German Christmas Gingerbread recipe
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- Dish type
- Classic cakes
- Ginger cake
This aromatic gingerbread recipe is a great tea cake for Christmastime.
27 people made this
- 200g plain flour
- 125g wholemeal flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 250g butter, softened
- 400g dark brown soft sugar
- 3 eggs
- 150ml honey
- 4 tablespoons orange liqueur
- 250ml soured cream
- 125ml orange juice
- 150g sultanas
- 125g flaked almonds
MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:1hr20min ›Extra time:10min › Ready in:1hr45min
- Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4. Grease and flour a tube cake tin.
- Whisk together the flours, baking powder and spices.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter with the brown sugar. Beat in the eggs, then the honey, orange liqueur, soured cream and orange juice. Beat the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, and then stir in the sultanas and almonds. Turn batter into the prepared tin.
- Bake cake in the preheated oven for 80 minutes, or until it tests done with a skewer. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(21)
Reviews in English (16)
by Lyndsay Bodily
My husband and kids loved this bread! I substituted applesauce for the butter and egg beaters for the eggs, it was just delicious! I also cooked it in two loaf pans, so I'd be able to share!-29 Nov 2006
We weren't sure to use dark or light brown sugar. We chose light and it turned out great! We put a bit of whipping cream on when we served it.-11 Dec 2005
Spactacular recipe! I didn't change anything except for not adding the almonds. This tastes excellent just the way it is. I took it to my son's preschool for a special snack and it was loved! I am making it again for Christmas right now. Only note I have to leave is that I used loaf pans and it definitely makes more than two! It overflowed all over, so now I am making it into four loaves, two cups of batter each. We'll see how it turns out!-23 Dec 2007
German Gingerbread Spice Mix
You might wonder what is so special about this spice blend but if you ever tried German Gingerbread (Lebkuchen) then you know why it’s definitely worth making your own.
This spice mix is called Lebkuchengewuerz in German and is an essential ingredient in many Christmas recipes. But it’s so versatile that it can be added to lots of other things like pancake or waffle batter, cookies, or ground coffee before brewing.
Essentially you can add it to whatever you want to have a gingerbread flavor!
The ingredients are pretty simple and you probably have them in your pantry! It’s a quick and easy recipe that saves you much money because if you have a look at Amazon (Lebkuchengewuerz) this spice blend is not cheap (when you can even find it).
And making your own blend is so simple and it will be more flavorful!
To make this German gingerbread spice mixture you’ll need cinnamon, cloves, allspice, coriander, green cardamom, ginger, star anise, mace, and nutmeg. Sounds a little bit like pumpkin pie spice, doesn’t it? But the ratios are different and will yield a different flavor.
It really adds a different and unique flavor to baked goods!
The recipe is really simple. You can use pre-ground spices or you can grind your own in a spice grinder. You combine everything and store in an airtight container.
You can find most of these spices in your local grocery store but if you won’t most good health food stores will carry them. I recommend getting the whole spices and grind your own for a deeper flavor. And another tip is to only make as much as you use to get the most flavor.
How to Make German Gingerbread Cookies – Step-by-Step
If you’d like to make this German gingerbread cookie recipe, you can check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
For those who want to see all the steps as you go, you can follow the Lebkuchen process photos with instructions below. This way, you’ll know whether or not you’re on the right track as you bake!
This gingerbread recipe seems like it has many, many steps but it’s actually pretty easy. The trickiest part is getting the right ingredients together in advance.
You can make some of the ingredients used in this recipe beforehand if you don’t/can’t buy them. We’ll point out which “special ingredients” you can make at home in the steps below and link to the recipes to make them!
We’ll start by chopping up the nuts as well as orange and lemon peel. This works best if you have a food processor or mixer that can handle nuts.
If you don’t have a food processor, you could also buy pre-ground nuts and chop the lemon/orange peel with a knife.
The texture would be slightly different, but it should still work – just remember to use slightly less (approx. 1 cup each) when using already ground nuts! Disclaimer: We’ve not tried it with pre-ground nuts yet – so let us know how it goes if you do!
Start by adding the nuts into your food processor.
Also add the candied orange and candied lemon peels. These are two of the ingredients that you can either buy in-store (if you can find them) or that you can make at home (we think it tastes better that way).
For those located in Canada: You can often find candied peel at Bulk Barn.
If you want to make the candied peel yourself at home, you can follow our candied lemon peel recipe and candied orange peel recipe to see exactly how we made ours.
In just a few steps, it’s actually really easy to candy the peels on the stovetop. It does take a while for the peels to dry though, so keep that in mind!
Once you have added the hazelnuts, almonds, candied lemon peel and candied orange peel, put the lid on and chop everything.
Make sure that there are no overly large pieces of nuts or peel left – but you don’t have to chop it overly fine. See the photo above for reference.
Once you are happy with the consistency of your nut and fruit mixture, set the container aside.
Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl.
Then add the sugar and honey. Mix everything with the normal hooks of your electric mixer until you have a creamy mixture that has some bubbles and is less yellow in color.
Once you’re happy with the consistency, set your mixer aside. Now it’s time to add the cinnamon and gingerbread spice.
You can buy gingerbread spice at the store, but depending on where you live it might be difficult to find – or quite expensive.
It’s actually not difficult to make your own gingerbread spice at home. You can give it a try with our gingerbread spice mix recipe!
Also add the chopped up fruit and nuts and fold them into the egg mixture using a spatula or large spoon.
Mix until everything is well combined.
At this time also line your baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now it’s time to place your dough onto the parchment paper. Use one heaping tablespoon of dough per gingerbread cookie. Then take two spoons to shape the dough into a flat circle.
Make sure to leave some space between the cookies as they will expand slightly in the oven.
Bake your cookies on the medium rack of your oven for around 15-20 minutes.
They should be slightly brown at the top but also still slightly soft to the touch. This way they will be soft and chewy on the inside once cooled.
Once your cookies are done baking, remove them from the oven and place them on a cooling rack to fully cool.
When your gingerbread cookies are fully cooled, you can prepare the glaze. We usually like to cover half of the gingerbread cookies with chocolate and half of the cookies with a white icing sugar.
For the chocolate glaze we like using a semi sweet baking chocolate to give the cookies their rich chocolatey coat.
Melt your baking chocolat ein a shallow, wide bowl in the microwave. We like using a shallow bowl that is a bit wider because that makes it easy to dip the top of the cookies in later.
If you don’t have a microwave, you can also heat the chocolate on low heat in a pot on the stove.
Once your chocolate is melted, take a gingerbread cookie and dip the top into the chocolate.
You might want to move the cookie around slightly to make sure that the whole top is covered.
Then carefully turn the chocolate covered cookie over and place it back on the cooling rack.
We’d recommend placing some parchment paper under the cooling rack so you can easily capture any drips!
Then repeat the process until you have coated as many gingerbread cookies in chocolate as you want.
The amounts in the recipe card below are for 9 chocolate covered cookies. So if you want all of your gingerbread cookies to be covered in chocolate (and spic the icing sugar glaze), then you’d obviously need slightly more baking chocolate!
For the white glaze, mix powdered sugar with a bit of water and mix everything with a spoon until there are no more lumps.
You’ll want the consistency to be quite thick so that the cookies will get a nice glaze.
Then, similarly to the chocolate coat, dip the top of the gingerbread cookies into the glaze and move them around a bit until the whole top is covered.
Then carefully flip the cookie over and place it on the cooling rack.
Now you just have to be patient and wait until the glaze has fully hardened. And then enjoy your German Lebkuchen!
These cookies probably won’t last long, but we’d still recommend that you store them in an airtight container with a lid a cool and dry place (for example your garage or basement).
The best Gingerbread is made in Nürnberg (Nuremberg) and there is no arguing about it. My grandmother used to send each grandchild a package filled with Nuremberger gingerbread each Winter. It must have cost a fortune but it was very appreciated. They came in beautifully decorated tins and I still have some of them although she had passed away more than 20 years ago. These tins are a beautiful memory!
One of the best gingerbread brands besides the Nuremberger Gingerbread is “Bahlsen” and the product is called “Contessa”, you might get it at the World Market or Amazon.
Ingredients Aachener Printen
500 g sugar beet syrup (in German “Zuckerruebensirup”, see below)
200 g brown sugar
750 g rye flour or wheat
80 g chopped candied orange peel (orangeat) and/or zitronat – Go to Recipe: How to make Orangeat and Zitronat)
Find Zitronat/Orangeat online: Jansal Valley Candied Orange Peel, 1 Pound
zest of 1 organic orange
1 dash salt
1 tsp cloves
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp anise
1/2 tsp Piment or Allspice
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp coriander
1 tbsp potassium carbonate or Pottasche
optional: almonds to decorate, chocolate to glaze them after they are baked
What do you know? Aachener Printen are in this Christmas Box
What is Lebkuchen? It is German gingerbread. This isn’t quite a gingerbread cookie that you and I are familiar with but more of a soft gingerbread like cookie made with honey, almonds, and marmalade.
My Oma and Opa would send us kids authentic Lebkuchen cookies from Germany during Christmas time, both the original flavor and chocolate. I can also remember those beautiful and large heart shaped Lebkuchen which are harder but oh so iconic and nostalgic.
Here is a little history on these awesome little cookies. Lebkuchen’s earliest record of being baked was around the 13th century in a few cities in Germany but became the most famous exporter from Nuremberg, Germany. Back then, these cakes were called honey cakes. According to mythology, honey was thought to be a gift from the Gods and these cakes were perceived as such. They were such a great commodity that these cakes were used as currency at one time. Oh how I wish that was still the case!
I stated above that you can have two different kinds, ones glazed with lemon icing or chocolate variety. Some of the comments I have seen about my German cookies are that the lemon icing doesn’t work for them. And that is okay, just go with a chocolate or simply plain white icing without the added lemon juice.
Cost to make recipe.
This recipe is a One Acre Vintage Homestead – Pumpkin Patch Mountain Homestead original recipe. All images and texts are original to this website and blog.
Lebkuchen – German Gingerbread cookie is part of our World Cuisine Recipe Series.
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German Christmas Cookies
Looking to make some traditional German Christmas cookies? Our authentic cookie recipes are sure to please - and cover many German holiday cookies you might think of!
From classic German Butter cookies to Spice Cookies (Pfeffernüsse) and Cinnamon Stars, these German cookie recipes are easy to make with simple ingredients and methods. Plus, you get to have fun decorating most of them for the holidays!
German Butter Cookies (Butterplätzchen)
German Butter Cookies - or Butterplätzchen - are a classic holiday cookie. With a golden outside and deliciously buttery inside, these simple cookies crumble away in your mouth.
Butter cookies are great to make with kids because you can decorate them however you like. You can even cut them into many different festive shapes such as stars or Christmas trees.
The simple glaze is a great addition to their sweetness but they are also delicious just as is!
Pfeffernüsse (German Spice Cookies)
Pfeffernüsse - or German Spice Cookies - are another popular German holiday cookie. These tasty cookies are packed with fragrant spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ground pepper.
The nice thing about Pfeffernüsse is that they are really easy to make. You can also choose to give them a simple glaze or leave them plain. Either way, spice cookies don't last long on the holiday dessert plate!
German Gingerbread Cookies (Lebkuchen)
For authentic German gingerbread cookies, you've got to make Lebkuchen. These specific type of gingerbread are called Elisenlebkuchen - from the Nuremberg area.
These chewy and soft cookies are packed with nuts, candied citrus (orange and lemon), and are made with a homemade gingerbread spice mix. Lebkuchen are dipped in chocolate or icing for the perfect, sweet topping!
Looking to make cute little jam-filled sandwich cookies that are in all different shapes? You're thinking about Linzer Cookies!
Made famous by Austria but enjoyed in Germany and beyond, these classic holiday cookies are colorful and delicious.
Their crumbly, buttery texture is just one highlight - the layer of sweet jam or fruit preserves is the other! Red currant, raspberry, or apricot are popular choices for filling - and they're topped off with a dusting of powdered sugar. So fun to make!
German Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne)
These German Cinnamon Stars - called Zimtsterne in German - are another perfect holiday cookie due to their shape and taste. Packed with ground almond and cinnamon, these holiday cookies are naturally gluten-free.
Cinnamon stars are sweet and extra chewy - and are perfect with or without their simple glaze!
German Spritz Cookies (Spritzgebäck)
German Spritz Cookies - or Spritzgebäck - are another really fun holiday cookie. With lots of unique shapes to create and a distinctly patterned dough, you can definitely get creative with these cookies!
Spritzgebäck is made from an easy-to-make dough and can be dipped in melted chocolate for added sweetness and creativity.
These are another great German holiday cookie to make with kids because of the different shapes and the chocolate dipping part!
Easy Coconut Macaroons (German-Style)
Are macaroons a Christmas cookie? Not quite. However, these easy Coconut Macaroons are a classic German holiday "cookie-like" treat - so they get a mention!
Made from just four ingredients you likely have around the kitchen if you bake, these macaroons are loaded with flakey shredded coconut.
Chewy on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside, these macaroons are perfectly sweet and smell of vanilla!
Vanilla Crescent Cookies (Vanillekipferl)
Vanilla Crescent Cookies - also known as Vanillekipferl - are light and crumbly cookies that are easy to make and easier to enjoy!
Even though they are technically from Austria, the classic vanilla cookie is enjoyed all over Germany during the holiday season.
Finished off with a nice dusting of icing sugar, vanilla crescent cookies are universally loved by all!
German Hazelnut Cookies (Haselnussmakronen)
German Hazelnut Cookies - or Haselnussmakronen - are another German Christmas cookie that is unique in many ways.
Made from an egg-white meringue, these cookies are loaded with ground hazelnut. These cookies end up light and airy yet chewy and nutty.
We like to make our Haselnussmakronen a little larger (so they are more like a cookie) but you can absolutely pipe them a little smaller to create more of a classic and light hazelnut macaron shape.
German Oatmeal Cookies (Haferplätzchen)
Last, but certainly not least, we have German Oatmeal Cookies. Known as Haferplätzchen in German, these delicious cookies are even easier to make than their traditional North American counterpart.
Packed with rich oats and not that much sugar, these oatmeal cookies are filling and oh-so-satisfying around the holidays. They go great with a hot beverage and are a well-loved addition to any holiday cookie plate.
Bonus: German Rum Balls (Rumkugeln)
Okay, okay, traditional German Rum Balls - or Rumkugeln - might not be a classic holiday cookie. However, they are definitely a German Christmas treat!
These sweet and bite-sized little balls of chocolate and rum kind of fit the bill as an enjoyable holiday treat so we had to include them.
Rum balls are actually pretty easy to make and can be coated in different outer layers - like cocoa powder or sprinkles - to suit different sweet tooths!
Ingredients Authentic Nuremberg Elisen Gingerbread
1 kg hazelnuts, ground
800 g cane sugar
1 tsp lemon zest, organic
100 g each Zitronat and Orangeat – Zitronat see below
1 tbsp cinnamon, ground
2 packages lebkuchen spice (each package 15g)
1 dash Hirschhornsalz (ammonium Carbonate)
60 wafers diameter 70mm (German Baking Oblaten) – find 70mm Oblaten here:
Wafer Papers for Baking – 100 round 70mm papers
200 g dark chocolate
chopped almond pieces or sliced almonds to decorate
Lebkuchen or “ginger bread” is a very typical Christmas dessert in Germany, and one that is delicious! This cake-like cookie is one that can be found in various locations, especially in the Christmas markets.
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ teaspoon ground anise (1 g)
1 teaspoon ground cloves (2 g)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (2.5 g)
1 teaspoon baking powder (5 g)
3 tablespoons of milk (50 g)
1 egg white (preferably pasteurized)
2 tablespoons of lemon juice (30 g)
- For the cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Soften the butter and add the sugar, vanilla, egg, yolk, & honey
- Mix the flour with the baking powder, cocoa powder and the spices, sift and add to the previous mixture little by little alternating it with the tablespoons of milk. Add the rest of the flour until there is a smooth dough. Do not over knead. If it was a bit sticky put it in the fridge for a while.
- Stretch the dough with a rolling pin until it is ½ cm thick and cut the biscuits.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- allow them to cool completely before decorating
- For the Icing
- Beat egg white with sifted powdered sugar and the lemon juice so that it is a thick but liquid mass with an electric mixer until it has a heavy cream consistency, add a few more drops of lemon juice or powdered sugar if needed.
- Decorate cookies as desired.
- *You could also alternately dip the cookies in melted dark chocolate instead