No Christmas cookies spread is complete without my Lebkuchen recipe! These German cookies are a marriage of gingerbread and cake, with a creamy glaze over a beautiful almond design. If you like Biscoff cookies — or, if you like cookies in general — these are a must-try!
Also commonly called German spice cookies, these cookies are tender, moist, full of warm Christmasy spices, and tender little bits of crystallized fruit. Oh, then they’re topped with a wonderful glaze! These babies are truly special, indeed! They’re one of my fams favorite cookies!
Let’s bake some epic (as my 7-year-old niece would say) cookies!
Spices. Holiday coziness. Chewy treats. This lebkuchen recipe are Christmas embodied!
- The soft, fluffy texture
- Absolute family favorite
- Perfect ginger flavor!
- Almond Flour: These cookies may be most famous for their spice taste, but what really sets them apart is their use of almond flour. If you only use the regular flour, you’ll be missing out on the nutty, hearty taste that almond flour gives to these cookies!
- Vinegar? I know it may sound strange, but yes, vinegar! Part of what makes these lebkuchen recipe so fluffy and soft is the addition of vinegar to activate the leavening agent.
- Blanched Almonds: Blanched almonds may sound fancy — but they’re just raw almonds with the skin removed.
- To blanch your own almonds, put them in boiling water for one minute, drain, and rinse with cool water. The skin should easily come off!
- Candied Peels: Listen, for heaven sakes, you don’t have to make these yourself. I get mine at Amazon but generally, you can easily pick these up at most grocery stores during the holidays. I like Amazon because they’re available year-round.
- But if you prefer to DIY, you can! Just cut the peels into quarter-inch strips, and boil them for about twenty minutes. Rinse and drain.
- While the peels are boiling, mix equal parts sugar and water (about two cups each), and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Add the peels and simmer for close to an hour. Lay the peels out to dry. Chop into about 1/4 bits before adding to the dough. Leftovers can be frozen for several months!
Lebkuchen Storing Tips
One thing I always tell people who first make this lebkuchen recipe is to make sure the glaze is dry (i.e. set)before you store them! There’s nothing worse than the delicious, velvety glaze ripping off because the cookies were wet when you stacked them.
Another trick is to divide your cookies between layers of wax paper or parchment paper. You’ll still want to go in with dried cookies, but the layers will help prevent glaze-transfer if the container gets warm for some reason.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
These lebkuchen recipe will be delicious in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days. The glaze might get sticky, but the taste will still be delicious!
Can You Freeze This?
This lebkuchen recipe is very freezer-friendly! Place the cookies in an airtight container, making sure to separate the cookies between layers of wax paper. They’ll stay delicious for up to 6-8 months!
If you are planning to freeze them, I’d suggest withholding the glaze. The glaze will be fine with freezing, but sugar always tends to go goopy in the freezer. Thaw, then glaze — you’ll also retain a better flavor!
Make Ahead Tips
Christmas cookies are all so make-ahead friendly! You can whip up the dough (through Step 6) ahead of time, and freeze the dough in individual balls by plopping onto a cookie sheet, covering, and setting in the freezer until firm.
Then store in a resealable plastic bag until you need them! You can also bake the lebkuchen cookies ahead of time and freeze for later use as well. Again, I recommend withholding the glaze until you’re ready to serve.
- Add more almonds. Hankering for more almonds? You can easily add finely chopped almonds to the dough. If you want other almond cookie options, check out my almond crescent cookies (and old family recipe), or my Vanillekipferl that are also loaded with almonds and a splash of vanilla!
- Make it sweeter. I think these cookies are perfect as they are, but if you like a super sweet cookie you can add an extra 1/4 cup of brown sugar. I also have easy to make cinnamon sugar cookies that is wonderful for the holidays that you might want to try. Of course, my Christmas sugar cookies are perfectly sweet, frosted, and sprinkled with festive colored sugar so they might be just what you’re looking for.
- Add chocolate. What CAN’T you add chocolate too? These cookies would be wonderful with a chocolate glaze instead of the one listed. You can use the recipe from chocolate Christmas cookies or a chocolate drizzle like my buttery chocolate shortbread cookies.
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- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup minced candied orange peel
- 1/4 cup minced candied lemon peel
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening at room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
- 1/3 cup blanched whole almonds
- 2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar sifted
- 5 tablespoons whole milk
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment; set aside.
- Mix cream and vinegar in a small bowl and let sit until thickened, about 30 minutes.
- Whisk together the all-purpose flour with the almond flour, candied orange and lemon peels, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt, in a medium mixing bowl.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the brown sugar, shortening, and molasses on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Pour in thickened cream and mix until smooth.
- Gradually add the flour mixture, and beat on low speed, until just combined.
- Using a 1/4 cookie scoop shape the dough into mounds, placing on prepared baking sheets, 3 inches apart. Arrange 3 whole almonds in a star pattern on the top of each cookie. Gently, slightly flatten the cookies with your hand.
- Bake the cookies in the preheated oven, until lightly brown, about 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then remove them to a wired rack to cool completely.
- When cookies are completely cool, make the glaze. Add confectioners sugar and milk to a small mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Dip the tops of each cookie into the glaze, allowing excess to drip off, then set on a wire rack to allow the glaze to set.
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Source: Adapted From Food and Wine