Kitchen Bitch

Cooking in the Kitchen with Sass & Class

A Sweet Treat From Germany: Lebkuchen Spice Cookies December 20, 2012


Lebkuchen 2

I’m proud to say that I’ve almost officially made it through my first holiday season as a personal chef and caterer at The Delish Dish! Wohoo! With all of my big events behind me, including The Delish Dish Homemade Holiday, it’s time to focus on what’s really important at this time of year, besides family, friends, and Christmas, of course:

COOKIES!!!

As you may recall, we’re big into sweets in my household, and my husband just loves cookies, especially these Five-Spice Snickerdoodles I made just for him last night. While Doug loves crunchy cookies like these Hazelnut Crescents with Vanilla Bean Sugar, I love cookies with a combination of crunch and chew and spice and icing, so it’s no wonder these Lebkuchen cookies caught my eye as I was flipping through Food & Wine magazine this month.

Lebkuchen

These gingerbread-type cookies, much like these Caramel-Frosted Brown Sugar Drops, are the stuff of my dreams. Lebkuchen cookies have crispy edges and a chewy center with a nutty almond undertone and a beautifully warm spicy flavor from candied ginger, sweet orange marmalade, and thick molasses. Oh, and did I mention that they have a thicker-than-usual powdered sugar glaze, with just a hint of butter.

So, have I sold you yet? If you love ginger and a little spice, you need to make these cookies now!

Lebkuchen

This recipe by Justin Chapple appeared in Food and Wine magazine. The batter can be frozen overnight and the cookies can be made up to 5 days ahead. Store them in between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container. Candied ginger can be expensive at the store, but it’s cheap and easy to make your own. I like this recipe for homemade candied ginger. Total time: 1 HR plus 4 hr freezing. Yield: About 36 cookies. Click here to download a printable PDF copy of this recipe.

FOR THE COOKIES:

1½ cups blanched whole almonds
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1¾  teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon fine salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1½ cups light brown sugar
½ cup sweet orange marmalade
¼ cup finely chopped candied ginger (1 ounce)
¼ cup unsulfured molasses
5 large eggs

FOR THE ICING:
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

MAKE THE COOKIES:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, until fragrant and lightly golden. Let cool completely. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves, allspice, salt and nutmeg.

Add eggs2. In a food processor, pulse the cooled almonds until coarsely chopped. Add the brown sugar and pulse until incorporated. Add the marmalade, candied ginger and molasses and pulse until the mixture is well blended and the nuts are finely chopped. Add the eggs all at once and pulse until just incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and pulse until incorporated and the batter is uniform in color. Scrape the soft batter into a bowl, cover and freeze until very firm, at least 4 hours.

Batter3. Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a 2-tablespoon ice cream scoop, scoop 8 level mounds onto each baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. Freeze the remaining batter between batches. Bake the cookies in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for about 20 minutes, until risen and slightly firm; shift the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Transfer the sheets to racks and let the cookies and pans cool completely. Repeat with the remaining batter.

4. MAKE THE ICING: In a bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with the milk and butter. Spread the cookies with icing and let dry completely before serving or wrapping.

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