Holiday Lebkuchen (German Spice Cookies)
Since my mother's parents came from Nuremberg and Munich, Germany, lebkuchen has been a holiday tradition in my family ever since I was little. We don't like the usual candied citrus peel, however, so I use apricots and dates instead. Great served with hot tea.
- Serves: 3 persons
- 2cups whole almonds
- boiling water to cover
- ⅔cup chopped dried apricots
- 8Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 4½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2teaspoons ground ginger
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1teaspoon ground cloves
- ½teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½teaspoon salt
- 1cup brown sugar
- 1cup honey
- ¼cup blackstrap molasses
- 1tablespoon water
- 2teaspoons almond extract
- 2teaspoons grated orange zest
- 1teaspoon grated lemon zest
- ¾cup confectioners' sugar
- 2tablespoons whole milk
- 1teaspoon lemon zest
Step 1Cover almonds with boiling water in a bowl. Let stand for 1 to 2 minutes and drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again. Pat almonds dry and remove skin. Allow almonds to dry on paper towels.
Step 2Place half the almonds in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Add apricots and dates; pulse until fruit is chopped. Reserve remaining 1 cup almonds.
Step 3Combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, cloves, cardamom, and salt in bowl. Beat eggs, brown sugar, honey, molasses, water, almond extract, orange zest, and 1 teaspoon lemon zest in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add apricot mixture, blending until evenly distributed. Gradually stir in flour mixture on medium speed until dough comes together. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours to overnight.
Step 4Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Step 5Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 1/2-inch thick. Cut out cookies with a 2 1/2 to 3-inch diameter cookie cutter. Arrange cookies about 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Step 6Lightly press 3 almonds into each cookie with tips towards the center to create a star pattern.
Step 7Bake in preheated oven until cookies begin to brown, about 12 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool on a wire rack.
Step 8Meanwhile, whisk confectioners' sugar, milk, and 1 teaspoon lemon zest in a bowl until glaze is smooth. Brush warm cookies with glaze and allow cookies to cool completely.