Chocolate-dipped Lebkuchen

by Laura on November 16, 2010

My Honey Girl is a sculptor, and when she was younger she made busts of culinary heroes for me.  An animated, joyful Julia Child sits on my crowded cookbook cases across from a serene looking Marion Cunningham.  If she ever offers to make another, Duluth, Minnesota native Beatrice Ojakangas will be next on the shelf.  She started, like me,—ah hope!—as a home cook, and her Chunk O Cheese Bread won the 1957 Pillsbury Bake-Off contest.  She is one of those cooks and bakers whose recipes are flawless, and everything about her books seems Midwestern to me.  They aren’t about glossy layout, design, or photography.  They are modest, simple books full of excellent recipes and useful illustrations.  I have never baked a recipe from one of Beatrice’s books that didn’t turn out perfectly.  Beatrice specializes in Scandinavian baking and cooking, and she brought Finnish culinary traditions and recipes to the fore.  All of her books are excellent, but I am especially fond of The Great Scandinavian Baking Book.

I have made Lebkuchen for years, but this recipe replaced my old versions a few years ago and I won’t be searching anymore.  Here is Beatrice’s recipe from The Great Holiday Baking Book, with a few of my tips, too.  Lebkuchen are a honeyed and richly spiced cookie, chewy, and cake-like.  They are baked on Oblaten wafers and glazed with a confectioners’ sugar icing or dunked in chocolate.  They are traditional in Germany where, if you’re lucky enough to be traveling during the Advent season, you may wander the Marktplatz in any village, small or large, nibbling a Lebkuchen while you browse the Christmas stalls.

German Christmas music for baking Lebkuchen:
I bought a CD of carols and hymns sung by German choirs at Kathe Woflfahrt, the famed German Christmas shop, some years ago, in their Tokyo location of all places.  I can’t seem to find it online, but the shop now offers this collection of carols, Alpenlanische Weihnacht, or Christmas in the Mountains.

    **Resources for hard-to-find ingredients here.

    **Storage tips here.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kris Jacobson November 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I’m really enjoying your photographs!

2 Laura November 22, 2010 at 8:38 pm

You’re so sweet, Kris. Thank you!

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