Instead of Making Gingerbread This Year, Try Chocolate-Glazed Lebkuchen (2024)

  • Recipes
  • Desserts
  • Cookies

Shilpa Uskokovic

Shilpa Uskokovic

Shilpa Uskokovic is a recipe developer, food writer and sometimes a food stylist. She was previously a line and pastry cook in some of NYC's top rated restaurants like Marea, The NoMad Hotel, Maialino and Perry Street. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Shilpa loves books, Bundt cakes, cute basset hounds and peak millennial memes. She was born and raised in Chennai, India.

Follow

published Nov 8, 2021

christmas

Be the first to leave a review!

Instead of Making Gingerbread This Year, Try Chocolate-Glazed Lebkuchen (1)

Honey, spices, dried fruit, and nuts make this German Christmas cookie an irresistible classic.

Serves16Prep20 minutesCook30 minutes

Jump to Recipe

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Instead of Making Gingerbread This Year, Try Chocolate-Glazed Lebkuchen (2)

Lebkuchen is an iconic German Christmas cookie full of honey, spices, dried fruits, and nuts. Originally baked by monks and sweetened only with honey, lebkuchen today spans many kinds with various combinations of spices and in many different shapes. This easy version is baked in a square pan, cut into bars, then glazed with a thin sheet of rich chocolate. Lebkuchen will keep well for a few days, making it an ideal cookie to bake during the busy holiday season. Plus, the recipe can be easily doubled to make more. Simply use a 9×13-inch pan to bake the bigger batch.

Is Lebkuchen the Same as Gingerbread?

Lebkuchen is different from American-style gingerbread, in that it’s richer and more dense. While gingerbread is usually a crisp cookie, lebkuchen is soft and chewy and includes nuts and dried fruits.

What Is the Difference Between Pfeffernusse and Lebkuchen?

Pfeffernusse and lebkuchen are both similarly flavored with honey and lots of warm baking spices but pfeffernusse are almost always small, rounded cookies coated with a powdered sugar glaze, while lebkuchen may be shaped like regular cookies or cut in bars and are generally glazed with chocolate.

Tips and Tricks to Make the Best Lebkuchen

  1. Runny honey: For the best results, use regular honey that’s liquid at room temperature. A mild honey like clover or wildflower will allow the spices to shine through.
  2. Fresh spices: Check the date on your spices! Most of us use baking spices like ground ginger only a few times a year and ground spices tend to lose their punch fairly quickly. Dusty spices = dusty tasting baked goods.
  3. Baking time: Keep a careful eye on the lebkuchen as it bakes. If overbaked, your lebkuchen will be dry and tough. Most recipes for cakes or bars will indicate baking until it pulls away from the sides of the pan, but in the case of these lebkuchen, simply look for the top to be set and no longer shiny before removing from the oven.
Comments

Lebkuchen Recipe

Honey, spices, dried fruit, and nuts make this German Christmas cookie an irresistible classic.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Serves 16

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground cinnamon

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1/2 cup

    almonds

  • 1/2 cup

    hazelnuts

  • 1/4 cup

    crystallized ginger (optional)

  • 1 cup

    packed dark brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    honey

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1/2 cup

    golden raisins

For the chocolate glaze:

  • 1/2 cup

    semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons

    milk chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place 1 stick unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Let sit at room temperature until softened, about 1 hour.

  2. Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a parchment paper sling that covers the bottom and hangs over two sides.

  3. Place 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  4. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup almonds and 1/2 cup hazelnuts if needed. Finely chop 1/4 cup crystallized ginger if using.

  5. Add 1 cup packed dark brown sugar to the bowl of butter. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup honey and 1 large egg and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat on the lowest speed just until incorporated. Add the almonds, hazelnuts, ginger, and 1/2 cup raisins, and beat on the lowest speed until fully incorporated. Transfer to the baking pan, pressing the dough into an even layer with damp hands to avoid sticking.

  6. Bake until the top is set, dry to the touch, and golden-brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the lebkuchen cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove the slab to a wire rack and let cool completely, at least 1 hour.

Make the glaze:

  1. Place 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until melted, 1 to 2 minutes total. Stir until smooth.

  2. Spread the melted chocolate over the lebkuchen, smoothing the top with a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

  3. Place 2 tablespoons milk chocolate chips, if using, in a small heatproof bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals until melted, 30 seconds to 1 minute total. Use a spoon, fork, or a small piping bag to drizzle the milk chocolate over the lebkuchen. Refrigerate until firm, about 10 minutes, before cutting into small bars or squares.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Lebkuchen can be stored at room temperature in airtight containers for up to 4 days. If you need to stack the lebkuchen, separate each layer with wax or parchment paper.

Filed in:

baked goods

Cookie

Dessert

german

dairy

pantry

Instead of Making Gingerbread This Year, Try Chocolate-Glazed Lebkuchen (2024)

FAQs

Is Lebkuchen the same as gingerbread? ›

What is Lebkuchen? Most dictionaries translate Lebkuchen as “gingerbread”, but that's not quite right. “Gingerbread-like”, perhaps. Consider it a rich, dry, soft biscuit pastry that traditionally uses plenty of honey and spices.

Does Trader Joe's sell Lebkuchen? ›

Our Chocolate Covered Lebkuchen are popular with a certain crowd, but some folks don't like the nuts and spices in these traditional German gingerbread cookies.

What does Lebkuchen mean in German? ›

Lebkuchen (pronounced leyb-koo-kuh n) is a centuries-old German spiced treat traditionally baked during the winter holiday season. While lebkuchen is often translated to English as gingerbread, it's not exactly what most Americans envision when they think of gingerbread.

What is similar to Lebkuchen? ›

Zimtsterne

Like lebkuchen, zimtsterne cookies are soft, chewy, and glazed with icing. Cinnamon is the predominant flavor, complimented by a hint of orange zest.

What is the best brand of Lebkuchen? ›

We believe Leckerlee lebkuchen is hands-down the highest-quality lebkuchen you can buy in the States, and we stand by our product with a 100% money-back guarantee.

What are the three types of gingerbread? ›

The three distinct types of gingerbread are brown gingerbread, wafer-based gingerbread and honey gingerbread.
  • BROWN GINGERBREAD.
  • WAFER GINGERBREAD.
  • HONEY GINGERBREAD.

Does Aldi have Lebkuchen? ›

Holly Lane Dark Chocolate Lebkuchen 200g | ALDI.

What is the most sold item at Trader Joe's? ›

Just like last year, Trader Joe's Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips took home the crown as the overall fan-favorite product.

Is Pfeffernusse the same as Lebkuchen? ›

Pfeffernusse and lebkuchen are both similarly flavored with honey and lots of warm baking spices but pfeffernusse are almost always small, rounded cookies coated with a powdered sugar glaze, while lebkuchen may be shaped like regular cookies or cut in bars and are generally glazed with chocolate.

What is a fun fact about Lebkuchen? ›

Lebkuchen was invented by monks in Franconia, Germany in the 13th century. Lebkuchen bakers were recorded as early as 1296 in Ulm, and 1395 in Nürnberg (Nuremberg). The latter is the most famous exporter today of the product known as Nürnberger Lebkuchen (Nuremberg Lebkuchen).

What is the wafer on the bottom of Lebkuchen? ›

Back-oblaten, or baking wafers, are round wafers often used as the base of each lebkuchen. They're traditional, but not necessary. It is critical that the nuts be ground into a flour, as that is their function in this recipe.

What is the most famous Lebkuchen? ›

World-Famous and Unbelievable Mouth-Watering: Nuremberg Lebkuchen! They are world-famous and inseparably tied to Christmas - Nuremberg Lebkuchen or gingerbread! These internationally-known delicacies were first baked by Frankonian monks, who created this sweet baked good as early as the 14th century.

What is gingerbread called in Germany? ›

"Lebkuchen" (gingerbread) is also known as "Honigkuchen" (honeycake) in some parts of Germany.

What do you drink with Lebkuchen? ›

German wines are perfect to pair with food, so there are also some wines you can drink with Lebkuchen or Marzipan. I would recommend a Gewürztraminer which has a very spicy flavour and goes well with the Lebkuchen. Also a red wine like a Dornfelder or a Pinot would fit perfectly.

Is Pfeffernusse the same as gingerbread? ›

Both are sweetened with a mixture of sugar and honey/syrup, flavoured with warm spices and often use the same technique to make the dough. The difference, as you may have guessed from the name, is the primary flavour. Whilst pure gingerbread uses only ground ginger, pfeffernüsse use a full quintet of spices.

What are other names for Lebkuchen? ›

Historically, and due to differences in the ingredients, Lebkuchen is also known as "honey cake" (Honigkuchen) or "pepper cake" (Pfefferkuchen). Traditionally, the cookies are usually quite large and may be 11.5 cm (4.5 in) in diameter if round, and larger if rectangular.

What is gingerbread in Germany? ›

"Lebkuchen" (gingerbread) is also known as "Honigkuchen" (honeycake) in some parts of Germany.

What is another name for gingerbread cookies? ›

'spice bread') or the German and Polish terms Pfefferkuchen and Piernik respectively ( lit. 'pepper cake' because it used to contain pepper) or Lebkuchen (of unclear etymology; either Latin libum, meaning "sacrifice" or "sacrificial bread," or German Laib for loaf or German for life, leben).

What is gingerbread called in England? ›

It was considered good luck to eat a piece of gingerbread bought at a fair. Known as 'fairings', these gingerbreads were moulded into different shapes and were often decorated with Dutch gold (an alloy of copper and zinc which mimics the tone of real gold leaf) or a variety of decorations.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Golda Nolan II

Last Updated:

Views: 5455

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Golda Nolan II

Birthday: 1998-05-14

Address: Suite 369 9754 Roberts Pines, West Benitaburgh, NM 69180-7958

Phone: +522993866487

Job: Sales Executive

Hobby: Worldbuilding, Shopping, Quilting, Cooking, Homebrewing, Leather crafting, Pet

Introduction: My name is Golda Nolan II, I am a thoughtful, clever, cute, jolly, brave, powerful, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.