This recipe is my simplified adaptation of German Lebkuchen to local ingredients. It is based on many recipes that were shared online by German home bakers — thank you all!
“In my mind, she was Lebkuchen Spice—ironic, Germanic, sexy, and off beat. And, mein Gott, the girl could bake a damn fine cookie … to the point that I wanted to answer her What do you want for Christmas? with a simple More cookies, please!” — Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn
These cookies have a relatively soft crumb easy to bite and chew. Their sweetness and spiciness are not overwhelming either. All the ingredients except for candied orange zest are easy to find in any chain supermarket. Follow my Very Orange Candied Peel recipe to make at home the best tasting zest. Edible rice wafer rounds known as oblaten used to be difficult to find in Central Texas. Now they are available Kuechle Back-Oblaten on Amazon.
I prefer roasted Oregon hazelnuts and California almonds from Trader Joe’s. If they are not available, roast raw nuts in preheated 350F oven for 5-7 minutes. You can replace almonds with hazelnuts or vice versa. You can replace 60g almonds + 15g brown sugar + 2 tbsp rum with 90g of marzipan from Ikea. With a food processor, these Christmas cookies are one of the easiest to make!
Place all dry ingredients in a food processor bowl with S-blade for chopping and process on high speed for a few minutes.
At the end of processing the dry mix will look like fine crumbs.
Add rum and eggs and process until well combined. Place the dough into a container, civer with lid, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours to develop flavors.
Preheat oven 325F, convection mode. Line baking sheet with silicone mat to prevent cookies sliding. Arrange rice wafer rounds and scoop a portion of dough on each one. Use scoop #30 (30ml/1oz) for portioning.
Use your wet fingers to lightly press and spread the dough on each rice wafer round.
Optional. Decorate cookies with nuts.
Bake cookies for 25 minutes until golden brown. Your house will be filled with Christmas aromas when they are ready!
Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a saute pan, combine white sugar and water and bring to boiling. Do not let it boil for longer than a few seconds! Take it off the heat, add rum and almond extract, stir and let cool to room temperature. Add confectioners powdered sugar, stir, and keep at room temperature until ready to use.
Transfer baked cookies to a cooling rack placed on a baking sheet (to collect dripping glaze) and apply glaze with a pastry brush. Let the glaze dry for about 24 hours at room temperature.
After glaze is completely dry, you can decorate them with royal icing and let it dry for another 6-8 hours. To make royal icing combine powdered sugar and pasteurized egg white well in a small bowl with a spatula. Whip it to soft peaks stage with a handheld mixer, one whisk attached. Add four drops of lemon juice and three drops of almond extract and whip again. Add 2-5 drops of cold water to bring icing to the right consistency for piping.