Admittedly, I’m not fond of cooking. Which is probably why my kids are so good at it: they had to learn to survive. However, come around Christmas it is here where you will most often find me. At least here, I am the queen of cookies. Every year I make about 20 different varieties, usually double and sometimes triple a favorite recipe. I’ve started a little late this year, but am still in time to fulfill my yearly quota. So I thought it might be fun to share with you some of these favorites. Join me each day as I post one or two recipes, with tips as I bake our favorite cookies.
I’ll start today with my all-time favorite, which is also the first one I bake as it needs a couple of weeks to “cure”. When I was growing up, my closest friend was German. Part of my childhood memories of Christmas are of being invited to tea at her house for St. Nicholaus (Dec. 6), to savour her mother’s baking. To this day the smell of Lebkuchen baking transports me back to that house and the “Gemanness” of it. Small wonder Lebkuchen is my favorite cookie. And here is my recipe:
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup honey
½ cup dark molasses
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons nutmeg
1¼ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon allspice
½ cup chopped almonds
½ cup mixed candied fruit and
peels, finely chopped
Beat egg; add brown sugar; beat till fluffy. Stir in honey and molasses. Sift together dry ingredients; add to first mixture; mix well. Stir in nuts, fruits and peels. Chill dough several hours. This is what the unbaked dough should look like, after being chilled:
On floured surface, roll ¼ inch thick; cut out shapes (traditional hearts and stars). Bake on greased cookie sheet in moderate oven (350°) about 12 minutes. Cool slightly; remove and cool on rack.
While cookies are still warm, brush with Lemon Glaze: Combine 1 slightly beaten egg white, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon grated lemon peel, dash salt, and 1 ½ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar. Makes 3 dozen.
These cookies will initially be rather hard. Store in a sealed container with a cut orange. Make sure the orange does not touch the cookies; otherwise they will get soggy. With time, the cookies will absorbe the aroma of the orange and soften. These should definitely be enjoyed with a hot cup of black coffee!