Delectable German gingerbread: a special Christmas treat

Delectable German gingerbread: a special Christmas treat
Sweet Treats

This German gingerbread, known as lebkuchen, has the perfect balance of sweet and spiced. This version is even tastier as the biscuits are filled with raspberry. Other flavours like apricot or cherry, also work really well, or you can keep it simple and not fill them at all! Heart-shaped lebkuchen look extra decorative and would make perfect gifts this Christmas. If they’re covered in chocolate they will keep in an airtight container for a couple of weeks.


Makes about 12 biscuits

-225g plain flour

-85g ground almonds

-1 tsp baking powder

-½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (bread soda)

-1 tsp ground cinnamon

-1 tsp ground ginger

-1 tsp mixed spice

-¼ tsp ground nutmeg

-¼ tsp ground cloves

-1 tbsp cocoa powder

-85g unsalted butter

-185ml runny honey

-Zest of ½ lemon

-1 tbsp lemon juice

To begin, prepare the dry ingredients by sieving them all into a large bowl. Then on a low heat, melt the butter into the honey, lemon zest and lemon juice. Once the butter has melted take it off the heat and let it cool slightly before adding to the dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon mix the ingredients to form a sticky dough, making sure to incorporate all the flour. Cover and leave to cool in the fridge for half an hour. This will also help the flavours develop.

To prepare for the next step, line a large baking tray and preheat the oven to 180℃/160°Fan/Gas mark 4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and roll it into a large rectangle about 0.5cm in thickness. Using a cookie cutter about 6cm in diameter cut out as many biscuits as possible. Remember you need multiples of two. You will have to reroll the scraps to get the most out of your dough. On half of the biscuits place a small teaspoon of jam in the centre and then put another biscuit cut out on top to sandwich it. Seal around the edges of the jam filling by pressing lightly with your fingers. Place the filled biscuits on the baking tray leaving at least an inch between each biscuit. You may need to work in batches.

Bake the biscuits in the oven for 15-18 mins until they are risen and don’t leave an imprint to the touch. Leave them for a few minutes to cool on the tray and then carefully transfer them to a wire rack using a palette knife to cool fully. They can be eaten as is but they also taste great with a thin layer of icing on top or dipped in chocolate.