It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
I was in London for the weekend for my birthday at the end of November. The city looked so wonderfully Christmassy, it inspired me to make a start on my festive baking.
These crisp little ‘Betty’s’ German Lebkuchen cookies taste delicious and can be hung on the Christmas tree as decorations – if you can wait that long. I’m going to make another batch to give away as gifts too.
To make them you will need…
- Cookie cutters – stars, hearts, Christmas trees etc. I used 2inch or 5cm sized cutters and made about 30 cookies. A plastic drinking straw is perfect for cutting hanging holes.
- A large mixing bowl, a rolling pin and a saucepan.
- 2 x baking trays covered with baking parchment.
- 70g golden syrup.
- 1 dessertspoon of black treacle.
- 70g soft light brown sugar.
- A pinch each of cinnamon, mixed spice, ground ginger and freshly grated nutmeg.
- 1 tablespoon of water.
- A quarter teaspoon each of baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
- 100g of unsalted butter cut into small pieces.
- 225g plain white flour.
- 70g white icing sugar mixed with 2 dessertspoons of water to make water icing.
- Or, ready made white icing for piping.
- White icing sugar for dusting.
- Preheat the oven to 180c. Cover/line two baking trays with parchment.
- Place the golden syrup, treacle, brown sugar, spices ad water in a large heavy based pan. stir well over a low heat and then gradually bring to the boil. once boiled, take it off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Now the fun part…sprinkle the baking powder and bicarb into the mixture and stir until dissolved. It will fizz and bulk up the mixture. Stir in the butter pieces and whisk until completely dissolved.
- Add the flour into a large mixing bowl and then add the syrup mixture. Mix it together until it becomes a smooth, soft paste. It will smell wonderful. Wrap in some cling film and leave the cookie dough to cool and it will firm slightly.
- When the dough is completely cold, unwrap it and lay it on a sheet of baking parchment. Place another sheet of baking parchment on top to stop the dough sticking and roll out to 5mm thick. Cut your shapes out and, if you want to hang them on the tree, make a hole at the top of each one using a drinking straw.
- Lay the cookies on the baking trays leaving enough room between them as they will spread a little bit. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until firm and slightly browned. Leave to cool on a rack.
- Once they are cool, you can decorate them. Traditionally, they are simply brushed with water icing which will give a lovely sheen to them. I also decorated some of mine without the water icing but dotted and swirled with plain icing paste. They can be dusted with icing sugar once dry.
- If you’re going to put them on your tree, just thread some ribbon through the holes and hang them.