It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I have been visiting plenty of Christmas markets lately and really getting into the festive spirit. I love Christmas in Germany and the Germans really know how to celebrate it well. Not really all that surprising seeing as it is home to the famous Christmas markets that now pop up in any major town or city in the UK. Or the fact that it was the Germans who came up with the tradition of having a Christmas tree in the home or an advent wreath with candles. I love the idea of bringing the outdoors inside and the fresh smells from the pine or fir trees.
Today is St. Nicholas Day (St. Nikolaus Tag), that involves children leaving a shoe outside their door the night of the 5th December and for St. Nicholas to fill it up with sweets and chocolate. Typically it is a day for the kids but it is also a day for people to share sweets and chocolates, to bring the first treats into the home for the festive period and to really kickstart the Christmas mood. Naturally this a tradition my Husband and I were quick to catch onto, so each year I make a big batch of Lebkuchen.
Lebkuchen are almost like a biscuit but with a softer texture and made with spices such as ginger and cinnamon and mixed with honey and orange – all the smells and tastes that we typically associate with this time of the year. They are quick and easy to make and will make your home smell festive!
- 250g plain white flour
- 1 tspn baking powder
- 80g butter
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 75g ground almonds
- 2 tspn ground ginger
- 70g soft brown sugar
- 2 tspn ground cinnamon
- Juice of half an orange
- 250ml clear honey
- 100g icing sugar
- Heat oven to 180C/fan160C/gas 4.
- Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and almond. Mix gently with a spoon.
- In a large saucepan melt the butter and honey. Once melted take the pan off the heat. Pour in the orange juice and the brown sugar and hand whisk until smooth and the sugar has melted.
- Pour the melted mixture in the mixing bowl and mix well with the dry ingredients until it forms a dough. Leave to cool slightly until it is cool enough to handle.
- Take around 1 and half tbpsn size of the mixture and mix into a ball. Flatten them slightly into disc shapes on the baking trays (you will need two trays). Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.
- Place in the oven for around 15/ 2o mins (swapping the trays halfway through). The biscuits will be soft when taking them out the oven but will harden slightly once they cool.
- Leave to cool completely. Once cooled mix the 100g icing sugar with 4-5 tbpsn water. Mix well and then coat the lebkuchen with sugar to give them a sugary, glossy coating.