Lebkuchen are traditional German spice cookies made with hazelnuts, almonds, candied orange and lots of warm spice. The vanilla glaze adds a sweet finish.
Have you heard of Lebkuchen before? No? Well, I’m very happy to introduce you to these delightful cookies.
What do Lebkuchen taste like?
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.
How to make Lebkuchen:
- Grind the nuts to a chunky powder.
- Add the candied orange peel and pulse a few times to chop the peel.
- Cream the almond paste with powdered sugar.
- Add the egg whites.
- Add the ground nuts to the batter.
- Spread the batter to cover the entire half sheet, to 1/4″ thick.
- Allow the sheet of lebkuchen to cool to room temperature before glazing.
- Cut the cookies into squares once the glaze is set.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
- 4 oz almond paste
- 12 oz confectioner’s sugar (3 cups)
- 4 large egg whites
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
- 2 oz ground hazelnuts (⅓ cup)
- 2 oz ground almonds (⅓ cup)
- 3 oz candied orange peel
- 3 ¾ oz all purpose flour (¾ cups)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 oz granulated sugar (½ cup)
- 1 oz water (2 tablespoons)
- 1 ½ teaspoons corn starch
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Have a ½ sheet pan and a sheet of parchment paper ready. Don't place the parchment into the sheet pan yet.
- Cream 4 oz almond paste with 12 oz confectioner’s sugar. Add 4 large egg whites, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and ¼ teaspoon lemon extract.
- Add 2 oz ground hazelnuts, 2 oz ground almonds and 3 oz candied orange peel. Add 3 ¾ oz all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- Spread the dough over the parchment sheet. It will be very thin (1/4") and should cover the entire sheet of parchment.
- Slide the parchment onto the sheet pan and bake until set all the way to the center of the sheet, about 10 minutes.
- To make the glaze, combine 4 oz granulated sugar and 1 oz 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 1 ½ teaspoons corn starch and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract.
- 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.
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