It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas! Yes, it’s finally December! I usually don’t look forward to December or any other month, because it means another month has gone by and I didn’t finish all my plans. But this year I looked forward to December. Maybe it is because autumn/winter time is usually hard for me, I feel annoyed by days that are too short, by the lack of sunshine, even though I enjoy staying indoors, reading a magazine, or just looking at cats that relax on the radiator. Anyway, that are possible reasons, but outcomes are pretty cool, I already tried five different cookies recipes (and only one type disappeared before I managed to take photos of them), I’ve made maturing gingerbread cake, and I’m almost falling into a sugar coma. But I guess it’s all good news for you, we will have something to talk about. I actually miss having a nice conversation over coffee and a cookie, I was even considering a skype over coffee meeting with my best friend but it somehow doesn’t sound right.
Lebkuchen are German gingerbread cookies. So far they are my favorite ones, they are just soft and spicy and smell amazing. It’s worth using homemade candied orange zest, as it’s simply the best, the store-bought stuff tastes like sugar rather than orange. I know that my words don’t really describe them, I was never good with adjectives, but you just need to make them.
- 250g plain flour
- 85g ground almonds
- 3 tsp gingerbread spice mix (you can mix ground cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and cloves)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 200ml honey
- 85g butter
- 1/2 cup candied orange zest, chopped finely
- 2 cups of icing sugar
- few tablespoons of lemon juice
Mix all dry ingredients (flour, ground almonds, spices, baking powder and baking soda) in a bowl.
In a small pot heat butter and honey until the butter will entirely melt. Let it cool little, but the mixture should be lukewarm when you use it.
Add the butter and honey mixture into dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Add candied orange zest and mix until well incorporated. The dough will be really sticky.
Place it in a fridge for at least 30 minutes, it will get slightly tougher.
Shape dough into walnut size balls and place on parchment. Leave a few centimeters space between them as they will spread. Flatten them slightly with a wet hand or spoon.
Bake for about 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 180°C/160°C fan). Let cool for 2 minutes until they firm up and transfer cookies to a wire rack, and let cool completely.
Place the icing sugar in a bowl and add one tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir until smooth. Add more juice until you get the right consistency. I don’t like too much icing, so I made it thin enough, so it dripped a little, but it’s totally up to you, the best thing is just sampling while you ice them.
Dip the top of the cooled cookie into the icing, let the excess of icing drip. You can help yourself by smearing it with a teaspoon to get even coating.
Put the cookie on a cooling rack placed over an old newspaper, as for sure some of the icing will drip anyway.
The next day after icing them the cookies should become softer, if they don’t just place a piece of fresh apple into the cookie jar, it will help them to soften. Remove or replace the apple after two days so it wouldn’t get molded.