Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Cookies #1: German Soft Gingerbread (Lebkuchen)

'Tis the season for prolific baking! I've been printing out Christmas cookie recipes off the internet for the past three months now, so I was so excited when I could officially start baking them the day after Thanksgiving. The first I went for was a German soft gingerbread like one I tried from Trader Joe's. Now, I'm not ordinarily a fan of gingerbread - but these looked yummy and calorie friendly (120 for a generous sized cookie) at the store, and after one bite I was a convert! Here's a recipe I adapted from
with the addition of a chocolate dip. You can never go wrong by adding chocolate...

For the Cookies:
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
1¼ teaspoons ground nutmeg
1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 egg
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup honey
½ cup molasses

1 3.5 oz bar 70% organic dark chocolate bar

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two baking sheets with olive oil spray.

2. Sift together the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Set aside.

3. Beat the egg and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.

4. Beat in the honey and molasses until thoroughly combined.

5. On low speed, stir in the flour mixture until just combined.

6. Turn the dough out from the bowl onto a well-floured surface. Knead the dough, adding more flour as kneaded, until a stiff dough is formed.

7. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.

8. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough into a 9×12-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into rectangles or use a cookie cutter. I did the latter, but the re-kneaded dough made up from the scraps of the first batch baked into a really tough, super hard, tooth breaking cookie.

9. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

10. Heat the chocolate bar over low heat (or a double boiler) until fully melted. Dip the completely cooled cookies on one side and rest the cookies on a sheet of wax or parchment paper, chocolate side up, until the chocolate hardens.

My batch yielded 44 cookies at around 100 calories per cookie.