Last night I made some Lebkuchen, a type of spiced German Christmas cookie. I got the recipe from The Brown Eyed Baker here:
Yield: 18 cookies
For the Cookies:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
1¼ teaspoons ground nutmeg
1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ cup honey
½ cup molasses
For the Glaze:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Set aside.
3. Beat the egg and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
4. Beat in the honey and molasses until thoroughly combined.
5. On low speed, stir in the flour mixture until just combined.
6. Turn the dough out from the bowl onto a well-floured surface. Knead the dough, adding more flour as kneaded, until a stiff dough is formed.
7. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
8. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough into a 9×12-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 18 3×2-inch rectangles. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
9. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, water and lemon juice and brush or spread on top of the cookies.
10. Allow the glaze to firm, and then store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.
I love chewy, spiced Christmas cookies, but these turned out a bit too hard for the kids. My jaw became sore halfway through a cookie! I must have over kneaded them. I do like the homely taste however, and it was best when warm, straight out from the oven, then it was still soft. They made the whole house smell heavenly while in the oven!
The recipe calls for a sugar glaze on the finished cookie. However, I do not like waiting for glazes or cookie icing to dry. In this humid country of ours, it takes ages, and time is not one of the luxuries which I have in abundance!
Therefore, I looked for an alternative to cookie icing and found this, a cookie decorating dough which you pipe on before baking the cookies.
Coloured Cream dough
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons light cream or half-and-half
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Paste food coloring
1. Beat softened butter in a small bowl on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and beat until combined. Beat in light cream. Add all-purpose flour and beat until smooth. Divide dough into 2 to 3 portions. Color each portion with paste food coloring.
Choose the tip you want.
2. Place each color in a decorating bag fitted with a writing, rose, or star tip. The dough must be stiff for the designs to hold their shape, so don't be tempted to add liquid. Pipe one color on all the unbaked cookies on the cookie sheet, then do the same with the second color, then with a third, if desired. Bake as cookie recipe directs. Once baked, the piped-on designs are durable and the cookies store and freeze well.
I found this to work quite well and will definitely use this method again.
Another thing I have to warn you about is greasing the tray. Since I used a non-stick tray, I thought I could skip the greasing part. When I tried removing the cookies after they cooled down a bit, I found that they were stuck on fast like cement! It was really hard to remove them and I had to use of lot of force! It must be all that sticky molasses and honey that forms the super glue effect!
So take my advice, grease your tray plenty!