Lebkuchen Cookies or Gingerbread Cookies

Holiday Traditions are different all over the world. Each country has their own special holiday traditions, just as most families have their own traditions. Lebkuchen Cookies or Gingerbread Cookies are made specially in Germany. A holiday favorite and tradition.



Nüremberg Lebkuchen is very popular in Germany around Christmas time. A spicy gingerbread, that goes well with coffee, tea and Glüdwein. These soft, spicy, gingerbread cookies keep for several weeks. There are many regional variations of the Lebkuchen, but the most well known is: Nürnberger Lebkuchen from the city of Nüremberg.

Common Ingredients

Most common ingredients in gingerbread include: honey, flour, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, cloves, anise, cardamom, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, ground almonds, candied lemon and orange peel.

German Gingerbread

Nürnberger Lebkuchen or gingerbread has been around since the 14th century. Lebkuchen, also called Pfefferkuchen, is German gingerbread. German gingerbread are either rectangle or round. They have a sweet, light, nutty taste and their aroma is spicy, a bit like nutmeg and allspice. They are usually soft with a slight crunch from the nuts and glaze.



Types of Lebkuchen

Are thin wafers. “Oblaten” Gingerbread are baked on thin Oblaten wafers. Originally this was done to prevent the cookie from sticking to the cookie sheet

“Oblaten” wafers which may serve as the bottoms of any cookie. They look like Catholic Communion wafers, and are actually made in the same manner. These thin, crisp, edible wafers can be purchased all over Germany, and at American German Deli Markets or online at: Bavaria Sausage Inc.

Elisen Gingerbread

Are the highest quality Oblaten Lebkuchen available. They must have at least 25% almonds, hazelnuts, or walnuts (no other kind of nuts are allowed). Likewise, they must contain no more than 10 % flour

Nürnberger Lebkuchen

Nürnberger Lebkuchen that are baked in the city of Nürnberg, and are worldwide the most well known. They are often baked on Oblaten (thin wafers), and they are known for their light, soft texture. Marzipan is often an ingredient of these cookies.

Types of Lebkuchen

Kaiserlein are Lebkuchen onto which a picture is drawn or imprinted.

Brown (Braune) Gingerbread

The cookies are made from a honey or syrup dough. The dough is either molded, cut or formed and baked without Oblaten. Baked cookies are often covered with a sugar glaze or chocolate.

White (Weisse) Gingerbread

White Lebkuchen cookies get their name from their very light color. The color comes from a high amount of whole eggs and/or egg whites in the dough. They are usually decorated with almonds and/or candied lemon and orange peels.


Lebkuchen (Gingerbread) Cookies

A German Classic
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  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon Lebkuchengewurz spice
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cup finely ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup candied lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur or brandy
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins, chopped and soaked in 1/3 cup brandy, optional
  • 32 Oblaten baking wafers, 3-inch size
  • Ingredients for Lebkuchengewurz Spice:
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Combine all ingredients together.
  • Store in an air-tight container.
  • Vanilla Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Chocolate Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chip


  • Cream butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Mix in flour, spices, cocoa powder and baking powder, alternating with milk. Fold in ground almonds and lemon peel. Stir in liqueur or brandy. Stir in raisins, if using.
  • Line baking sheet with Oblaten or draw 3-inch diameter circles on parchment paper using a cup or biscuit cutter as a template. Drop about 3 tablespoons cookie dough into the center of each circle. If you are using "Oblaten" drop the dough onto the wafer and smooth to the edges or when baking sheet is full, use the back of a spoon to fill out the circle. Slightly mounding the dough towards the center.
  • Bake at 375° for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn down oven to 350° if cookies are browning to fast. Let cool for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool. While cookies are still warm, make glaze.
  • Vanilla Glaze:
  • Place sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, boil for 1 to 2 minutes. Add vanilla and brandy. Sift powdered sugar over the hot sugar syrup and stir. Using a pastry brush, brush warm glaze over warm cookies. Let dry completely.
  • Store in an airtight container or freeze cookies
  • Chocolate Glaze:
  • Place chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Heat sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 1-quart saucepan over medium high heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture over chocolate chips. Let sit for 1 minute. Stir until glaze is shiny and chocolate is melted. Brush glaze over Lebkuchen. Dry glazed cookies until set
  • Store in an airtight container or freeze cookies
Did you make this recipe?Tag @lynnturnips on Instagram with the hashtag #turnips2tangerines


Recipe Tip:*Spices”

Lebkuchen call for the use of several different spices. If you live near a store that sells spices by bulk such as Bulk Priced Food Shoppe, I would suggest buying just the amounts of spices you will need. You can purchase bulk spices for as little as .10¢ per teaspoon.

Pfeffernusse Cookies with Spiced Powdered Sugar