German Lebkuchen Bars Recipe
German Honey Cakes

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A wonderful German Christmas tradition that is consumed and enjoyed around the world. Lebkuchen, in German, means the "cooking of life." It is thought that the Lebkuchen was probably the first cookie traditionally associated with Christmas and the oldest form of cookie known.

This German Lebkuchen Bar recipe originally came from my children's German grandmother, Gertrude Zemp. She always made these cookies at least one month in advance of Christmas, for they improve or mellow with age because of the addition of whiskey. They will keep approximately six months in an airtight container. In my house, we can't keep them that long because I can't leave them alone!

More favorite Cookie Recipes and Secrets To Making Perfect Cookies. Also learn How To Have A Successful Holiday Cookie Exchange or Cookie Swap.

German Lebkuchen Bars (German Honey Cakes)

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German Lebkuchen Bars Recipe - German Honey Cakes:

Recipe Type: Cookies, Christmas Cookie
Cuisine: German
Yields: 3 dozen bars
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 20 min


5 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ground cinnamon
2 cups finely-chopped almonds
1/4 cup finely-chopped candied citron*
1/4 cup finely-chopped candied orange peel
2 cups honey
2 cups granulated sugar
4 tablespoons bourbon or whiskey
3 eggs, well beaten
Milk Frosting (see recipe below)

* If you can’t find candied citron (which can be hard to find some years), add additional candied lemon or orange peel plus a small pinch each of ground cinnamon and black pepper to stimulate citron’s slightly spice, more complex flavor.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter an approximate 12" x 17" x 1" baking pan. I have found that lining the baking pan with parchment paper, allowing it to overhand on all sides, makes for an easier removal of the bars when cut.

In a very large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, almonds, candied citron, and candied orange peel; set aside.

In the top of a double boiler over hot water, combine honey, sugar, and whiskey; stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let mixture cool a little until just slightly warm.

Add the beaten eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition; add to flour mixture and mix until well blended.


Spread batter onto the prepared baking pan, smoothing the top with the back of a large spoon or rubber spatula.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and they are light brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire cooling rack.

Baked Lebkuchen

While bars are baking, prepare the Milk Frosting. While the Lebkuchen is still hot, spread the prepared Milk Frosting onto the top of the baked Lebkuchen with a spatula or a pastry brush. Let the Lebkuchen cool completely. Cut into bars, and remove from pan.

Store, tightly covered, at room temperature to let mellow. These cookies get even better with age (if you can wait to eat them). Ideally you should allow them to age for 1 to 4 weeks (or even longer).

Yields 5 dozen squares.

Milk FrostingMilk Frosting:

1 cup powdered (confectioners') sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and enough milk to make frosting easy to spread.


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