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.
- 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
- Mix margarine or butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup or molasses.
- Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
- Gradually blend dry ingredients with liquid mixture, alternating with milk and coffee.
- Cover tightly and chill until firm.
- Roll out to ¼ inch thickness .
- Cut out and arrange slightly apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- 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).