Wednesday, 9 December 2015

My take on Lebkuchen | The Shire Bakery

I decided that I wanted to bake some festive goodies full of mixed spice and cinnamon, and German spice biscuits sprang to mind. These were my first attempt and they are by no means a perfect recipe. For one I used different ingredients and missed some out I am sure and after all the honey went in I decided that they would be un-iced.

This was also my opportunity to use my new festive cookie cutter and stamp from 
The Shire Bakery offers a variety of baking products which makes it pretty irresistible to a home baker like myself who often peruses Lakeland's website. From aprons to chocolate moulds; cupcake cases to flavoured icing sugar, you will find a plethora of items bound to inspire you to get baking and creating.

I have plans for further cookie baking which could really make good use of the cutter and stamp; the detail was lost with these cookies because they spread so much.

Baking is all about trial and error and the first batch cooked for 15 minutes which was a bit too long as they were crispier throughout rather than chewy in the centre. I took the second batch out earlier, after 10 minutes and they were just right (for the recipe I had tweaked anyway!)
If you do give these cookies a try, I'd love to hear what you think of them.

What you will need:

Large mixing bowl
Weighing scales
Cookie cutters. Mine are from the The Shire Bakery which offers a wide variety of baking goodies and essentials, from party goods to aprons and cake decorating. So many sprinkles!
Wooden spoon
Spoon measures
Lined baking sheet


150ml runny honey
85g butter, I used Lactofree butter
50g soft brown sugar
250g white spelt flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Almonds; spelt flour; ground ginger;
ground cinnamon; bicarbonate of soda; soft brown sugar;
mixed spice; baking powder

 Melt the honey and butter together over a low heat then add to the dry ingredients and beat well until the mixture stiffens. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.

This dough tastes really good - it has inspired me to make a festive spiced cookie-dough ice cream!
 I chilled the dough overnight and it was solid enough to stand a spoon in it! It actually took a lot of effort to scoop out balls of dough, so next time I will either allow it to come up to room temperature or chill it for fewer hours. I rolled each generous tablespoon scoops into a ball on a flour-dusted pastry mat and flattened them with the palm of my hand in order to cut them out. I used two cutters, both of which are available from The Shire Bakery; a snowman and a gingerbread man stamp cutter.
As the dough warmed up I had to carefully prise it out of the gingerbread cutter but I loved the effect and luckily I didn't lose any dough in the stamp. 

The lebkuchen man looks pretty happy with himself!

I adore the detail that the stamp cutter makes but due to the consistency of the dough, the detail was lost once the cookies baked and spread. And the snowmen turned out rather portly too! I used the cutters for the first batch which I baked at 160 degreesC fan for 15 minutes which was too long. I rolled balls and flattened them for the second batch which I baked for 10 minutes and this resulted in a lighter colour and better texture; slightly crispy on the outside and chewy and soft in the centre.

Portly lebkuchen men and snowmen; tasty results!

Traditional lebkuchen are iced cookies, but since this is my take on it I decided against icing due to the high sugar content already. Perhaps they would be even more of an indulgent treat if drizzled or even dipped in melted dark chocolate.
Perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.

They didn't last long at all!


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