The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lebkuchen - German Spice Nut Cookies

hanseata's picture

Lebkuchen - German Spice Nut Cookies


177 g hazelnuts, whole, toasted
142 g almonds, whole, toasted
149 g sugar
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon, ground
½ tsp. cardamom, ground
½ tsp. nutmeg
3 tbsp. orange zest, grated, (2 oranges)
2 tbsp. lemon zest, grated, (2 lemons)
175 g all-purpose flour
38 g whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
10 g Dutch cocoa, (2 tbsp.)
¼ tsp. salt, (2 g)
6 tbsp. butter, (85 g)
149 g light brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
283 g/10 oz semisweet chocolate, for glazing, optional (I don't think it's necessary)


How to make:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Process nuts, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg together in food processor to fine meal. Add orange and lemon zest and combine.

Whisk flour, cocoa and salt together in small bowl. In stand mixer with paddle, beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, and add vanilla until combined.

Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add flour mixture until combined, ca. 30 sec. Mix in ground nut mixture until just incorporated.

Working with a small truffle scoop or tablespoon, drop dough on baking sheets, ca. 4 cm/1.5 inch apart. Bake cookies for 7 min., rotate sheets, and continue baking for another 6 - 7 min., until edges are set and beginning to brown, but centers are still soft and puffy, with tiny cracks. Cookies will look raw between cracks, and seem underdone!

Let cool on the sheets for 10 min., then transfer to rack and let cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough, using fresh baking sheet.

Glaze with melted chocolate (optional)

(Adapted with slight alterations from Cooks Illustrated)

Mebake's picture

Thank you, Karin... i needed this recipe..!

hanseata's picture

Yes, they are a special kind of lebkuchen, they should be made only with nuts, without any flour (I doubt that that is still the case with most of them). In Germany they are usually sold in decorated tins, some with chocolate glazing, some with white sugar glazing and some without.

Lebkuchen were invented by monks in Nuremberg, the best store bought ones come from there. They were baked on wafers to prevent them from sticking to the baking sheet (not necessary if you bake them on a parchment paper lined sheet).

Most lebkuchen (mine, too) are soft and chewy, only a special kind, usually shaped as little hearts, Christmas trees or stars, and totally covered with chocolate, is harder.


hanseata's picture

It's really a great recipe, Khalid - and, as you see, I sneaked in a bit of whole wheat flour, too. The one thing you really have to bake attention to is the baking time, taking the cookies out when they still look raw between the cracks.

Happy baking,