One thing I absolutely love about the festive season is the appearance of lebkuchen in the shops! I especially love those little heart shaped ones with the apricot jam in the middle and can happily eat a whole bag to myself.
One day, years ago, when I was heavily pregnant with my eldest child, I had a serious hankering for some. While struggling to put my boots on to head out to the shops, my waters ‘went’ – but I insisted on still going out for the lebkuchen! Typically by the time we got back home and decided to call the midwife (I had planned a home birth) I didn’t really fancy them any more and forgot all about them for the next few days (I ended up in hospital) then my husband admitted that he and the midwives had eaten them! Then it turned out I had to go dairy-free as my son was intolerant to the cow’s milk proteins coming through in my milk and that meant I wasn’t even allowed the blummin’ lebkuchen!
Anyway, I have made up for that by ingesting copious amounts of lebkuchen every year since then – until this year, when I’ve had to give up gluten in an attempt to persuade my thyroid to work properly! (I’m getting there!) And I am mostly missing the dark chocolate round ones that Aldi sell for about 89p.
I’ve been tweaking my recipe in an attempt to make something that will satisfy my cravings but that also doesn’t cost an arm and a leg (an old recipe I’d been using for years involved an awful lot of ground almonds!) and one that doesn’t involve a lot of prep (said old recipe involved chilling the dough over night – no good when I want lebkuchen NOW damnit!) and this recipe is the result of that messing about.
This recipe is both gluten and dairy-free so will mean that those of us with dietry restrictions don’t have to miss out on the festive nibbles! (Although sadly I’ve not tried tweaking these to be vegan yet – but maybe next December! – Edit: I made a vegan Lebkuchen Loaf in the end!)
There are a few different ways to make these – either do plain round ones (no jam) with icing, ones with jam in with icing, chocolate-coated plain ones (or just drizzled chocolate) or chocolate-coated ones with jam in! I’ve done a mix of chocolate coated and iced ones with jam in. You could also chill the dough so it’s firm enough to roll out and use a cookie cutter to make them pretty shapes (which might be nice for gifts). My personal opinion is that the chocolate-coated ones with jam in the middle are the best!
Gluten Free Lebkuchen (gf, df). Makes 12(ish)
- 250g Gluten free Self Raising flour (I’ve used Doves Farm for this)
- 2 tsps Mixed Spice (or you can experiment with your own spice mix – ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice etc)
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 1tsp orange extract (you could use orange zest instead)
- 125g runny honey
- Apricot jam (optional) (I think cherry would work really well too, but the apricot was cheaper! – you could also use homemade chia jam)
- Icing sugar (optional)
- Dark chocolate (optional) (I used 200g here and it covered 7 of them, I used the cheap 30p a bar stuff but it’s not dairy free)
- Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper (and if not chilling your dough, preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/GM4/350F)
- Mix the flour and spice in a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre
- Add in the eggs, orange extract and honey and mix well.
- At this point you could chill the dough in the fridge for a bit if you like, if you are wanting to roll out the dough (between greaseproof sheets) and use a cookie cutter to make shapes then it will need a chill to firm up. However, what I do is just take half the dough and with small blobs of dough, roll them in to a ball and then squidge them on to the greaseproof paper to flatten them slightly.
- Then take a small blob of apricot jam and pop it in the middle of each of the dough circles (see photo above)
- Then use the rest of the dough to make ‘tops’ to cover the jam, pressing gently on the edges to seal in the jam.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until risen and slightly golden. (if you overdo them they go a bit dry)
- If just icing the biscuits you can do this while they are warm so it drizzles and soaks in, if you are going to dunk them in melted chocolate wait for them to cool.
- Once coated in icing/chocolate put them in the fridge to chill until set.
- Try not to eat them all at once… 😉
Now I’m off to shovel some of these little beauties in to my face along with a cup of Yogi Christmas Tea!