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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Meine Mutti's Lebkuchen Recipe

      If you are like most people, this recipe probably won't appeal to you.  My husband has a problem with most textures and tastes and doesn't care for it.  Does that keep me from making it? Absolutely NOT! While making it this year, I realized that it's one of the things that signifies it's Christmas time for me. This German Gingerbread isn't like the American stuff you make houses out of or little men and women characters.  (Honestly, I don't think Ty likes that either.) To me, its better.  You can decide for yourselves.  Last year, at the Relief Society Christmas dinner we were asked to bring our favorite Christmas treat.  I had a little bit of a battle with this because obviously my favorite is the Lebkuchen, but not many care for it as well.  So, I really made myself work and made Lebkuchen and some Peppermint cupcakes I'd been wanting to try anyway and brought both.  At least two people asked me for the Lebkuchen recipe and I can't tell you how excited and happy that made me.  I forgot to give that to them and so this is my way of making up for it.

      This is my mom's recipe that she cultivated after moving to the states and craving this yummy treat that made her think of home.  A few years ago, I was determined to learn how to make it because it's something I hope to pass on to my children.  I'll share the recipe, but also include a few tips that I learned. I wish I had some step by step pictures, but my kitchen is a disaster right now from all the treats I've been making.  Seriously, I don't want to go back in there.  It's too daunting.  So I'm going to procrastinate that job by sharing this recipe with you.  Win/Win.  Except the kitchen.  It definitely does NOT win.

Ursula Justesen's Lebkuchen Recipe

-1 tsp. baking soda
-1/3 cup hot honey*
-3 beaten eggs
-2 cups brown sugar
-3/4 fine chopped citron**
-3 cups flour
-1 tsp. salt
-1 1/2 tsp. cloves (ground)
-2 tsp. cinnamon
-1 tsp. ginger
-1 Tbsp. orange extract
-1 Tbsp. anise extract
-1 Tbsp. cocoa

*30 seconds in the microwave should do.  That's how long I did mine and I needed hot pads to get it out.

**This should really read fine chopped diced orange peel.  Diced orange peel is nearly impossible to find in a grocery store.  I've only found it one time at the Food Pavilion in Moses Lake and now that store is gone.  I finally did some Amazon searching and found some.  This is the brand I use.  To finely chop it, I would recommend a small food processor.  I bought a cheap one last year on Black Friday.  About half of a 8 ounce carton will be enough for one batch.

Beat baking soda and honey until foamy.  Cool mixture and add eggs, sugar, citron, flour, salt, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, orange extract, anise extract, and cocoa.  Spread on a greased and floured cookie sheet.***  Bake at 350°for 12-15 minutes.  Brush with melted chocolate**** or a mixture of 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 can evaporated milk, 1 tsp. lemon extract.  Cool and cut into bars.

 ***When you are spreading out the dough, you will want to have pretty wet hands.  You will also have to continue to rewet them a few times.  When it starts sticking to your hands that's the sign your hands are too dry.  Just wash off the dough and shake hands a couple of times (you don't want them too wet) and continue. Also, DO NOT taste the dough. You will be tempted, but trust me. Anise is very strong and you will get a big taste of black licorice flavor in your mouth. Maybe that tickles your fancy, but not me. It will bake down in the oven so it's not nearly as strong, so don't worry about that. 

****We are chocolate people, so that's what we always did.  I don't remember trying it with the powered sugar mixture, but if you do please tell me how it is (though I have no doubt it will be yummy).

      If you make this, please comment and tell me how you liked it.  Or if there are any questions, let me know.  It's pretty simple and hopefully my tips will save you from learning anything the hard way.  Enjoy all!

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