by Anke Perez
(San Antonio, TX)
Here is the Lebkuchen recipe my family uses. The dough can rest in the fridge for several months.
The famous German bakeries make the dough for next Christmas in January to let enzymes develop and spices mellow. I have kept mine in the fridge for up to 4 month... and live to pass the recipe on to you.
WARNING TO THOSE WHO MAY NEED IT.
The recipe uses hartshorn (bakers ammonia) and the dough will smell like it, both while resting and during baking. DON’T TASTE THE UNBAKED DOUGH.
The ammonia dissipates during baking and leaves no taste in the fully baked cookies.
T = tablespoon
t = teaspoon
250 g honey
250 g brown sugar (original recipe calls for beet sugar, not easy to find here)
600 g AP flour
125 g ground hazelnuts or almonds
50 g mixed candied fruit for fruit cake, minced very finely
50 g mixed dried fruit, minced finely
2-3 t. Lebkuchen spice
15 g hartshorn dissolved in
1 T. Alcohol, rum, brandy or some such
Heat the honey and sugar in a pot, stirring until sugar is dissolved and it simmers lightly. Set aside to cool.
Put the fruit and candied peels with 1 T. of the flour into the blender and chop into almost a paste.
Or mince by hand without the flour, set aside.
Mix flour and spices, set aside.
Dissolve hartshorn in alcohol.
Pour the honey/sugar mix into a mixer, stir.
Add the egg, stir.
Add the hartshorn in alcohol, stir.
Switch to the dough hook and add the fruit, stir.
Add the nuts, stir.
Gradually add the flour and knead. Your mixer will not thank you.
The complete dough will be smooth, HEAVY AND DENSE.
Place it into a bowl with a tight lid and keep it in the fridge until baking. In the beginning it will smell sharply spicy, as it matures the smell will change to a warm pleasant aroma.
And again, DO NOT TASTE THE UNBAKED DOUGH.
CUTTING AND BAKING
Preheat the oven to 400 F, place rack in the middle of oven.
Line a baking sheet or two with parchment.
Roll out the dough finger thick (about1/2”), on a floured board.
Cut out desired shapes and place on the baking sheet. It will smell like ammonia while baking.
Bake about 20-30 min. Until the tops are dry looking and have a slight give and the bottoms just begin to brown.
Let cool completely then dip into a sugar glaze or chocolate, maybe place a nut or sprinkles on top, press in lightly and let dry cmpletely.
Keep in a tin for a week or two before eating.
They keep well and last in a tin for 1-3 month.
They taste better with age.