Lebkuchen Hearts are inscribed with icing and are available at many German markets.
Lebkuchen crafted into fancy shapes sometimes is used as Christmas decorations.
Lebkuchen ranges in taste from spicy to sweet. There are many regional variations of Lebkuchen; however, the ingredients usually include honey, spices (such as allspice, aniseed, cardamom, cloves, coriander, and ginger), nuts (including almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts), and candied fruits. Typically, it is glazed or covered with very dark chocolate.
Lebkuchen came to Aachen, Germany from Belgium in the 13th century, where it was baked in Franconian Monasteries. Lebkuchen bakers were recorded as early as 1296 in Ulm, and 1395 in Nuremberg.
The seasonings needed to bake Lebkuchen were not available locally and had to be imported. Because of this, Lebkuchen grew in popularity mainly in larger cities such as Ulm, Nuremberg, Cologne, and Munich that were situated on trade routes from the Orient.
In 1643, Nuremberg created the "League of Lebkuchen-Bakers." In 1645, the league created strict guidelines that commercial bakers had to follow in order to sell their Lebkuchen.
Nürnberger Lebkuchen is the most well-known worldwide. This Lebkuchen from Nuremberg is baked on a thin wafer and is known for its light, soft texture.
I baked Lebkuchen today.
Here is the recipe I used:
Lebkuchen1 cup honey
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon allspice
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1/4 cup finely chopped candied orange peel
1/4 cup finely chopped candied lemon peel
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons milk
32 whole blanched almonds, toasted
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat honey and brown sugar over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture is thin. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add egg and
1 tablespoon lemon juice; mix well.
In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and allspice. Add to wet ingredients 1/2 cup at a time; mix well after each addition.
Combine raisins, chopped almonds, candied peels, and lemon zest. Add to dough mixture, and stir until all ingredients are combined.
Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line two 9-inch square pans with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Butter foil in pans. Divide dough in half; press evenly into pans. Brush surface with milk. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
While warm, score each pan into 16 squares; press a whole almond into the center of each square. Combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and remaining
3 tablespoons lemon juice; brush evenly over bars.
Let cool completely before cutting. Store in tightly covered tin. Do not store in plastic bags.
Yield: 32 bars
Note that for this recipe I used the Candied Orange Peel and the Candied Lemon Peel I made! :)
You can find the original version of this recipe here.
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