Lebkuchen

Hi my name is Jo, and I’m a Lebkuchen addict. Or at least I am every December, along with pretty much every other Christmas foodstuff I can find (I’m looking at you, mince pies). I’m starting to think that perhaps I should mark up this recipe as DANGER DO NOT ENTER, because now that I’ve found a BBC Good Food recipe that works a treat (I’ve tweaked it a bit) I can make them all year round. Uh-oh. My parents first introduced my siblings and me to Lebkuchen while visiting family in Munich way back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, eventually they became seasonally available in the UK and now my daughter absolutely loves them too. Makes around 18.

Ingredients

220g runny honey

85g butter

200g plain flour

100g ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp mixed spice (pumpkin spice in US)

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tbsp cocoa powder

Zest + juice of half an orange

Pinch of salt

Icing

200g icing sugar

2 tbsp milk

Method

  1. Melt the honey and butter together in a saucepan or in the microwave, then leave to cool a little in a large bowl.
  2. Sieve in the rest of the ingredients and mix well until completely combined – it’ll be gooey and sticky.
  3. Fling the bowl into the fridge for a couple of hours or more, until it’s firm to the touch.
  4. Turn on your oven to heat up to 180C (fan) and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  5. Retrieve the dough mix from the fridge, then if you’re a pedant like I am you’ll want to weigh out lumps of 20g and roll them into balls. Or just go wild and aim for golf ball sized lumps, and roll those into balls.
  6. Place them on the baking tray with a little room to spread and flatten them a bit.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from the oven and after waiting for a couple of minutes gently move them to a cooling rack and leave until cold.
  8. Make the icing by sieving the sugar into a bowl and gently mixing in the milk until you’ve made a smooth but pretty thick paste.
  9. Transfer the icing to a small bowl (you want depth of icing not so much a shallow expanse) and gently dip in the lebkuchen one by one, tipping them from side to side to cover them as much as you’d like while trying not to just get it all over your fingers.
  10. When set and firm, sieve over a little more icing sugar and watch them disappear.

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