Homemade German Gingerbread Cookies W/ Rum & Chocolate Glaze
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The smell of fresh, German gingerbread or Lebkuchen baking in your oven… it fills the air with Christmas scent, initial nostalgia, and then stress because you haven’t started any of your Christmas shopping yet and it is getting near! At least that’s how I feel… but let’s dwell in the moment of good feels and nostalgia for a while before we stress ourselves out, please. Also check out my top 5 German Christmas cookie recipes!
Turns out making your own Lebkuchen is quite the feat in itself, so once they’re in the oven, it’s pretty much time to celebrate your accomplishment with some fresh Glühwein hot from the stove. If you’re up for this delicious adventure, keep on reading. If you’d rather bypass making your own, and have a chance at winning some free Bahlsen Lebkuchen and other goodies on my blog, make sure to follow me on Instagram in December and be ready to enter 24 (!!!) amazing advent calendar giveaways – some local to Kansas City, and some national.
Lebkuchen Gewürz aka Gingerbread Spice Mix
If you don’t happen to have one brought back home with you from a recent Germany visit, this spice mix is hard to find in the United States (an authentic one that is!). But don’t fret, making your own is possible, and grinding your own spices from scratch will make for a much more flavorful Lebkuchen after all. If you don’t think you will eat enough Lebkuchen in the next 2 years or so to make spending all the money on the spices worth it, you will be surprised to find out that this spice mix is actually delicious when used on meat and as well (dry rub a pork loin with it before baking for example). And it also makes for a fantastically, flavorful spice rim on your holiday drinks when mixed with a little bit of brown sugar, and the whole spices are great for making your own Glühwein spice.
Here the German Lebkuchen spice mix recipe I used:
30 grams ground cinnamon
6 pieces cloves (whole)
6 pieces allspice (whole)
2 grams coriander (ground)
4 grams green cardamom (ground)
1/2 piece nutmeg (whole)
1 piece star anise (whole)
2 grams ginger (whole and dried)
Grind the whole spices and combine with the already ground spices. Keep in a dry and cool place. Best when used within a couple of months, but will keep for a couple of years.
Next Recipe: Speckknödelsuppe
Bacon, Bread, Beef Broth… that’s what’s next. Make sure you’re not missing out on all the fun planned for December either (aka lots of giveaways) by following dirndl kitchen on Instagram and subscribe to receive weekly emails, so you’re always up to date on when the next recipe goes live!
German Glazed Lebkuchen Gingerbread Recipe:
Lebkuchen Cookie Dough:
- 1.8 oz (50 g) candied orange peel (you can buy this at some German specialty stores (called Orangeat and Zitronat), but if you want to improvise like I did and save some money, use Trader Joe’s dried, candied sliced oranges and lemons. I used the whole slices, not just the peel, but feel free to cut off the peel and simply use that. You’ll use about 3 whole orange slices and 6 whole lemon slices if you go this route.)
- 1.8 oz (50 g) candied lemon peel (see note next to orange peel above)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 c (200 g) brown sugar
- 1 cup (125 g) ground, whole almonds (Trader Joe’s “almond meal” works great!)
- 3/4 c (100 g) ground hazelnuts (I was not able to find this at a store anywhere, so I ended up ordering online. You can also grind your own of course!)
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp Lebkuchen spice (see recipe above)
- about 30 Oblaten (a paper-like, edible bottom for the Lebkuchen cookies, I ordered them online)
- Finely dice the candied orange and lemon.
- Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the eggs on the highest setting until foamy (about 1 minute), then add the sugar and vanilla and beat for 2 more minutes, then add the Lebkuchen spice.
- On the lowest setting, add in the almonds, baking powder, diced orange and lemon and hazelnuts. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, so that the wet ingredients can soak into the dry ingredients and thicken the mixture.
- Preheat your oven to 140 degrees Celsius/285 degrees Fahrenheit (non-convection setting).
- Onto each Oblate, place one tablespoon of Lebkuchen dough (easiest to use a cookie scoop), and distribute onto the Oblate, forming a slight mound towards the center of each cookie.
- Bake on a baking sheet for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Now glaze with either or both glazes below.
STROH Rum Glaze (enough to glaze all cookies; half if also glazing with chocolate glaze):
- 1 c (200 g) white, granulated sugar
- 1/2 c (120 ml) water
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 Tbsp STROH rum (check this link for availability in your area)
- 1 c (125 g) powdered sugar
Place white granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil and boil for a few minutes. Add vanilla and STROH rum. Sift powdered sugar over hot sugar syrup and stir. Immediately brush onto cookies. If you decide to not bake the cookies onto Oblaten, you will need to double your recipe and glaze both sides.
Chocolate Glaze (enough to glaze all cookies; half if also glazing with STROH rum glaze):
Combine both in a bowl and melt over hot water, then brush onto the cooled cookies with a pastry brush. Allow to cool completely (I just set them out in the cold garage for about 30 minutes and they’re ready to enjoy, or it may take a couple of hours at room temperature). If you decide to not bake the cookies onto Oblaten, you will need to double your recipe and glaze both sides.
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