Lebkuchen are traditional delicately spiced German molasses-ginger cookies. This recipe, from mixologist Jeffrey Morgenthaler was passed down from his great-grandmother to his grandmother to his uncle. Slideshow:  More Christmas Cookie Recipes 

Photo: © Rick Poon
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs
18 cookies


  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup almond flour

  • 2 tablespoons minced candied orange peel

  • 2 tablespoons minced candied lemon peel

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

  • 1/3 cup blanched whole almonds

  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

  • 5 tablespoons whole milk


  1. In a small bowl, stir the cream and vinegar together and let stand until thickened, about 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a medium bowl, whisk the all-purpose flour with the almond flour, candied orange and lemon peels, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the brown sugar with the shortening and molasses at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the thickened cream and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined.

  3. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Working in 2 batches, using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop or 1/4-cup measure, scoop the dough into mounds on the prepared sheets, spacing them 3 inches apart. Place 3 whole almonds in a star pattern on top of each cookie and, with the palm of your hand, gently flatten each mound slightly.

  4. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned; rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

  5. In a small, wide bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with the milk until smooth. Dip the top of each cookie in the glaze, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Transfer the cookies to a rack and let stand until the glaze hardens, about 10 minutes.

Make Ahead

The lebkuchen can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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