Millicent’s Lebkuchen

Having just finished reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, I got the urge to make a batch of a German gingerbread called Lebkuchen. (Read my thoughts on the book HERE) On one of Liesel and Rudy’s visits to the Mayor’s house, they find a plate of Christmas cookies that they decide were meant for them. Could they have been a type of Lebkuchen?

Today I share with you a treasured recipe passed on to me by a dear old friend who recently passed away at the age of 95. My Lebkuchen will always lack a certain something when compared with hers, but I give it my very best. Perhaps knowing that someone you love has made them makes a cookie taste better than one you made yourself.

These cookies are best enjoyed after storing them for at least 3-4 days to soften, but who can resist biting into a freshly baked cookie? I never last 3 days before digging in.

Millicent’s Lebkuchen


  • 3/4 cup melted margarine or butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup or molasses
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger (or more if you like)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or soured milk
  • 1/4 cup cold strong coffee


  1. Mix margarine or butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup or molasses.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  3. Gradually blend dry ingredients with liquid mixture, alternating with milk and coffee.
  4. Cover tightly and chill until firm.
  5. Roll out to ¼ inch thickness .
  6. Cut out and arrange slightly apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake.

There are two options for glazing these cookies.  The first is a thin lemon glaze that is applied while the cookies are still hot from the oven. This glaze cools to a lovely crisp finish.

  • Mix 1 cup icing sugar, 1 large egg white, 1 tbsp lemonjuice, and 1/8 tsp fine sea salt.
  • Brush on warm cookies using a pastry brush. Let set completely before packaging the cookies.

The second option is a thicker lemon frosting that can be tinted a lovely pastel yellow or pink.

  • Mix 1 ½ cups icing sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 3 tbsp lemon juice.
  • Frost the tops of completely cooled cookies using the back of a spoon or a small offset spatula.

Store in an airtight container 3 days before serving for maximum flavour and texture (if you have the self-control).

Published by Aly Writes

I bake. I write. What goes better together than a good story and a delicious fresh-baked pastry? Nothing. And I can give you both. Grab a hot cuppa and join me.

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