Thick and soft German gingerbread cookies hearken to Christmases of old. These pretty chocolate and nut topped cookies have a unique taste and history.
German gingerbread cookies are also known as Lebkuchen. These traditional German Christmas cookies are thick and soft gingerbread cookies with a unique spice blend that gives an old world flavor.
Topped with chocolate and nuts, these pretty cookies look unlike the modern and colorful confections we see around Christmas time now. One bonus of these cookies, like many old fashioned recipes, they actually taste better the longer they sit.
The origins of these German gingerbread cookies go all the way back to the 14th century where they were created by Catholic monks. At that time each of the ingredients had symbolic meanings and the cookies were highly prized. Also at that time the Lebkuchen cookies actually contained a communion wafer inside!
While there are many varieties of Lebkuchen, the one I am sharing with you today is very basic. These cookies are made with molasses, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cardamom, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg.
As you can tell this blend is a little different than your average gingerbread spice. It’s also easier to procure than authentic Lebkuchengewurz spice. Most likely you’ll be able to find all the spices at your local supermarket without having to venture to the specialty shop or Amazon.
I hope that you will enjoy these unique cookies and that they will become a family favorite for you!
- 14 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons molasses
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon coriander
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- One pinch salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 350° F and prepare 2 baking sheets by lining them with silicone baking mats or with parchment paper.
In a small pan, melt together the butter, molasses, and corn syrup. Heat just until the butter has melted.
Next, in a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, spices, baking powder, and salt.
Add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing well. Add eggs one at a time, stirring completely incorporated.
Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, drop by tablespoon onto cookie sheets. Make sure the cookie dough is mounded up, because they will spread a little. Bake 17 - 19 minutes.
Remove to wire rack and let cool.
In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and shortening. Heat on 50% power until the chocolate is completely melted. Mix until smooth.
Dip the top of each cookie into the chocolate and decorate with slivered almonds.
Allow the cookies to dry completely.
Store the cookies in a cool place in an airtight container with waxed paper between the layers.