown rice syrup, and water in a small to medium-sized saucepan over high heat.
- Stir until sugar dissolves, and pour over chocolate and let sit for 1 minute to help chocolate melt.
- Stir glaze and chocolate until shiny.
- Brush lebkuchen with glaze and allow to cool and set.
- Heat oven to 325 degrees.
- Combine flour, sugar, vanilla, salt in a large bowl, and mix well.
- Cut margarine into mixture with a pastry cutter or fork
- Add just water 1 Tbsp at a time, to make a smooth dough. DO NOT ADD TOO MUCH.
- If you added too much water and end up with sticky dough, add more flour.
- Roll out your dough until very very thin thin.
- Cut into 3 /12 inch circles with cookie cutter or glass.
- Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes, or until golden brown.