Lebkuchen Cookie Christmas Trees

by | Nov 18, 2017

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Make these Christmas Lebkuchen cookie trees, topped with chocolate, for gifts. Tastes like gingerbread.

Baking Lebkuchen cookies for Christmas was next on my baking list ever since I saw them at the Christmas Markets in Strasbourg, France.

Packaged Lebkuchen Cookies from Strasbourg

Lebkuchen are Christmas Cookies that originated in Germany. They are pretty close to gingerbread, being flavoured with spices, but are softer and puffier.

Lebkuchen are often cut into small shapes and have dark chocolate on the base and a thin crispy sugar shell on the outside. But Lebkuchen can also rolled and cut into large hearts and decorated with royal icing.

If you visit Christmas markets around Europe there’s typically an entire stall dedicated to gingerbread and Lebkuchen.

 

When I was fortunate enough to live in the UK for a few years I made sure I visited as many European Christmas Markets as I could. Especially being an Australian who never experienced a traditional white Christmas before.

Strasbourg Christmas Decorations

I loved visiting the Strasbourg Christmas Markets on the border between France and Germany. Strasbourg is in the Alsace region, an area that has been won and lost countless times in history between France and Germany. Hence, Strasbourg is heavily influenced by both cultures.

Petit France Buildings Strasbourg

The street and buildings of Strasbourg are like real-life gingerbread houses. It’s your quintessential fairytale Christmas village.

Strasbourg Christmas Tree

You are just as likely to find typically German fare like fresh-baked pretzels and kugelhopf, as you are to eat French baked goods like brioche and pain d’epice (Spiced bread).

Fresh Pretzels at Strasbourg Christmas Markets

Of course I tried most of the Christmas baked goods around the Strasbourg Christmas Market.

Patisserie window in Strasbourg

I made sure I brought back a few bags of Lebkuchen for friends to try. A few years later, I wanted to try making my own Lebkuchen cookies for Christmas.

Spiced Bread in a Strasbourg Bakery

For my own spin I cut my Lebkuchen into Christmas trees, which I coated with chocolate on top rather than underneath. I added festive-coloured sprinkles as the Christmas tree baubles.

Kugelhopf in a Strasbourg bakery window

This Lebkuchen cookie recipe is spiced with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. It’s very similar to gingerbread, except a little softer. The only thing I couldn’t achieve was the puffy texture of the real authentic Lebkuchen cookies I tried in Strasbourg. Possibly I rolled the dough way too thin, so maybe try thicker cookies if you want them softer. They still taste wonderful and make great gifts for Christmas.

Decorated Lebkuchen

HOW TO MAKE LEBKUCHEN COOKIE CHRISTMAS TREES


Click to watch how to make Lebkuchen Cookie Christmas Trees

LEBKUCHEN CHRISTMAS TREES

Makes: about 24 trees        Difficulty: Easy

EQUIPMENT:

Large baking tray
Christmas Tree shaped cookie cutter, 8 x 5 cm
Rolling Pin

INGREDIENTS:

60g Unsalted Butter
240g Golden Syrup
230g Plain Flour, and 50 to 75g extra
1 teaspoon Bicarbonate Soda
1 teaspoon ground Ginger
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground Cardamom
½ teaspoon ground Cloves
½ teaspoon Cocoa Powder
1 tablespoon Milk
125g Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
Red and Green Sprinkles

METHOD:

Add the butter and golden syrup to a small saucepan. Melt together on low heat. Increase heat to medium and boil together until the colour changes to a slightly deeper golden brown. Let the mixture cool.

Add the boiled butter and golden syrup to a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, bicarbonate soda, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cocoa powder, and milk. Stir together with a wooden spoon.

The dough looks quite wet at this stage but it will firm up. Cover the bowl with plastic film and leave it to prove for 1 ½ hours.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 fan-forced; 350F). Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Remove the plastic film from the dough and knead it lightly. Add more flour to the dough until it’s no longer sticky (about 50 grams).

Dust the surface of the workbench with flour. Roll the dough roughly 1cm thick. Press the cookie cutter into the dough and place each shape on the baking tray. Leave at least 2cm between each cookie.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies are done when they are deep golden brown underneath. Let them cool on a wire rack.

Melt the dark chocolate slowly in 30 seconds bursts in the microwave. Stir very well between each one. When the cookies are completely cool frost the tops with melted chocolate and sprinkle with red and green sprinkles.

BAKING TIPS:

  • Flour your workbench often between rolling the dough, as it’s prone to sticking. You don’t want to add too much extra flour into the dough itself or the cookies will become too hard and floury.

Lebkuchen Christmas Trees
Lebkuchen Christmas Trees
Make these Christmas Lebkuchen cookie trees, topped with chocolate, for gifts. Tastes like gingerbread.
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Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
24cookies 60mins 10mins 3hrs
Servings Prep Time
24cookies 60mins
Cook Time Passive Time
10mins 3hrs
Ingredients
  • 60 g Unsalted Butter
  • 240 g Golden Syrup
  • 230 g Plain Flour (and 50-75g extra)
  • 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate Soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground Ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Milk
  • 125 g Dark Chocolate finely chopped
  • Red and green sprinkles
Servings: cookies
Units:
Ingredients
  • 60 g Unsalted Butter
  • 240 g Golden Syrup
  • 230 g Plain Flour (and 50-75g extra)
  • 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate Soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground Ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Milk
  • 125 g Dark Chocolate finely chopped
  • Red and green sprinkles
Servings: cookies
Units:
Instructions
  1. Add the butter and golden syrup to a small saucepan. Melt together on low heat. Increase heat to medium and boil together until the colour changes to a slightly deeper golden brown. Let the mixture cool.
  2. Add the boiled butter and golden syrup to a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, bicarbonate soda, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cocoa powder, and milk. Stir together with a wooden spoon.
  3. The dough looks quite wet at this stage but it will firm up. Cover the bowl with plastic film and leave it to prove for 1 ½ hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 fan-forced; 350F). Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  5. Remove the plastic film from the dough and knead it lightly. Add more flour to the dough until it’s no longer sticky (about 50 grams).
  6. Dust the surface of the work bench with flour. Roll the dough roughly 1cm thick. Press the cookie cutter into the dough and place each shape on the baking tray. Leave at least 2cm between each cookie.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies are done when they are deep golden brown underneath. Let them cool on a wire rack.
  8. Melt the dark chocolate slowly in 30 seconds bursts in the microwave. Stir very well between each one. When the cookies are completely cool frost the tops with melted chocolate and sprinkle with red and green sprinkles.
Recipe Notes
  • Flour your workbench often between rolling the dough, as it’s prone to sticking. You don’t want to add too much extra flour into the dough itself or the cookies will become too hard and floury.
Nutrition Facts
Lebkuchen Christmas Trees
Amount Per Serving
Calories 136 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 8%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.04g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.02g
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 107mg 4%
Potassium 15mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 22g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 13g
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 1%
Vitamin C 0.04%
Calcium 1%
Iron 6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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