Hello, Good News! Welcome to our blog, where we share with you the best recipes, tips, and tricks for baking delicious cookies. Today, we are going to show you how to make lep cookies, a traditional German treat that is perfect for the holiday season.
Lep cookies, also known as lebkuchen or pfefferkuchen, are soft and cake-like ginger cookies that are sweetened with honey and molasses and spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. They are usually studded with nuts and dried fruits and glazed with a simple lemon icing or melted chocolate. Lep cookies have a long history in Germany, dating back to the 13th century, when they were invented by monks in Franconia. They are especially popular in Nuremberg, where they are protected by a designation of origin and have to meet certain quality standards.
Why You Should Try Lep Cookies
If you love gingerbread cookies, you will love lep cookies. They have a similar flavor profile, but they are softer and more moist than the typical gingerbread cookies. They also have a rich and complex taste from the honey, molasses, nuts, and fruits. Lep cookies are not only delicious, but also nutritious. They are packed with protein and fiber from the nuts and fruits, and they contain natural sweeteners that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Lep cookies are also fun to make and customize. You can use different kinds of nuts and fruits, such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, raisins, cranberries, figs, dates, or candied citrus peel. You can also cut them into different shapes and sizes, or use cookie cutters to make festive designs. You can also choose between a lemon glaze or a chocolate coating for the topping, or even drizzle both for a contrast of flavors.
How to Store Lep Cookies
One of the best things about lep cookies is that they get better with time. Unlike most cookies that tend to dry out or lose their flavor after a few days, lep cookies actually improve in texture and taste as they age. This is because the honey and molasses keep them moist and soft, while the spices infuse them with more flavor.
To store lep cookies, you need to keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a week before eating them. This will allow them to “ripen” and develop their full potential. You can also freeze them for up to a year and thaw them before serving. Some people even prefer to eat them frozen for a chewy and refreshing treat.
How to Serve Lep Cookies
Lep cookies are great for any occasion, but especially for the holiday season. They make wonderful gifts for your friends and family, as they are easy to pack and transport. You can also serve them at your Christmas party or dinner, as they pair well with hot drinks like tea, coffee, or mulled wine. You can also enjoy them as a snack or dessert anytime you crave something sweet and spicy.
To serve lep cookies, you can simply arrange them on a platter or in a cookie jar. You can also decorate them with some powdered sugar or sprinkles for extra flair. You can also cut them into smaller pieces and dip them in chocolate fondue or whipped cream for a decadent treat.
How to Make Lep Cookies: Step by Step Guide
Making lep cookies is not difficult, but it does require some planning ahead. You need to prepare the dough at least a day before baking it, as it needs to chill in the refrigerator overnight. You also need to let the baked cookies sit in an airtight container for at least a week before eating them. Here is a step by step guide on how to make lep cookies:
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 pound melted lard or vegetable shortening
- 2 cups molasses
- 2 cups strong brewed coffee
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1/2 cup whiskey (optional)
- 1/2 pound walnuts, ground
- 1 pound raisins, ground
- 1/2 tablespoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons each of cloves, cinnamon, salt, and allspice
- Flour, enough to make a stiff dough (about 10 cups)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, lard, molasses, and coffee until well combined.
- In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the whiskey, if using, or some water. Stir into the molasses mixture.
- In another bowl, toss the walnuts and raisins with some flour to coat them. Stir into the molasses mixture.
- Add the nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, salt, and allspice and mix well.
- Gradually add enough flour to make a stiff dough that is not sticky. You may need more or less flour depending on the humidity and the type of flour you use.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for a few minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Divide the dough into four equal portions and shape them into logs. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to a week.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with cooking spray.
- Unwrap one log of dough and slice it into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place them on the prepared baking sheets, leaving some space between them.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges.
- Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let them cool completely.
- Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a week before eating them.
Tips and Variations
- You can use butter instead of lard or shortening for a richer flavor, but you may need to adjust the amount of flour accordingly.
- You can use any kind of nuts and dried fruits you like, such as almonds, pecans, dates, figs, cranberries, or candied citrus peel. You can also omit them if you prefer plain lep cookies.
- You can roll out the dough and cut it into shapes with cookie cutters instead of slicing it into rounds. You may need to bake them for a shorter time depending on their size and thickness.
- You can glaze the cookies with a simple lemon icing made with powdered sugar and lemon juice, or dip them in melted chocolate for a different topping. You can also drizzle both for a contrast of flavors.
Lep Cookies Nutrition Facts
Lep cookies are not only tasty, but also nutritious. They are high in protein and fiber from the nuts and fruits, and they contain natural sweeteners that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Here is a breakdown of the nutrition facts for one lep cookie (based on a recipe that makes 48 cookies):
|Nutrient||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Saturated Fat||3 g||15%|