Here is a last post of 2014 before I head to Cornwall for the holidays. This is another good edible gift idea which I like to present in glass jars with a ribbon or great to offer to guests who pop in for a cuppa over the festive period. Lebkuchen are a traditional German soft spiced gingerbread biscuit glazed with icing sugar and water. You can also dip the bottoms in dark chocolate to make them even more yummy.
Makes 80 biscuits
115g dark brown sugar
225g white spelt/plain flour, sifted
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg, beaten
50g ground almonds
50g icing sugar sifted
4 tsp water
In a large pan (the dough will be made in it so think mixing bowl sized!) weigh out the honey, sugar and butter. Heat over a gentle flame until the butter and sugar have melted then remove from the heat.
Sift together the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda. Beat the egg in a cup or small dish.
Add one half of the flour mixture and half of the egg to the pan and mix well. Repeat with the remaining flour and egg.
Finally add in the ground almonds and mix till thoroughly combined.
The dough now needs to be chilled, it is very sticky and will seem along way away from being a biscuit dough.
Place it in a plastic bag, an easy way of doing this is to fold a bag over the inside of a bowl and tip the dough in. Flatten out in the freezer bag to you have a thick sheet of dough.
Chill overnight in the fridge, or you can leave this dough to develop it’s flavours in the fridge for up to three days.
The following day, remove the dough from the fridge and roll out between two sheets of greaseproof paper to approx 5mm thick.
Preheat the oven to 160c Fan/180c/Gas Mark 4.
Get out the christmas cutters and cut out your biscuits. The dough is still quite sticky so flour your cutters well. Lay the biscuits on a greased or lined baking tray. The biscuits will spread slightly on baking so they don’t need to be miles apart but not too close either! I find that 1 1/4″ cutters are the best to use.
Bake in the oven for 7-9 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool for five minutes on the tray to firm up a little before carefully transferring to a cooling rack.
Mix up a really watery icing glaze combining your sifted icing sugar with the water.
Line up the lebkuchen on your baking tray and using a pastry brush glaze the tops of the biscuits by brushing on a thin layer of icing. Apply a second coat and leave to dry.
The biscuits will keep for up to three weeks in an airtight container or jar – but I have never had any left long enough to find out!