Good old German Lebkuchen with a twist
I woke up this morning and when I looked out the window there was again a new coat of snow on the trees, cars and other houses. It has been snowing for a couple of days now and I admit the christmas feeling has arrived.
Last year it was the total opposite. I haven’t had time to make any kind of cookies and wasn’t really in the mood either, since it was raining all the time and the temperature was always around 10°C plus. I couldn’t even listen to christmas music while I was preparing our christmas feast. Instead I was listening to the beach boys. Luckily this year is different. It is snowing, I had time to go to the christmas market and meet friends for some Glühwein and finally make some christmas cookies. I love when everything starts to smell of the typical christmas spices and you make a hot chocolate or nice tea, look at the winter wonderland outside and enjoy the cookies you have just made.
This recipe is my twist on the traditional German Elisenlebkuchen. I love it for many reasons but one of them is that it does not require any flour so my friend Bianca, who is allergic to gluten, can eat the Lebkuchen. I lived with Bianca for a three month in Spain and until that time, since I am one of the lucky ones who can eat almost everything, I never really thought about food allergies. But ever since that time I have my eyes open for a gluten free version of food I love. And what can I say there are not many tasty things on the market, at least not here. And christmas is a gluten loaded zone so I am happy to make some traditional Lebkuchen without it.
The traditional Elisenlebkuchen recipe does not have any chocolate in it but I am a chocoholic and it gives a little twist on the usually soft texture. Also Elisenlebkuchen are usually made with candied orange peel. I don’t particularly like the taste of it, so I use dates instead. They give a lovely chewiness (Just make sure you buy good ones which are still soft inside) and don’t have a very strong taste of their own.
Ingredients for 40-50 Lebkuchen
For the Lebkuchen
- 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa) cut in chunks
- 400g ground almonds without skin
- 500g ground hazelnuts
- 25g corn / potato starch
- 750g brown sugar
- 9 eggs
- 50 wafer papers (7cm Ø) (Don’t use them if you want a gluten free version)
- 250g or more dried, pitted dates
- 1 sachet gingerbread spices
if you can’t find gingerbread spices you should use the following ingredients:
- 2 teaspoons dried, ground bitter orange peel
- 1,5 teaspoons dried lemon peel
- 1,5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1,5 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1,5 teaspoons ground star anise
- 1,5 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1,5 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
For icing and decoration
- 400g chocolate for icing + 25g of butter or coconut fat
- 250 icing sugar
- nuts or candied zest for decoration
1. Take a big bowl and add the ground almond, ground hazelnut, starch, sugar and the spices.
2. Then mix your eggs together and add to the dry ingredients.
3. Cut the dates into small pieces or cut them in big chunks, however you prefer it.
I usually cut them very small so you can’t really tell they are in the dough, but they give a really nice texture.
4. Add the dates and chocolate and mix until it is well combined with the rest. It will be very sticky but that’s how it’s supposed to be.
5. Now let it rest over night in a cool place. You will notice the aroma of the spices will have intensified and the dough will now have the typical Lebkuchen taste to it.
6. Take a little bit of your dough and place it on each of your wafer papers.
7. Place each of your Lebkuchen on a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes at 150°C.
For a gluten free version put baking paper on your tray and if necessary oil it a little bit. Place little amounts of the dough without the wafer paper on the tray and bake it.
8. When the Lebkuchen are ready take them out of the oven and let them cool.
9. Once the Lebkuchen are cooled break the chocolate for the icing into pieces and put it in a heatproof bowl. Add the butter and sit the bowl on a pan with simmering water and make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir regularly.
10.Dip half of your Lebkuchen into the chocolate until everything except the bottom is covered in chocolate. Put some decoration on top and let it dry.
11. For the other half of your Lebkuchen take the icing sugar and add about 6 tablespoons of water and a little bit of lemon juice.
I haven’t used any decoration, because I will send most of the Lebkuchen to my family and friends, which means until they arrive, the decoration will have fallen of, so there is really no point…