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German Elisen Lebkuchen Recipe

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German Elisen Lebkuchen Cookies recipe - a quintessential German Christmas cookie recipe. These world famous cookies are  chewy, soft and simply electable. When you are ready to serve your family or guests awe-inspiring cookies, it’s time to make these tasty gems. You and your family won’t be able to get enough of this flourless holiday cookie!

Anvita

Anvita

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German Gingerbread Cookie

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What is Elisen Lebkuchen??

Germany is known for its Christmas markets, treats and eats, especially the winter cookie Lebkuchen. These flourless, ginger-esque cookies use nuts, honey, and spices to make a tasty treat.

The cookies date back to the 14th century in Nuremberg. Monks included the ingredients and each has its own religious significance. Many of the ingredients are also used in traditional medicines for their healthy properties. Some of the variations included leftover communion wafer ingredients. 

The Nuremberg type of Lebkuchen is known as Elisen lebkuchen.  It boasts for a very high content of quality nuts compared to some commercial variations that dilute the cookie contents with flour.  

I live just 20 minutes away from Nuremberg and earlier this year in January, I was lucky enough to take a Lebkuchen making class in Nuremberg. Today I share with you Germany's most famous Christmas cookie recipe.

elisen lebkuchen

Why you will love these Lebkuchen Cookies

Lebkuchen cookies are moist, soft, flourless and packed with goodness of nuts and winter spices. They are so incredible that when you take your first bite, you’ll be hooked. And you’ll have a hard time putting them down. Trust me it's hard not to fall in love with them.

The traditional recipe uses honey and egg. I made these cookies vegan by switching the honey with maple syrup. It provides great sweetness and makes binding the nuts easier. It also allows people following a vegan to enjoy mouthwatering flavors.

These lebkuchen are great if you want to serve them to your guests. Or you could give them as an edible gift. Just make sure you wrap them up tight!

Ingredients for German Christmas Cookies

These traditional lebkuchen recipe does not use flour. The ingredients include nuts, fruit, spices, and a sweetener. Here’s what you’ll need for the Lebkuchen:

For the chocolate glaze, you’ll need a few additional ingredients. This glaze adds a nice pop of chocolate flavor. You’ll need:

  • Cooking chocolate nibs 
  • Coconut oil 

Finally, for the sugar glaze, you’ll need:

  • Powdered sugar
  • Water

How to make Lebkuchen Cookies

When you’re ready, here is how to make the best Lebkuchen at home. 

First,  start prepping the ingredients. Make sure to source the communion wafer also know as Back Oblaten either from a local store or from Amazon.  Once you are ready with all the ingredients, start by finely chopping the almonds and candied lemon and orange peels.

After they are chopped, mix together the chopped almonds, ground almond, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, chopped peels, and maple syrup to get a firm sticky dough. If the dough is not sticky or firm enough, you could add a little more almonds.

Next, place a heaping spoon full of the Lebkuchen stuffing onto each of the Christmas wafers  or back oblaten. And then spread it evenly using the spoon or your fingers until you have covered the entire wafer. 

Before starting this step, preheat the oven to 180 C or 356 F degrees.

While it heats, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Then place each Lebkuchen on the baking tray or cookie sheet and bake them in the middle rack for 12 minutes or until lightly brown. But they will not be fully baked.

If you want, you can use your Air fryer or Air fryer lid instead of the oven! When you do this, place the lebkuchen in an air fryer basket and cook for 5 mins at 180 C or 356 F degrees or until lightly brown. But you should not fully bake them!

Typically, you glaze the lebkuchen with chocolate and sugar icing. But often you keep some plain with no glaze at all. If you like, you can dip some and keep some plain.

Lebkuchen recipe steps

Making the Glaze

When you are ready to make the chocolate glaze, follow these easy steps. 

First, add the chocolate and oil in a small microwavable bowl. Next, microwave for 1 minute, stir, and repeat as needed. Only microwave for 1 minute intervals and stop once you have fully melted the chocolate. 

When it’s melted, use immediately. If the glaze becomes firm, reheat in the microwave following the same short bursts and stirring.

Once you have the chocolate glaze ready, you’ll need to make the sugar glaze quickly. Mix the sugar and water in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth.

After both dips are made, dip the Lebkuchen into each glaze, allowing the excess to drip off, and place them on a wire rack. Before they set, place three blanched almonds on each lebkuchen. Finally allow them to set  before serving or storing.

German Lebkuchen

 

Tips to make the best Lebkuchen cookies

These are surprisingly simple because you don’t need to do a lot of work to get them ready. But if you want to make the best cookies possible, you can try these tips and tricks:

    • When baking the cookies, don’t over bake them! They can dry out and lose their moist, chewy texture.
    • If you are serving a large crowd, leave some plain (do not dip them) so everyone can enjoy the cookies.
    • Don’t skip the wafer because it is an important part of the cookie.
    • Chop the nuts and peels finely for the best texture.

How to Store Lebkuchen

If you made these cookies ahead of time, you can store them until you are ready to serve them to your guests or family. When you store the cookies, make sure you place them in an airtight steel or tin container. typically there are not stored in glass containers as they are not exposed to heat.

Though you could store them in a sealable bag, I don’t recommend that because it can damage the cookies. Instead, place them carefully in a plastic container and layer them with parchment paper to help prevent them from sticking together.

How long do the Lebkuchen stay

When and if you can put these cookies down, you can store them for about 10 days at room temperature. To do so, place them in an airtight container for best results.

Lebkuchen Recipe Variations

People make German Elisen Lebkuchen slightly differently based on their local customs. Some common variations to the dough include:

  • Using honey, flour, sugar, and eggs
  • Adding cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, coriander, cloves, anise, and ginger
  • Combining hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts
  • Using candied lemon and orange peels (which is what my recipe uses)

What can I serve with them?

For holiday gatherings, more is always better. Though these Elisen Lebkuchen cookies are great on their own, you can always add more dessert. Serve them with tea or coffee To that end, here are some of my favorites:

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Elisen Lebkuchen Cookies Recipe (German Christmas Cookie)

Elisen Lebkuchen Recipe (German Christmas Cookie)

Elisen Lebkuchen Recipe (German Christmas Cookie)

Yield: 5 cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes 5 seconds
Total Time: 22 minutes 5 seconds

German Elisen Lebkuchen recipe - a quintessential German Christmas cookie. These world famous cookies are  chewy, soft and simply electable. When you are ready to serve your family or guests awe-inspiring cookies, it’s time to make these tasty gems. You and your family won’t be able to get enough of this flourless holiday cookie!

Ingredients

For Lebkuchen cookie

For chocolate glaze

  • cooking chocolate nibs 1 cup
  • Coconut oil 1 tbsp

For sugar glaze

  • Powdered sugar, sifted 1 cup
  • Water 3 tbsp

Instructions

·        
Preparing the stuffing

Prepare the ingredients. Finely (very finely) chop the almonds and candied lemon and orange peels.  

In a mixing bowl, add the chopped almonds, ground almond, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger, chopped peels and maple syrup. Mix together to get a firm stick dough. If you need to adapt the consistency, you can do so by adding more ground almonds.

Stuffing the Lebkuchen

Place a heaped spoon of the Lebkuchen stuffing onto each of the Christmas wafer /back oblaten and spread it evenly using the spoon or fingers such that the entire wafer is covered.

Baking the Lebkuchen

Preheat the oven at 180 C or 356 F.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place each Lebkuchen on the baking tray or cookie sheet and bake them in the middle rack for 12 minutes until lightly brown, but not fully baked.

Air Fryer Instructions

If using an Air fryer or Air fryer lid, place the lebkuchen in an air fryer basket and cook for 5 mins at 180 C or 356 F until lightly brown, but not fully baked.

Glazing the Lebkuchen

Typically the lebkuchen are glazed with chocolate and sugar icing and some are kept neutral. You can dip some an keep some neutral.

For Chocolate glaze

Add chocolate and oil in a small microwavable bowl and microwave  at 1 minute intervals with occasional stirring, until melted. Use immediately. If glaze becomes firm, reheat in the microwave.

For Sugar glaze

Add sugar and water in a small bowl and mix together until until smooth.

Glazing the Lebkuchen

Dip the Lebkuchen into the respective glazes, allowing the excess to drip off and placing them on a wire rack to allow them to set.

Place three blanched almonds on the lebkuchen while the glaze is still wet allowing them to set.

Notes

  • When baking the cookies, don’t over bake them! They can dry out and lose their moist, chewy texture.
  • If you are serving a large crowd, leave some plain (do not dip them) so everyone can enjoy the cookies.
  • Don’t skip the wafer because it is an important part of the cookie.
  • Chop the nuts and peels finely for the best texture.

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