German Fruit and Spice Cookies (Lebkuchen)

  • Serves

    makes 15 3" cookies


This rendition of the deeply-spiced German Christmas cookie gets its soft, chewy texture from the addition of honey. Any leftover dough scraps can be re-rolled and cut into additional cookies; remaining candied citrus can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month. Read more at Lebkuchen: My Adopted German Tradition.


For the Candied and Dried Fruit

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 2 tbsp. chopped dried apricot
  • 2 tbsp. chopped dried cherries
  • 1 tbsp. chopped dried cranberries

For the Cookie Dough

  • 2 34 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 14 cups hazelnut flour
  • 34 cup almond flour
  • 3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 12 tsp. ground allspice
  • 12 tsp. ground cloves
  • 14 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 34 tsp. salt
  • 12 tsp. baking powder
  • 14 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup mild honey
  • 14 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 14 cup confectioners' sugar


Step 1

Make the candied citrus: Combine sugar and 1 cup water in a 4-qt saucepan. Place over medium high heat and stir frequently until sugar dissolves completely and syrup comes up to a boil, about 5 minutes. Add lemon and orange slices and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and reserve syrup for another use, if desired. Discard seeds and chop the drained fruit. Set aside.

Step 2

Make the fruit mixture: Combine the dried fruit with ½ cup of the candied citrus. Set aside.

Step 3

Make the cookie dough: Whisk together flours, cocoa powder, spices, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat together the brown sugar, honey, and butter until creamy, 5 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, fully incorporating before adding the next one. Mix in dry ingredients at low speed until just blended. Fold in the reserved fruit mixture until just blended. Wrap the dough in plastic film and flatten to form a ½-inch thick disk. Refrigerate and chill for 1 hour.

Step 4

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Unwrap the dough and place between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Roll out into a ½ inch-thick disc. Peel off the top layer of parchment. Using a 3 inch biscuit cutter, stamp out individual cookies and use an offset spatula to transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, rotating once halfway through the baking process. Transfer to racks to cool completely.

Step 5

Sift confectioners' sugar onto cooled cookies before serving.

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