I’m very excited to announce that I will be running my very first ‘Afternoon Tease’ stall at Mill Road Winter Fair on Saturday 3rd December! I’ve been busy planning, writing lists upon lists, making signs and losing sleep over what to bake…or more importantly what the good people of Cambridge will want to buy! I’m definitely going to be including some of my old faithfuls that I’ve perfected and that never seem to disappoint but I thought I’d throw something a little festive into the mix as well…and nothing says Christmas better than sweet, lightly spicy, gorgeously glazed, chewy centred lebkuchen…
They’re also surprisingly easy to make. You need…
250g plain flour
85g ground almonds
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
A pinch each of ground cloves, freshly grated nutmeg and ground black pepper
200ml clear honey
Zest of 1 lemon
All you have to do is put all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Then gently heat the butter and honey in a saucepan until the butter melts. Pour the sticky mixture into the dry ingredients along with the lemon zest and mix it up until it combines into a smooth dough. Don’t worry if it still looks a bit sticky, just cover it and leave it to one side to cool. One word of warning…do not underestimate just how much 200ml of honey is, I wrongly assumed that I had plenty in my cupboard and had to make a last minute dash to the shop mid-bake!
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Now it’s time to get your hands dirty. Roll the dough into approx 30 smooth balls (to give you an idea, they should be about 3cm wide), then put them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. You’ll need a couple of trays as your lebkuchen need room to spread out…
The recipe said to flatten them into a disc but in the time that it took me to roll the rest of the mixture into balls the first ones had settled themselves into the perfect dome shape!
Bake them for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. I don’t own one yet (it’s on my Christmas list) so I had to make do with leaving them on their tray.
To ice the biscuits you need…
100g icing sugar, sifted
1 egg white, beaten
Mix the icing sugar with the egg white and 1-2 tbsp water to form a smooth, runny icing. Dip the top of each of your biscuits into the icing to give it a gorgeous glaze and then leave to dry in a warm place.
Once set they’ll keep for up to a week in an airtight container.
I love lebkuchen, mostly for the fact that they’re delicately spiced and not as pungent as gingerbread. I especially loved the inclusion of black pepper in this recipe. Having said that, I think I might try adding a teaspoon more of ground ginger next time and I maybe need to make some slight tweaks to the icing, as mine wasn’t in a hurry to set!
I can, however, confirm that they actually benefited from being left overnight, the icing (eventually) set beautifully and the texture improved. In the season of excess, I think these simple biscuits are a perfect sweet treat and who wouldn’t be happy to receive a gorgeous little jar of lightly spiced Lebkuchen?
If you’re Cambridge based or are around and about on 3rd December…pop over and say hi and try one for yourself!