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Lebkuchen

The German town of Nuremberg has been famous for its lebkuchen since the late 1300s; the soft, cakey cookies are traditionally made with several spices, candied citrus peel, hazelnuts, and almonds.

  • Yield: Makes 17
Lebkuchen

Photography: Sang An

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2007

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup blanched whole almonds (about 1 3/4 ounces), toasted, plus more untoasted for decorating
  • 1/3 cup blanched hazelnuts (1 1/2 ounces), toasted
  • 1/3 cup diced candied orange peel
  • 1/3 cup diced candied lemon peel
  • 4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 3 ounces almond paste, crumbled into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup apricot jam
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk

Directions

  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Pulse almonds and hazelnuts in a food processor until very finely chopped. Add candied peels and dates, and pulse until finely chopped. Add almond paste, and pulse to combine. Add jam, and pulse. Add eggs and brown sugar, and pulse. Add flour mixture, and pulse. Transfer dough to an airtight container, and refrigerate overnight (or up to 3 days).

  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using a 2-inch ice cream scoop ( 1/4 cup), drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 3 inches apart. Place 3 almonds close together on top of each cookie. Bake until golden brown, about 14 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.

  3. Whisk together confectioners' sugar and milk, and brush over cooled cookies. Let stand until set. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Cook's Note

To toast almonds and hazelnuts, spread them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake in an oven heated to 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Reviews (17)

  • holidaybakerman 19 Jan, 2013

    Great recipe...not Nurenburger Lebkuchen...but really good. Do your self a favour...find some oblates and use them. 79mm uses 2 TBS of dough. They won't stick with oblates... Tsk tsk Martha for missing a crucial item.

  • Sugarbee1976 30 Dec, 2011

    I lived in Germany as a young child and had fond memories of Lebkuchen. It took me a long time to rediscover them as an adult and only in the store bought packs at Trader Joes and World Market which are not so fresh tasting. This is a great recipe and was easy to make once I found all the ingredients. The cookies taste just as i remember from when I was 5 years old in Germany. I glazed them with melted dark chocolate. They were delicious. My parents loved them too.

  • mading 24 Dec, 2011

    Greetings from Germany! Those Lebkuchen taste absolutely authentic. I'm using the recipe for four years already. But there must have been a mixup with the baking time. 14 minutes aren't enough. I always bake them 40 minutes - rotating half way through.

  • kdhteach 19 Nov, 2011

    If you form it into a bar in using wax paper in a loaf pan and refrigerate, you can cut into slices and bake. Makes it less sticky.

  • Doc_ 9 Nov, 2011

    I don't know if anyone is still monitoring this recipe, but here is some info. I have not tried this recipe, but my own recipe from Austria (probably stolen from a German) is very similar in measurement of all ingredients except it calls for 2-3/4 cups of flour. Quite a difference.

  • Grady412 20 Dec, 2010

    I just saw my comment from 12/21/09 about the flour. I should have updated it. Yes, the dough is outrageously sticky, but the cookies turned out perfectly! Raves from everyone; I'm making them again this year.

  • HeatherPatel 12 Dec, 2010

    I had to add and extra 1/2 cup flour which, after sitting in the fridge over night produced the perfect batter.Seems there has been a typo or something in the original recipe.You will have a very think, sticky 'batter' something like choc chip dough but softer. I also added 1/2 tsp mixed spice, extra 1/2tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp white pepper to make it more like the real German ones we get here in the UK.Hope this helps! Happy baking. Heather

  • mykele 10 Dec, 2010

    I have to agree with Grady412 about the amount of flour....Maybe adding
    a 1/4 cup of flour to make it an even cup might help. No one else has said
    anything though....just go through the list of ingredients carefully and be
    sure that you have all included. These recipes have proven to be in error
    from time to time. mykele

  • Grady412 21 Dec, 2009

    Has anyone found the amount of flour called for inaccurate? I've mixed everything up and have it refrigerating, but it's the consistency of cake batter. Anyone?

  • sweethoneycomb 2 Dec, 2009

    Lebkuchen! <3

  • Glitteratii 6 Dec, 2008

    Delicious! My German husband totally approves of this recipe! Want to make

  • Glitteratii 6 Dec, 2008

    Delicious! My German husband totally approves of this recipe! Want to make

  • Little_Iowa 21 Nov, 2008

    This recipe does, indeed, make 17 cookies - like two lots of 8 and one to munch on - a generous baker's dozen :)
    Candied peel is found in the baking aisle in England - its readily available here as it is used in lots on British desserts. If you're shopping in America I am not sure where exactly you'll find it - probably next to the glace cherries. It can be made by boiling lemon/lime/orange/tangerine peels in syrup for ages until it "candies" - a bit like making marmalade. Good luck!

  • hill_ma9 14 Dec, 2007

    My mom is German and I've had lots Lebkuchen. This is an excellent recipe. The only issue that I had was that the bottoms were sticky. In Germany, they use a wafer called an "Oblaten" as the base (they're related to communion wafers, coming from the word "oblation"). These are often sold at German specialty stores, but they can be hard to find. I turned mine over and let them dry overnight. The larger size is more authentic, but you can make them smaller to get more cookies.

  • jpdembski 13 Dec, 2007

    My mother used to make lebkuchen years ago when I was a child. She put her finished cookies in an air tight container with either a half an apple or a half of an orange and the cookies could be kept for quite some time without drying out. I preferred the half an orange as it seemed to give the cookies a good flavor. Joe

  • bibigallini1 13 Dec, 2007

    This says it makes 17 - is that 17 cookies? It seems like an odd number for a cookie recipe. Has anyone made this recipe and can verify how many it makes? I just want to make sure I guage it right in case I need to double it or something.

  • Edenza 13 Dec, 2007

    I wanted to make some Lebkuchen this year and looked all over the grocery store last night for the citron (candied fruit peels). I assumed it would be w/ the other dried fruits, etc. in teh produce area. Does anyone know where to et it or how to make it?

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