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German Lebkuchen

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

A gluten free citrus infused spiced marzipan nut gingerbread cookie with a citrus glaze

It might be January but I am still in holiday cookie mode. Technically my kids are still on winter break so it is totally acceptable to be baking cookies, right?

I love gingerbread but here in Germany it is really difficult to find molasses. It is just not an ingredient that is used like in America. Germans actually use an already blended spice (think how in America we buy pumpkin spice) called Lebkuchen Gewürz. It comes in these little packets and that is all you need to get that amazing gingerbread flavor.

Using only German ingredients, hopefully this will help all my American readers living in Germany to be able to make their own Lebkuchen at home. For my American readers living in America let me know which of these ingredients you can get or create on your own.

I will admit there is a mistake in this photo. I did not use the Bitter-Mandel Aroma. I was thinking of making a different cookie recipe earlier that called for this and I completely blanked when I was getting out all my ingredients for this photo to make my Lebkuchen.

I want to talk about the ingredients for a moment. Some are pretty easy to understand with a direct translation. Puder Zucker is powdered sugar, Zimt is cinnamon, however there are a few that need some explanation for people that have not spent a long time baking in Germany.

1. Orangeat and Citronat: often spelled Zitronat are both candied, one being a candied orange and the other being a candied lemon/lime. They come in small pieces/cubes and are also often used for a traditional Christmas fruit cake.

2. Marzipan: is an almond paste and sugar or honey that is absolutely delicious. Not overly sweet and adds a smooth, chewy nutty texture to desserts. What I love about marzipan in this form is that you can eat it right away. 'Rohmasse' means (raw in its base form) you can eat it directly or use it for baking. You will also see Marzipan in German grocery stores that is next to fondant, used for covering cakes and decoration. Do NOT buy that one. You must use the kind that says Rohmasse on it.

3. Back-Oblaten are small wafers that come in several sizes. These gluten free ones were tricky to find but I did find an online German gluten free shop that delivered. Here is the link. The normal, non gluten-free kind are readily available at all German grocery stores.

If you have any questions about the ingredients used from the picture about please leave a comment and I will make sure to help you find what you are looking for.

The recipe that I used for these cookies was SO easy. It was a great midday, spontaneous baking day when I had already accomplished everything on my list and thought, my youngest is playing quietly in her room so my oldest daughter and I could get a little 'Mommy and Me' baking time. We turned on some classical music, put on our aprons and both quickly complained at how difficult it was to chop up the candied citrus elements because they were incredibly sticky! We laughed and fought through it and were ready to form our cookies within 5 minutes.

AND I forgot to mention the best part, this recipe uses just 1 bowl. It has been awhile since I have made such an easy recipe, but the comforting smell of gingerbread was calling me and I couldn't ignore it.

Can you see how soft and pliable the marzipan is? While cutting, it sticks together like cutting a soft brie, which is really annoying but try your best to really chop it up.

The Back-Oblaten are the wafers which will go under the cookie as a sort of base layer. They are paper thin.

Here is the recipe that I adapted and translated from a German recipe. This is my first ever recipe so if you have any issues please let me know.

After baking, resting, cooling and glazing you are ready to eat. These little morsels are chewy with a hint of crunch from the wafer paper. The gingerbread spice and citrus work perfectly together to create a warm filling bite that pairs beautifully will a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. But let's be real, will I post anything that doesn't pair well with coffee or wine???

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