From his cookbook, The Hachland Hill Cookbook (Blue Hills Press, 2022) inspired by memories of cooking with his grandmother, Carter Hach gives us this delicious lebkuchen recipe. The soft, nutty German cakes resemble warm winter family traditions as the inviting aroma of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger spreads holiday cheer. 

“Phila was known for her cookies, especially around the holidays. This particular confection is something of a hybrid between a spiced tea cake and a cookie. The smell and taste always remind me of winter. Next time you have a cookie party, ditch the chocolate chips and try these for something special fit for Ole St. Nick!”

For the best results, refrigerate the dough 3 to 4 days before baking the lebkuchen!

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Makes 16 cakes

  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1¼ cups shortening
  • 11 cups flour, divided
  • ½ cup almonds, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1½ cups mixed walnuts and pecans, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground clove
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • ½ cup citron, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup powdered sugar for glaze
  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, bring molasses, honey, and sugar to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Reduce heat but while still hot, stir in shortening, 4 cups flour, nuts, cinnamon, clove, brandy, citron, and salt. Let cool. Dissolve baking soda in boiling water, then add to dough. Add eggs one at a time. Add remaining flour as needed to make stiff dough. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 3-4 days.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough onto floured work surface. Cut into desired shapes. Bake for 12-16 minutes. In a small bowl, make glaze by adding 2 tablespoons of hot water to powdered sugar. Stir to combine. Frost cakes with glaze and decorate with almonds.
  • Recipe By
    Adapted from The Hachland Hill Inn Cookbook by Carter Hach (Blue Hills Press). Copyright © 2022
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