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Lebkuchen

Lebkuchen are traditional German spice cookies made with hazelnuts, almonds, candied orange and lots of warm spice. The vanilla glaze adds a sweet finish.

a stack of lebkuchen

Have you heard of Lebkuchen before? No? Well, I’m very happy to introduce you to these delightful cookies.

Lebkuchen are often likened to gingerbread cookies. But that’s not really accurate. Since there is no molasses in Lebkuchen, and the mix of spices is not heavy with ginger, Lebkuchen have a softer flavor than gingerbread.

But, like gingerbread, Lebkuchen are traditionally baked around the holidays.

This recipe is an adaptation of the one I got from an Austrian pastry chef waaay back when I was just a newbie pastry chef fresh out of school.

It’s a fairly easy recipe to make. The main sticking point, and I mean that literally, is that the dough is quite sticky and a bit of a pain to spread to 1/4″ thin.

It might look wrong, and you can’t imagine how that sticky mess will bake up into a bar cookie, but it will. Trust me.

Scroll through the process photos to see how to make traditional Lebkuchen:

two photos showing how to grind nuts and orange peel for making german gingerbread
Grind the nuts to a chunky powder, then add the candied orange peel and pulse a few times to chop the peel.
three photos showing how to mix lebkuchen batter
1. Cream the almond paste with powdered sugar. 2. Add the egg whites. 3. Add the ground nuts to the batter.
a photos showing that lebkuchen batter is spread to just 1/4 inch thick
Spread the batter to cover the entire half sheet, to 1/4″ thick.
three photos showing how to glaze and cut lebkuchen
Allow the sheet of lebkuchen to cool to room temperature before glazing. Cut the cookies into squares once the glaze is set.
a hand holding a lebkuchen cookie
a stack of lebkuchen

Here are some more great cookie recipes you’ll want to try: Vanilla Kipferl, Speculaas, Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip, Triple Ginger Cranberry Biscotti and Nutella Sandwich Cookies.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

lebkuchen cookies on a table

Lebkuchen Cookies

Yield: 48 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Traditional German cookies with hazelnuts, almonds, candied orange and lots of warm spice. The vanilla glaze adds a sweet finish.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 4 oz (112g) almond paste
  • 3 cups (12 oz, 336g) confectioner's sugar
  • 4 large (5 oz, 140g) egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/3 cup (2 oz, 56g) ground hazelnuts, ground
  • 1/3 cup (2 oz, 56g) ground almonds
  • (3 oz, 84g) candied orange peel
  • 3/4 cups (3.75 oz, 105g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 112g granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz, 28g) water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (5g) corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Have a 1/2 sheet pan and a sheet of parchment paper ready. Don't place the parchment into the sheet pan yet.
  2. Cream the almond paste with the confectioner's sugar. Add the egg whites, vanilla and lemon extract.
  3. Add the hazelnuts, almonds, orange peels. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
  4. Spread the dough over the parchment sheet. It will be very thin (1/4") and should cover the entire sheet of parchment.
  5. Slide the parchment onto the sheet pan and bake until set all the way to the center of the sheet, about 10 minutes.
  6. To make the glaze, combine the sugar and water in a small sauce pan. Bring the syrup to to a boil. Boil to 220°F. Remove the pan from the heat and add the corn starch and vanilla.
  7. Use a pastry brush to coat the entire surface of the cooled cookie with the glaze. Allow the glaze to set then cut into 48 bars.

Did you make this recipe?

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