Oktoberfest in Germany begins Saturday, September 22, 2012, and ends Sunday, October 7, 2012...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lebkuchen



Hi!   Well, here’s a German sweetie for you.   Lebkuchen is a honey cake or cookie originating from the Black Forest region of Germany.   Surprisingly, inspiration for this recipe comes from Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book (yes, that is the actual spelling).  I looked at recipes from a few German cookbooks and they all called for cups of ground almonds plus flour.  I don’t care for the consistency of that combination, so when I read the ingredient list for this recipe, I knew this is something my family would enjoy.   The following is my adaptation.  There is a link at the bottom for the cookbook.   You should also know that the dough should be chilled overnight.   Don’t skip this step.   Doing this allows the flavors to mingle, and it also prevents the cookies from spreading, so you will get a nice rise.

Ingredients for Lebkuchen:
½ cup honey
½ cup molasses
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons orange juice
1 large egg
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1  teaspoon cinnamon
1  teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup dried currants
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Glazing Icing

Ingredients for Glazing Icing:
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons butter
½ cup water
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A slice of apple or orange


Directions:

First, to a small sauce pan add the molasses and honey.   Bring to a boil, and then immediately remove from burner.  


Add the brown sugar and blend well with an electric mixer. 

  
Then pour the sweet mixture into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.  You will probably need at least a half hour or more.

Meanwhile, to a medium mixing bowl add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg.   Then vigorously dry whisk to combine.   Do mix well.   You want a good distribution of all those aromatic spice.


When the sweet mixture is completely cool, add the orange juice and egg.   Using an electric mixer, run on medium high until well incorporated.


Then, top the liquid mixture with the dry mixture.   Mix on low to medium until well combined.   Then using a spoon scrape the sides and lift the bottom.


Next, top the dough with the chopped nuts and dried currants.   Mix well with a spoon, or remove one of the beaters from the mixer, and blend on low to medium until well combined.


Okay, now either dump the dough onto a good size piece of wax paper and wrap it up, or you can just press some plastic wrap over the top of the dough in the bowl, and then place another piece of plastic wrap over the top of the bowl.   Either way, just cover the dough up well and place in the refrigerator overnight. 

 

Okay, next day …..  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Take dough out of fridge.   It should be firm but not too hard to use a cookie scoop.   If need be, allow to rest until it warms up a bit to work with.

Grease or line cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Then, using a medium scoop, drop cookie dough on sheet – leaving two inch spacing.


Then, gently press a fork into the top of the cookie ball, first one way and then the other ....


Place in oven and bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until no imprint remains if touched lightly.

Meanwhile, make the glazing icing.  Do this by blending one cup of sugar and ½ cup water in a small saucepan.   Boil until you get a thin thread if a spoon is dipped in the mixture and held over it (230 degrees on a candy thermometer).   Remove from heat.   Stir in ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar and the butter.   If icing becomes sugary while brushing cookies, reheat slightly, adding a little water until clear again.

Okay, as soon as the cookies are ready to come out of the oven, remove, then immediately lightly brush with the cookie glaze. 


Now, place the cookies back in the oven for a scant minute to set the glaze.

Then, remove from the cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack.



When cookies are cool, store in an airtight container with a slice of apple or orange.  This will keep the cookies moist.  Your yield should be about two dozen.



 Enjoy!!



Link for cookbook:  Betty Crocker's COOKY BOOK

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