Lebkuchen (German Christmas Cookies)

Name: Deborah Wild
Class Year: 1997
Country of Residence: Tbilisi, Georgia (German, married to a Dane)

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

Christmas is a big deal in our house. I used to Christmas elf/or nisse (how the Danes would say) my friends at MHC, played Krampus for the German language club, and shared the German tradition of advent with my friends. When I met my Danish husband and he told me he was atheist, my reply was, him not believing in God was not an issue, but Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, I’m afraid, were non-negotiable (both not traditions in his family).

When my oldest son was about three, he collected his hat, gloves, wrapped presents that he put in his car seat using it as a sleight and strapped our straw reindeer in front. When I asked why he wanted to be Santa Claus he answered “to give presents to people”. A few years later, he asked me in earnest, when, I thought, Santa Claus would retire and if it work out time-wise for my son to take over the job once that happened.  It is still the most magical time of the year for our kids.

My parents are from Franconia, from where the famous Nuremberg Lebkuchen come. This recipe is very easy to make and does not require the traditional paper bottom (Oblaten), which I cant’ get in my current part of the world.  They are really easy to make. You can add a glazing if you want, in my house the Lebkuchen disappear faster than I can make them. They are also a big hit at our annual Christmas party.

Lebkuchen (German but recipe from a Danish cook)

Serves about 30 pieces . Takes approx. 60 minutes


  • 4 medium eggs
  • 200 cane (light brown) sugar
  • ½ t(ea)spoon salt
  • 1 vanilla bean – inside scraped out
  • 250 grams of almonds (peeled)
  • 100 gr of hazelnuts
  • – 100 gr of dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 T(able)spoon of cocoa powder
  • 100 gr flour
  • 3 Tsp of (fluid) honey
  • grated zest of ½ lemon
  • grated zest of 2 oranges

Roast the following 3 ingredients together in a dry, hot pan, then blend them in a food processor afterwards (I usually do it together with some of the almonds or hazelnuts)

  • 3 cardamom capsules (I actually use 5)
  • ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 5 (whole) pieces of cloves


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Beat the eggs and mix together with cane sugar, and salt. Add the inside of the vanilla bean and the honey. I add the orange and lemon peel to the egg-mixture, but not sure it matters, you can also add it to the nut mixture.
  3. Blend the almonds, hazelnuts in a food processor as well as the chocolate. Put them in a separate bowl. Add all the dry spices and the flour.
  4. Add the egg-mixture into the nut-mixture and mix well.
  5. Cover a baking pan (25 x 35 cm) with baking paper and fill in the dough.
  6. Bake the dough for app. 30 minutes at 180°C (I use the back end of a match to check. They shouldn’t be over baked either otherwise they get dry. )
  7. When cooled down cut the Lebkuchen into about 3 x 3 cm big pieces. If you like cover them with melted chocolate or serve them as they are.
  8. Store them in a metal tin. They will harden with time.


Kille Enna (Danish cook)

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