An upside–or downside, depending on how your diet's looking–to making twelve types of Christmas cookies is that there are still a few lurking in the fridge come the new year. These lebkuchen however are almost all gone. A traditional German holiday treat, the soft and chewy cookies resemble gingerbread in flavor but are subtly more complex with hints of citrus and ground nuts. I love baking something that has a long history: lebkuchen were apparently invented by medieval monks in Franconia, Germany in the 13th century and though they've ranged from spicy to sweet over the years, they've always contained honey.
p.s. Congrats to Cindy…she's been selected as the winner of the Sven Clogs givaway. Disappointed? Don't be! Check back soon because there will another amazing giveaway coming up! x
¾ cup honey
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup blanched almonds, toasted
½ cup blanched hazelnuts, toasted
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 ½ teaspoons ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 ½ cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 tablespoons hot water
1. Heat honey and brown sugar in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture is thin. Remove from heat and cool until just warm, about 10 minutes.
2. In food processor, finely grind almonds and hazelnuts with 2 tablespoons of flour.
3. In medium bowl, sift remaining flour with baking soda, spices, and salt. Stir in ground nuts and set aside.
4. Beat eggs on medium speed for several minutes until light colored and thick. Add cooled honey mixture and mix until combined. Add flour mixture and mix until combined (dough will be very stiff and sticky). Add zests and mix just until incorporated. Cover dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using a medium (1 ¾ –inch) cookie scoop, drop dough onto cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown.
6. Remove cookie sheets from oven and immediately transfer baked cookies to a cookie rack. Prepare glaze by mixing all ingredients. Use an offset spatula to spread glaze over top of each cookie. Let stand until completely cool and the icing is set, about 1 hour.