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Authentic German Lebkucken Recipe

My childhood featured so many German traditions, but only recently did I come across this recipe for authentic Nurenberger Elisenlebkuchen (German Lebkucken).

A delicious soft gingerbread biscuit with spices, nuts and honey, Lebkuchen were first created by Catholic monks in the 14th Century.   

The key to the traditional flavour is the homemade Lebkuckengewurz - German Gingerbread Spice Mix. 

The flavours are also enhanced with Homemade Candied Peel, which is super easy and worth the extra effort.

The recipe calls for Backoblaten wafers, but I haven't got around to sourcing these yet, and they seem to work well enough without.

These treats are great made weeks in advance, the flavours keep getting better with age. They hold their shape, so are perfect for packaging up into homemade gifts.

And the aroma when they're baking....deliciously festive.

With grateful acknowledgement to Daring Gourmet  who has a great blog post with detailed,step-by-step, pictured instructions. But here's the basics, with my slight tweaks.


5 large eggs

1 & 1/4 cups brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence

2 cups almond meal

2 cups hazelnut meal

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 teaspoons Lebkuchengewurtz (spice mix recipe below)

225g candied peel (homemade candied peel recipe below)

blanched almonds

Chocolate Glaze: 

85 grams quality dark chocolate

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Sugar Glaze:

1 cup sifted icing sugar

3 tablespoons water



Preheat oven to 150 degrees celsius.

Toss candied peel with 1/4 cup plain flour and pulse in food processor until finely minced.

In large bowl beat eggs until foamy. Add sugar, honey and vanilla, beat to combine.

Add ground almonds and hazelnuts, salt, baking powder, lebkuchengewurtz spice mix, candied peel and stir vigorously to combine. The mixture will be wet but if it is too thin to hold its shape, add more almond meal.

Form mixture into desired size biscuits on a lined baking tray. I find they hold the shape formed into, with no spreading.

Bake 25-28 minutes. Allow to cool.

Once cool, place on wire rack over a baking tray (to catch the drips).

Dip half the biscuits in chocolate glaze and half in sugar glaze, allowing to cover top of biscuit to the edges and drip onto tray.

As you go, arrange flaked or sliced almonds on top of each biscuit while glaze is still wet.

Allow to dry completely. Store in airtight container, these biscuits will keep for several weeks and the flavours improves with time.


Homemade Candied Peel

Easy to make, no additives and tastes so much better than store bought peel.

3 oranges 

4 lemons

2 cups water

1 cup sugar

castor sugar to coat

Slice ends off fruit and cut into four segment to peel off each segment of rind.

Slice peel into 1/2cm wide strips. 

Boil peels in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes.

Drain in colander, rinse and drain again.

Add 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to pot and bring to boil for a couple of minutes until sugar is dissolved. Add the citrus peel, reduce heat, simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until peel is translucent.

Use slotted spoon to remove, letting excess syrup drip off.

Place wet peel in bowl of sugar and toss to coat.

Spread on wire rack to dry completely over 1-2 days.

Store in airtight container in the fridge for months.


German Gingerbread Spice Mix - Homemade Lebkuchengewurz

The essential ingredient for authentic tasting lebkuchen and pfeffernusee.

1 & 1/4 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground green cardamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground star anise

1/8 teaspoon ground mace

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine spices. I use whole cloves, star anise and coriander and freshly grated nutmeg and grind together with a pestle and mortar.

Store in airtight jar for up to one year, although freshly ground will give best results.

Authentic German Lebkucken