Lebkuchen is a traditional German gingerbread. According to Wikipedia, Lebkuchen was invented by monks in Franconia in the 13th century. In the 14th century in Nuremberg and Ulm bakers already produced this type of pastry.
In the olden days Lebkuchen was used among other things to decorate the Christmas trees, before the glass decorations existed or at least before they were accessible to everyone.
Imagine the joy of little children to see the Christmas tree illuminated by the light of candles and richly decorate with biscuits, apples, nuts, chocolates and brought to shine all the more with Lametta, this pretty silver paper that beautifully animates the Christmas tree.
I rediscovered this old tradition thanks to one of my aunts in Salzburg last year. My husband, the boys and I were invited to a Christmas afternoon tea at her house. As is custom in my country the splendid Christmas tree of the house was presented to us. And what joy it was for us all to have been invited to choose a biscuit or chocolate from the tree.
Neither my parents nor I have ever done this. But this year, like every year, we celebrate St. Nicholas at home with lots of children for the birthdays of my two youngest sons. The surprise I have for children this year is that for this day only the tree will be entirely theirs! They will be able to taste all the biscuits and chocolates they want. After that I will redecorate my Christmas tree with my beautiful collection of glass decoration. But the day of St. Nicholas is for the children, so a tree that will make the childrens eyes shine is required!
A huge thank you to my aunt for reintroducing me to such a marvel!
So here is my most loved recipe for gingerbread houses that comes from my favourite Austrian patissier, Franz Schmeissl, only slightly changed to make it accessible to my means as an expat.
Here is one more recipe for edible Christmas tree decoration.
Recipe Lebkuchen as tree decoration or for making gingerbread houses
For about 50 pieces
- For the dough
- 300 g of liquid honey
- 50 g of sugar
- 200 g of wheat flour
- 120 g of rye flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 15 g of spice for Lebkuchen
- 3 g of baking powder
- 3 g of bicarbonate
- For the glaze
- 1 egg yolk for the biscuits to take a nice colour in the oven
- ROYAL ICING
Mix all the ingredients and let rest overnight. The next day work the dough again by adding a little flour if it is too sticky. Roll out the dough, cut with the desired cookie cutters and brush each biscuit with egg yolk before baking at 160 ° C for 12 – 15 minutes.
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