A couple years ago, we traveled to Germany to soak in the holiday spirit at their Christmas markets. Among the stalls of hot mulled wine, handmade crafts and assorted sausages were ornately decorated lebkuchen: delicious “honey cookies” that taste very similar to gingerbread.
Feeling a little nostalgic, we combined a few different recipes—and threw in some beer for good measure. We used Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout in our glaze but the recipe would work with any stronger sweet stout you have on hand. Oh, and you only need about 4 ounces of beer for so you still have a nice sized glass leftover to enjoy with your warm, fresh out of the oven cookies.
Lebkuchen with Sweet Stout Glaze
Ingredients (for the cookies):
- 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon rind
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground clove
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
Ingredients (for the glaze):
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
- 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
- In a small saucepan, bring the honey and molasses to a boil for about 30 seconds. Then remove from heat and let cool.
- In a large bowl stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and spices.
- In a smaller bowl mix together the egg, lemon juice and almond extract. Mix in the honey and molasses mixture when cool.
- Slowly stir the liquid contents of the smaller bowl into the flour and sugar, mixing constantly.
- Once ingredients are combined the dough should be a little crumbly. Cover with and refrigerate a couple hours, or overnight if you can.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and roll dough about 1/4 inch thick.
- Cut out your favorite shapes and bake for 8-10 minutes, until slightly golden, on a greased cookie sheet.
- While the cookies are baking, combine the table sugar and beer in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil for about a minute or so and remove from heat.
- Stir in the confectioners sugar until well combined and syrupy. If a thicker glaze is desired you can use an additional 1/4 cup.
- When the cookies come out of the oven, brush a coat or two of glaze on the still warm cookies.
- Let cool/dry and store in an airtight container.
Tips and Tweaks:
- Add a coat of flour to your rolling pin, hands and baking surface when working with the dough.
- Instead of using cookie cutters you can simply roll balls of dough between your hands and slightly flatten them. This makes for a chewier, softer cookie.
- If you like crunchy cookies, roll the dough thin. If not, leave it a bit thicker.
- The glaze is sticky, so if you want it to harden either leave the cookies out to dry longer or pop them back in the warm oven for a minute or two.
- While we were baking, Kevin had an idea to add about 1 tsp. rosemary to the glaze for some of the cookies. It was a subtle, delicious accent.