The English Pear: Christmas Lebkuchen

‘’I don’t know what to do! I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to every-body! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!” -Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

leb-2.jpgLebkuchen are one of our favourite Christmas treats, but often one that people don’t know about. They perfectly combine warm Christmas spices with bitter dark chocolate. We’ve adapted a BBC Food recipe for you – we’ve simplified the spices to cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and included our favourite mix of sugar icing and chocolate. These make a great gift – try popping a few in a paper bag and tie with some ribbon or twine. Maybe even add the recipe onto a label so they can make them again themselves!

Serves: 14

Allow 2 hours (includes time to chill the dough and wait for glaze to set)

What you need:

For the lebkuchen:

  • 200g honey
  • 80g slightly salted butter
  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • Zest and juice of half an orange
  • Pinch of salt

For the sugar icing:

  • 100g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp boiling water

For the chocolate glaze:

  • 200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

How to make:

  1. Melt the butter and honey together in a pan over a low heat. Stir regularly.
  2. leb-3.jpgWhen the mixture is smooth, transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the honey-butter mixture to the dry ingredients and stir. Place in the fridge for an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ Gas mark 4. Line tray(s) with baking paper.
  5. Remove the dough from the fridge. Use damp hands to shape balls of dough. Flatten between your hands and place on the tray.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until firm. Cool completely.
  7. Make the sugar glaze first by mixing the icing sugar and boiling water. Dip one side of the lebkuchen into the glaze and leave to set with the icing facing up.
  8. Once the sugar glaze has set, make the chocolate glaze. Melt the dark chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. Then dip the uncoated side of the lebkuchen into the chocolate and leave to set.
  9. Package these up and give to friends,or serve at a Christmas party!

– Caitlin Britt & Naomi Osborne

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