Chocolate Lebkuchen (Gingerbread Cookies)
Lebkuchen was invented by monks in Franconia, Germany in the 13th century. Lebkuchen bakers were recorded as early as 1296 in Ulm, and 1395 in Nürnberg (Nuremberg). The latter is the most famous exporter today of the product known as Nürnberger Lebkuchen (Nuremberg Lebkuchen). Lebkuchen range in taste from spicy to sweet and come in a variety of shapes with round being the most common. The ingredients usually include honey, spices such as aniseed, coriander, cloves, ginger, cardamom, and allspice, nuts including almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts, or candied fruit.
Lebkuchen is usually soft, but a harder type of Lebkuchen is used to produce Lebkuchenherzen ("Lebkuchen hearts"), usually inscribed with icing, which are available at many German regional fairs and Christmas fairs. They are also sold as souvenirs at the Oktoberfest and are inscribed with affectionate, sarcastic or obscene messages.
4 tablespoons clear honey
4 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1-2 tsp water
Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease or line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In small saucepan, over low heat, stir together honey, butter and brown sugar until butter has melted. Sift together flour, baking powder, cocoa, ginger and allspice into a mixing bowl. Add egg yolk and stir to combine. Add honey and butter mixture to the flour. Stir to combine, then squeeze the mixture into a ball of dough with your hands.
On a lightly floured surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters or a knife to cut out shapes. Use a spatula to lift cookies to the baking sheet (to use as decorations, make a hole at the top of each cookie with a skewer).
Bake the cookies for 7-8 minutes or until set. Cool on wire rack.
For Icing: Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Mix in the lemon juice, stirring well. Consistency will depend on whether you desire to drizzle it or brush it on. For thinner icing, add 1 tsp of water.
When the cookies are cool, brush, spread or drizzle onto cookies. If you would rather design Allow icing to cool completely, then store in air tight container