During this time of year treats such as gingerbread and candy canes get most of the attention, but if you’ve got German heritage you may know of another gingerbread-like cookie called Lebkuchen.
What is it and what makes it different than gingerbread?
- Lebkuchen are a traditional German cookie given as gifts at Christmas that date back to the 1300’s.
- Very similar to gingerbread but much darker, more dense and rich, and chewier. Lebkuchen is never crunchy.
- Made with honey, whereas gingerbread uses molasses.
- Main ingredients are hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, candied orange and lemon peel, honey, flour, sugar, eggs and marzipan.
- They’re heavier on spices than gingerbread and include cinnamon, cloves, anise, cardamom, coriander, ginger and mace.
- There are several varieties of Lebkuchen, one of which is called Oblaten Lebkuchen. This type has a thin wafer called an Oblaten on the bottom of the cookie very similar to a Communion wafer. Historically they were used by monks to keep the cookies from sticking to the pan.
- Elisen Lebkuchen are the highest quality Lebkuchen available and require at least 25% almonds, hazelnuts, and/or walnuts (no other kinds of nuts are allowed) in the recipe. Also, they must contain no more than 10% flour.