The whole house smells like Christmas - wood burning and spices.
The signature Christmas cookies are served - some hanging on the tree, some in a nicely decorated box. What I love the most about these cookies is not so much preparing them, not even baking them, although the heat helps all the aroma to gently fill every corner of the house. The strongest tease to all my senses is opening the cookie box. After few days of aging in the air tightly closed container, the cookies exude the most perfect aroma - the combination of the spices blooms the nicest smell. No need to have a bite even - so satisfying!
I kept the old tradition this year of making the old-fashioned Lebkuchen cookies. I am on a journey to make it a family tradition of baking these for every Christmas. While I was growing up in Bulgaria, they were simply called honey cookies. In North America a variation of these is popular under the name of gingerbread, or 'spicy bread' in France, but everywhere they are baked, they bring the sense of Christmas with their warm aromatic flavour. I stick to the German name, out of respect towards the origin of this recipe. And because this particular one is unique to this certain region of Europe.
Grab your favourite winter cookie cutter(s) and treat yourself and your family and friends with a recipe easy to perform, and so satisfying.
for the cookies:
490 g all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp powdered anise
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
225 g honey
160 g light brown sugar
134 g unsalted butter
1 large egg
1. Sift the flour in a bowl.
2. In another bowl, sift all the spices.
3. Heat the honey, sugar and butter in a heavy bottomed pan over a low heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Do not allow to boil.
4. Remove the butter from the heat and stir in the spices.
5. Beat in the flour, reserving a handful of it in the bowl. Let the dough cool a little bit.
6. Lightly beat the egg and add to the dough.
7. Knead the dough with hands, using the reserved flour.
8. Wrap the dough in clean foil and let it rest at room temperature overnight.
Follow the instructions for tailoring the Lebkuchen cookies.
Have wonderful Christmas day and warm tasty cookies with family and friends!