Basler Leckerli


These spiced cookie bars are an essential part of a German Christmas. They are an excellent make-ahead sweet; in fact, they get more tender and flavorful the longer they sit. Slideshow:  More Cookie Recipes 

Basler Leckerli
Photo: © Nicole Franzen
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
4 dozen bars


  • 3/4 cup honey

  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 2/3 cup blanched almonds, finely chopped

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped candied orange peel

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped candied citron peel

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the honey with the granulated sugar and salt. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the honey and sugar are melted and beginning to simmer, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl and let cool slightly, about 20 minutes.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder. Using a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon, stir the egg into the honey mixture. Stir in the almonds, candied orange and citron peels, orange and lemon zests, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, then stir in the sifted flour.

  3. Scrape the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and, with floured hands, press into a 12-by-9-inch rectangle, about ¼ inch thick. Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until golden and puffy.

  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the confectioners’ sugar with 2 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Boil the syrup until it begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Keep warm.

  5. As soon as the leckerli is done, brush the surface with the hot glaze. While it’s still hot, carefully slide the parchment onto a work surface. Using a sharp knife, trim the edges of the rectangle and cut the leckerli into 2-by-1-inch bars. Let cool before serving.

Make Ahead

The bars can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container with half of an apple for up to 2 months. Swap out the apple once a week.

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