The way the Germans do it
Lebkuchen is German gingerbread which is traditionally made in heart shapes and I always make these for Christmas because:
- I love them
- The chocolate makes them an indulgent treat that I save for special occasions
- They keep well so you can make them in advance (and keep them going strong in those lazy, post-Yule days)
|START||:||3 hours before|
|PREPARATION TIME||:||10 + 40 + 10 minutes|
120g butter 1 tsp ground cloves
400g (4/3 cup) golden syrup 1 tsp cocoa
3½ cups (520g) plain flour 2 tbs milk
2 tsp bicarb zest of 1 orange, 1 lemon and 1 lime
1 tsp ground ginger approx 4 tbs raspberry jam
1 tsp ground cardamom 185g dark chocolate
1 tsp ground cinnamon 2 tsp vegetable oil
Melt butter and golden syrup together then cool for 10 minutes
Zest orange and lemon. Sift dry ingredients together and stir into syrup mixture with milk and zest. Cover and stand for 1½ hours.
Set oven to 180˚C. Grease several biscuit trays.
Knead dough on lightly floured surface until it loses its stickiness. Roll dough until 8mm thick. Cut into heart shapes and place on trays, 3 cm apart. Make small round indentations in middle of biscuits (with the rounded end of a wooden spoon handle) and half fill with jam.
Bake biscuits for until 10 minutes until lightly browned. Cool.
Melt chocolate with oil, spread onto bottoms of biscuits and leave until set.
We went to Baw Baw in a convoy of three cars – you’d think we could fit six people into two cars but there were skis and jackets and a hell of a lot of food. (At once stage, it was looking like I’d have to choose between the lemon biscuits and my mittens but I’m glad to say we fitted everything in.)
 With cardamom in it which makes it different to English gingerbread.
 Although I have heard my nephew-in-law Chris claim that the sixth food group is chocolate biscuits, and that you can’t have a balanced diet without them.
 My nephew Ben often visits me around the 27th of December and he has fun with my son Jeremy and then we all have a good chat over afternoon tea but I don’t think his motive is purely social because, when he rings up to check if we’re home, he always asks if we have any lebkuchen left first.