In the Cookie Jar

In the Cookie Jar: White Lebkuchen

2007:  This is another recipe I’d originally posted several years ago.  I’m updating it now with pictures and a few comments.  Also, just as an fyi, when I made the batch in the photos, I had tripled what’s written below.  Anyway, here we go…

I believe the "white" simply refers to the glaze that tops these cookies…this recipe is copied directly from Elsa’s black ringbinder, in her handwriting, with her notes, etc. I’ll add my own notes at the end….

1 C almonds, ground

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1/2 C orange peel (candied) 1/2 C citron peel (candied),

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cut into small piecesImg_4828

1/4 C cinnamon (scant)
2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 1/4 C flour

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…sifted together…

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4 eggs

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and 1/2 C sugar.

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Stir sugar & eggs until foamy (1 hour by hand, 15 min by mixer)

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Sift flour, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon into sugar mixture, add orange, citron and almonds, alternating using flour last.

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Work on board to finish mixing

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Let rest 1/2 hr. (or, if you’re not going to do anything with it right away, wrap tightly and refrigerate.  Just remember to allow it to warm up before you try to work with it.)

Now, this year I had some problems with a couple batches of dough.  I think it’s because I tripled the recipes and didn’t spend enough time at the end making sure everything was combined well.  And I didn’t pay attention to the texture of the dough in the process.  These two batches turned out on the dry side, as you can see from the picture above. 

It happens, so what do you do?  Well, what I did was to add small amounts of water to the dough, and work it (knead it) on the board until it was the right consistency.  It took some extra time, but saved me the frustration of trying to work with crumbly dough.

Anyway,  once the dough is workable, roll it out to the thickness you want – the thinner the dough, the crisper the cookie.  I make mine on the thicker side – about a quarter of an inch thick – because I like the chewy texture and because that’s how Bill’s mom made them.

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(and see how mottled that dough looks?  That was the first batch I rolled out – without adding any water to it.  It was crumbly and difficult, and I was stubborn.  They came out tasting fine, but really, they don’t make for a good presentation, do they?)

Anyway, cut out all your circles (or whatever shape you want – again, I am doing what Bill’s mom did…just because.) – or let a child help do it…

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and lay them out on a cookie sheet and bake 300 degrees for about 15 minutes

Cool – glaze.

I actually made them them one night and then packed them away and glazed them a few nights later.  Which is fine.

Glaze

1 3/4 C – 2C confectioners’ sugar
4 T HOT water

Stir 10 minutes or until shiny

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Bill’s mom used to spoon some glaze onto the top of each cookie and sort of frost the cookie with the back of the spoon.  I’ve done that for the past several years, but this year I decided to try something different.

I dipped the top surface of the cookie in the glaze,

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(of course, I’m doing this left-handed and holding the camera with my right…I’m right handed, so normally I would do the cookie-dipping with my right hand, and THAT experienced hand wouldn’t look quite so stiff and awkward and shy about the camera.  So please bear with my left hand.  It’s probably nervous.)

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And then tilt the cookie up and let some of the excess icing drip off.  Then place on a rack to let the icing dry and harden.

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Like so.  I let mine sit out overnight. 

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And there you are.  When I packed them away again, I did a layer of cookies, then a piece of parchment paper, then another layer of cookies, and so on until the box was full.  It’s not necessary, but I do it just to keep the cookies from sticking together.

Enjoy!

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Misc. notes….

Make one batch at a time – dough dries out quickly  (no kidding!  Or divide the dough and put some in the fridge, well-wrapped so it doesn’t dry out.)

4 oz container of citron & orange peel = 1/2 C

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To glaze them, I just spooned some of the glaze onto each cookie and swirled it around a bit with the back of the spoon. The glaze never covered the cookie completely, when my mother-in-law made them, so that is the look I go for, too.

Elsa always cut these out in circles, and she used a specific juice glass, which she kept (and I have) in the cardboard box that she kept the important cookie-making supplies. The rim of the juice glass is about 2" in diameter.

Think about that bit of direction – "one hour by hand" – yes, that’s what she did before she had a mixer to do it for her.

By "work on board" she meant knead the dough a bit. Not too much – you don’t want the cookies to become tough. But you’ll need to put a bit of muscle into it. The dough is pretty stiff.

Yes – that’s a quarter of a cup of cinnamon in the recipe.

Let me know if you have any questions! And no – I don’t remember how many this recipe makes…

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