German Gingerbread (Nürnberger Lebkuchen)

Nuernberger Lebkuchen
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  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 32 Cookies (16 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
299 Calories
17g Fat
34g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 32 Cookies (16 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 299
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 21%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 72mg 24%
Sodium 2687mg 117%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Protein 6g
Calcium 98mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Nürnberger lebkuchen or gingerbread has been around since the 14th century when Nürnberg was a rich city with good trade associations. You can make Nürnberger lebkuchen in your home without any special German ingredients. You will need thin oblaten that look like Catholic communion wafers and can be purchased at a German deli. If you can't find ​oblaten, no problem, adjustments are made in the recipe. These soft, spicy cookies keep for several weeks.


  • For the Cookie:
  • 1/2 cup/113 g butter (softened)
  • 1 cup/200 g sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups/360 g all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground anise seed
  • 2 tablespoons/12 g cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • 1 cup/225 mL milk
  • 1 3/4 cups/150 g almonds (ground)
  • 1/2 cup candied lemon peel (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon rum (or orange liqueur)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (soaked in rum and chopped)
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 32 oblaten (baking wafers, 3-inch size)
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons rum (or liqueur)
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, these cookies are broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Cookies

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat oven to 375 F.

  2. Cream together the butter, sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy.

  3. Mix in the flour, spices, cocoa powder, and baking powder, alternating with milk. Note that you can use prepared lebkuchen spices (1 tablespoon) if available rather than the listed spices.

  4. Fold in the nuts and lemon peel.

  5. Stir in the rum, followed by the raisins and coconut.

  6. Place the oblaten on parchment-lined baking sheets. Drop about 3 tablespoons of cookie dough onto the wafer and smooth to the edges.

  7. If you are not using the oblaten, draw 3-inch diameter circles on parchment paper using a cup or biscuit cutter as a template. Drop about 3 tablespoons cookie dough into the center of each circle.

  8. In both cases, use the back of a spoon to fill out each circle, slightly mounding the dough toward the center.

  9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn down oven to 350 F if cookies are browning too much.

  10. Let cool for a few minutes, then remove to a cookie or cake rack.

Make the Glaze

  1. While the cookies are baking, make the glaze. The glaze is to be applied while the cookies are still warm.

  2. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil and boil for a few minutes. Add the vanilla and 1 to 2 tablespoons rum or liqueur. Sift confectioners sugar over the hot sugar syrup and stir.

  3. Using a pastry brush, brush the warm glaze over the warm cookies. Let dry completely.


  • Dry glazed cookies for a day (so the cookie stays a bit crunchy) then store in an airtight container or freeze.