Monday, April 15, 2013
I love my cousin Phillip for many reasons. THIS week I love him because he chose to visit us for a bit and I was able to go off my diet! You can't expect visitors to eat DIET food. And you can't fix great food for visitors and not eat it yourself! I had made some candied ginger a looong time ago for this recipe and then stepped on the scale and had to put it on the back burner. So now I get to fix it!
Now I did a bit of research and discovered that Lebkuchen is kind of like any sort of cookie in that there are lots of different recipes. This is the one I ended up with after playing around with a few of them. I chose to do bar cookies, but these can also be make by rolling out the dough and then cutting out cookies. These are kind of like spicy gingerbread with the kick from the candied ginger.
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup molasses
1 Tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons each lemon and orange zest
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
3 rounded Tablespoons candied ginger, finely ground
In a medium saucepan, bring the honey, sugar, molasses and butter to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove the mixture from the heat and cool until it is just warm.
I use a Kitchen-Aid mixer, but you may use a hand mixer. In a large bowl beat together the cooled honey mixture, the egg, and the lemon and orange zest. Next mix in the flour, baking soda, almonds, spices, cocoa powder and ground candied ginger.
I used a food processor to chop up the ginger, but I chopped the almonds on a cutting board so that there would be tiny bits of nuts to add interest to the cookie.
Beat everything until mixed. The dough will be stiff and sticky. Cover the bowl and refrigerate over night. Well, I didn't have over night, so I put it in the fridge for several hours.
Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9 X 13 pan. You may also roll out the cookies and cut them. This is when you have to make that decision! I just put the dough in the pan and using a spatula. I should have dipped it in flour, it is sticky, after all. Don't over work the dough or it will get tough.
Bake the bars for 20 to 22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean form the center of the bars. Let cool for a few minutes and then while still warm, loosen the edges of the bars from the pan and slide a spatula under each side. Then turn over on a cooling rack. Flip it right side up. Don't really flip it. Gently turn it over. You might want to use another rack to flip in on.
While the cake is cooling so that you can remove it, for you should start making the glaze.
1 cup powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons of the liquid of your choice. You can use brandy, apple juice, lemon juice, or vanilla. I recommend the brandy, myself. I didn't have any and used rum, but couldn't taste it. Mix the liquid into the sugar until it is dissolved and rather thin. You only want a glaze, not a frosting.
While the bars are still warm, drizzle the glaze over it. When it is cooled and the glaze has hardened, remove the whole thing to a cutting board and cut into squares.
They were pretty good, but kind of tough, so I may have over worked it. If I make the bars again, I will refrain from pushing it into the corners. They told me not to, but I still did a little anyway. I will try cookies next time. And maybe ramp up the ginger. I really liked that part!