Original German Gingerbread Recipe – Lebkuchen
This Original German Gingerbread Recipe makes about 12 hearts of 8 cm – 3.14 in (measured in the center) and 6 ovals 17 cm x 11 cm — 6.69 in x 4.33 in. The dough could be used as well for gingerbread houses or gingerbread cookies. I have also included instructions on how to make icing sugar flowers and how to beautifully wrap the gingerbreads to use them as a gift. Gingerbread is called Lebkuchen in Germany.
Ingredients for Original German Gingerbread Recipe:
- 700 g (1.54 lb) of unbleached all purpose flour
- 250g (8.81 oz) of honey
- 200 g (7.05 oz) of sugar
- 100 g (3.52 oz) of margarine
- 2 eggs size XL
- 50 g (1.76 oz) of Zitronat OR candied lemon peel
- 50 g (1.76 oz) of Orangeat OR candied orange peel
- 1 ½ tablespoons of cocoa
- ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
- 1 ½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of ground cardamom
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon of Hirschhornsalz OR baking soda dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water
Ingredients for decoration:
- eatable sugar flowers find them here OR homemade sugar flowers see instruction below.
- almond halves
- paper scraps – die cuts vintage find them here
- paper doilies
Preparation of dough for Original German Gingerbread Recipe:
Mix lemon peel and orange peel, chop in a food chopper and put aside. Place a saucepan on the stove and melt margarine with honey and sugar until the ingredients are dissolved. Transfer the honey mixture immediately into a bowl and let it cool down. Add dissolved baking soda (dissolve in 2 tablespoons of water), salt, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom and mix with your electric handheld mixer. Add one egg at a time and mix. In a different container mix flour with cacao. Add the flour mix to the honey and knead with the electric handheld mixer using the kneading hooks. Add the chopped lemon and orange peel and knead the dough, until it is smooth. Cover your gingerbread dough and let it rest for 2-8 days in the refrigerator.
Sprinkle some flour on your working surface. Place the dough on top of it and roll the dough out until it is about 0.5 cm – 0.2 in thick using a rolling pin. Keep the dough covered with cellophane wrap while rolling it out. Remove the cellophane wrap and cut shapes using cookie cutters. Place the hearts and oval shapes on a baking sheet covered with baking paper.
Preheat the oven to about 170°C – 338°F. Bake the hearts and the ovals for about 15-18 minutes on the middle rack. Take them out and let them cool down on a cooling rack. Make two holes in heart shaped cookies before they cool down so you can pull a ribbon or twine through (optional).
Homemade sugar flowers and icing:
- 1 egg white size XL OR 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons of water
- 200g – 250g (7.05oz – 8.81oz) of powdered sugar
- sugar pearls gold and silver or your favorite color
- decoration bag 12in
- decoration tip star with connector
- baking paper
Preparation of sugar flowers:
Beat the egg white with your electric handheld mixer until stiff. Add powdered sugar to it, one spoonful at a time, until it has reached a consistency to keep the shape of a star. If it is too liquid, add more powdered sugar. If it is too dry, carefully add some drops of cold water. Fill your decorating bag with the icing and start making your stars in rows on the baking paper. Place the sugar pearls in the center of each star. Place the stars on a sheet of baking paper and let them dry for about two days.
Preparation of icing:
Beat about 200 g – 250 g (7.05 oz – 8.81 oz) of powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons of water. If it is too liquid, add more powdered sugar. If it is too dry, carefully add some drops of cold water.
Ideas for decorating the hearts:
Start to decorate in the center of the heart. Attach a paper scrap or picture you like to the heart with icing. Add a few of the sugar flowers and some almond halves. Draw some lines with the icing or write a name or Christmas wish. Pull a ribbon or twine cord through the holes. Let the icing dry completely before wrapping.
Ideas for decorating the ovals:
Spread icing on the back of the gingerbread oval to attach the oval to the paper doily. To decorate the top, start in the center of the oval. Use icing to attach a paper scrap or picture you like on the top. Add a few of the sugar flowers and some almond halves. Draw some lines with the icing or write a name or Christmas wish. Let the icing dry completely before wrapping the gingerbread.
Ideas on how to wrap the gingerbread hearts:
Use some cellophane wrap. Place the heart in the middle and gather the cellophane on top of the heart. Close it with some silver or golden twine cord or ribbon.
Ideas how to wrap the gingerbread ovals:
You will need Christmas boxes 11 in x 8 in, cellophane wrap, tissue paper, glue, elastic cord, stickers, scissors, and a craft knife. Cut out a rectangle along the lines of the folded edges of the top of the box using a craft knife. Cut and glue cellophane wrap on the inside to cover the rectangle you cut. Line the bottom of the box with tissue paper. Place the oval gingerbread in the box and close it.
Use the elastic cord, to bind it over the corners in a diagonal and make a bow. Place a sticker on the front side with for a name or Christmas wishes.
When my children went to school, I used to make these for their classmates. Each gingerbread heart had the name of a child written on it. The children proudly hung their hearts around their necks before they left school on the last day before Christmas. For the teachers, I used to make boxes filled with an assortment of homemade cookies to show them how much I appreciated the work they did with our children. I can assure you; it became a tradition, and each year children and teachers were looking forward to the Original German Gingerbreads and Christmas cookies. Find more of Oma’s traditional German Christmas cookies recipes here.