Lebkuchen. A traditional German baked Christmas treat, similar to gingerbread. However, our family twist, of no mixed peel and adding jam and chocolate, makes it a very decadent treat to enjoy only at Christmas time. I first discovered this delicious recipe whilst at high school and doing cooking classes. Since then it has become a Screen Christmas tradition. When I smell this spicy mixture cooking, I know Christmas is near.
Yes it contains a little sugar and chocolate, but I am happy to eat only a few. I certainly don’t eat as many as what I used to a few years ago. It is all about moderation and savouring the moment. When I do have a Lebkuchen, Grandad’s shortbread or Mum’s mince pies, I take the time to enjoy every mouthful. Especially knowing that once they are gone, there is nothing for another year.
2/3 cup golden syrup
1 ¾ cup plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon cocoa
¼ cup strawberry jam – no added sugar
200 g dark cooking chocolate – melted
1. Preheat oven to 180oC
2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, gently melt butter, add golden syrup and bicarbonate of soda. Stir until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Stand for 10 minutes.
3. Add in sifted flour and spices. Add milk. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined and smooth. Cover the mixture and let it rest for 1.5 hours. The mixture will become thicker.
4. Place dough onto a lightly floured board. Gently knead the dough until it loses its stickiness. Roll dough out until ½ inch thick. If you would like your biscuits a little crunchier, roll a little thinner. Cut the biscuits out with Christmas cookie cutters such as a Christmas Tree, Star. My family favourite is a love heart. Place the biscuits onto a lightly buttered tray.
5. Using the end of a wooden spoon, gently push to make an indentation. Fill just so it is level with the top of the cookie with a little strawberry jam.
6. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Set aside and leave on tray until completely cool.
7. Cover the side of the biscuit that has no strawberry jam with a little melted chocolate. You may not have enough melted chocolate for all cookies, that’s ok.
8. If you prefer not to use chocolate or jam, you may like to decorate your Lebkuchen like the ones in the picture – using white icing.
Let us know if you give this recipe – we would love to see pictures of how you decorate your Lebkuchen!
Merry Christmas. Wishing you a safe, fun and healthy 2017.