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Classic German Lebkuchen

The team at Waterford Bee Company spent a LOT of time this December at German style Christmas Markets and we walked away with a hnakering for Lebkuchen cookies, made with honey of course!

Lebkuchen goes all the way back to 14th century Germany where they were created by Catholic monks.  Prepared in monastery bakeries, Lebkuchen included honey, a variety of spices and nuts.  These ingredients not only had symbolic religious meaning but were highly prized for their healing properties.  Those clever monks not only created an exceptionally delicious sweet treat, they found an additional use for their communion wafers:  They increased the diameter size and used them as the base for the sticky gingerbread dough – a perfect solution.

A quintessential sweet treat throughout all of Germany during the Christmas season, Lebkuchen is one of the most popular and beloved of all German holiday confections.  There are a variety of German Lebkuchen, each distinguished by slight alterations in ingredients and most especially the amount of nuts used. But the most highly prized of all are the Nürnberger Elisenlebkuchen.



  • Mix honey and molasses and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool completely.

  • Stir in brown sugar, egg, lemon juice and lemon rind.

  • Sift together flour, baking soda and spices, then stir into the honey-molasses mix.

  • Mix in the citron and chopped nuts, place the dough in the refrigerator and chill overnight.

  • Roll out a small amount of dough at a time to 1/4 inch thick, keeping the rest in the fridge. You can either cut out oblong shapes about 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" or just cut out circle shapes about 2" in diameter.

  • Place on a GREASED baking sheet about 1" apart.

  • Place 3 almonds on top of each cookie in a flower shape, and place in a 400 deg oven for 10-12 min or until no imprint remains when touched lightly.

  • While cookies bake, make glaze by boiling the water and sugar to 230 degrees - until it just barely begins to thread.

  • Remove from heat and stir in confectioners sugar.

  • Brush the hot glaze lightly over the cookies (if it gets grainy reheat slightly with a little water to thin again).

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