Saturday, 18 December 2010

Lebkuchen Cookies - Guest Post

I spent a few days in Paris and had a lovely surprise waiting for me in my inbox: A lovely recipe, ready to share!

It came from Heidi3, our friend from Palingates, making this the first guest post on "Do I Smell Burning?"

Guest post by Heidi3

This recipe came originally from my great-grandmother, who arrived in America from Dantzig, Germany. It was her daughter, my grandma Olga, born in 1894, and who lived to age 102 (!) who taught me how to bake these German Christmas cookies when I was a teenager. It is a time-consuming project, but well worth it.


1 cup clover honey (any light honey is fine). You will need to buy two 8 oz. jars, because this 1 cup is a dry cup measure.

1 cup light molasses ("Grandma's Light Unsulfured" is best)

2 eggs

2 cups light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup sour cream

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda (fresh! - this is the only leavening)

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 to 2 teaspoons salt

5 cups (and as much as 7 cups) sifted unbleached all-purpose white flour
Note: This needs to be an extrememly stiff dough, so keep adding flour, but no more than 7 cups total. Any more will make the cookies "tough".

1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds, pre-dried in oven, but not toasted

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1/2 cup mixed candied fruit (important: pick out the red cherries first)

Blanched almond halves for cookie top decoration:
Buy a 4 oz. package of unblanched whole almonds. Boil a pot of water, and when boiling, remove from heat and immediagtely put in the almonds. Let sit 1/2 hour (no longer, or the skins will stain the white almonds). "Pinch" the almonds from their skins. Let dry 1/2 hour, then they should fall into halves easily.


(Blanching the almond halves and some steps below can be done in advance)

Fine grind together: The 1/2 cup very dry slivered almonds, 1/2 cup walnut pieces, and the 1/2 cup candied fruit.

Measure honey, molasses and brown sugar into a medium pot, and over a low heat, warm enough to melt sugar, and make sure no lumps are left. Let mixture cool 1/2 hour.

Beat eggs a bit, then add eggs, sour cream, and ground candied fruit/nut mixture to the honey-molasses-sugar mixture. Pour into very large bowl.

Measure out 5 cups flour before sifting. Add soda, spices and salt, and sift together 2-3 times to ensure equal distribution. In very large bowl, stir flour into honey mixture, adding flour as needed to get a very stiff dough. Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Roll out small portions of dough using floured sleeve over rolling pin, on a floured pastry cloth. Keep rest of dough refrigerated. Roll to 1/4" - 3/8" thick. Using a cardboard cutting pattern, cut out 1-1/2" x 2-1/2" cookies. Press blanched almond half, flat side down, into center of each cookie top.

Using a very lightly greased cookie sheet (or parchment paper, but truthfully I've never tried the paper before), bake 7-8 minutes at 350 degrees. Over-greasing the sheet will lead to unwanted crispy edges. It's best to bake only one sheet of cookies at a time.

Yield: Approximately 10 dozen soft, chewy cookies

MERRY CHRISTMAS From "Heidi3's" German Great-Grandma!!


Heidi3 must have read my mind. These are my favourite cookies and I can't find the really nice ones in our little corner of France... 10 dozen seems about right for my needs, yum yum!

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