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Lebkuchen

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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

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.

Cook's Notes

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. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Reviews Add a comment

  • amdisipioyahoo
    3 JAN, 2017
    I followed this recipe exactly. I was surprised by how thin the batter is. They spread out a great deal in the oven, so for the second batch I used a scant 1/4 of batter per cookie. The end result was fluffy, but chewy, and wonderfully spiced. I am making them again tomorrow.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply