German Lebkuchen

German Lebkuchen Cookies - The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan Cookbook

German Lebkuchen - Traditional Christmas Cookies

makes 12-14 / time 45 min

Cookie dough:

  • 2/3 cup / 100 g almonds ground
  • 2/3 cup / 100 g hazelnuts ground
  • 2/3 cup / 150 g sugar
  • 1/3 cup / 50 g flour
  • 3 Tbsn soy flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tbsn apricot or orange marmelade
  • 1/4 cup / 25 g candied lemon peel (Zitronat) or dried figs finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup / 25 g candied orange peel (Orangeat) or dried dates finely chopped
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 to 14 baking wafers (70 mm)

Spice mix:

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon ground
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom ground
  • 1/4 tsp cloves ground
  • pinch black pepper ground
  • pinch nutmeg ground
  • 2 Tbsn cocoa powder OPTIONAL

For decoration:

  • Orange zest, almonds, hazelnuts, candied orange and lime peel
  1. In a medium bowl, mix soy flour, sugar, marmalade, water well until mixture is smooth.
  2. In a food processor, chop candied orange and lemon peels or dates and figs very finely. (If using dates and figs, add 1/2 Tbsn orange zest + 1/2 Tbsn lemon zest.)
  3. In a large bowl, mix ground nuts, flour, salt, vanilla, and spice mix. Add contents of other bowl and chopped peels or dried fruit. Mix well to form smooth and moist dough.
  4. Refrigerate 1 hr, or preferably, overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C / level 5.
  6. Line baking tray with baking paper. Top a baking wafer with a heaping tablespoon of dough. Press down to form round and mostly flat cookies. Repeat with rest of the dough and wafers. Place well-spaced on baking tray. No baking wafers? Form flat and round cookies with a spoon and place directly on baking paper.
  7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Note: Cookies will still be soft and similar shape when done.
  8. Remove from oven, allow to cool.

3 types of icing:

Chocolate icing:

  • 2 oz / 50 g dark chocolate
  1. Melt chocolate in medium pot set into larger pot of hot water.
  2. Apply melted chocolate with spoon or baking brush on cooled cookies. Garnish carefully, let cookies dry.

Plain icing:

  • 3 Tbsn water
  • 2 Tbsn sugar
  1. Mix water and sugar in small pot on medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool.
  2. Brush on/pour over with spoon on cooled cookies. Garnish carefully, let cookies dry.

White icing:

  • 3 Tbs powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbs coconut milk or soy cream
  1. Whisk powdered sugar and coconut milk or soy milk in small bowl. Mix well until thick and creamy, adding sugar or liquid as needed.
  2. Spread icing over cookies with spoon to fully cover. Garnish carefully, let cookies dry.

German Christmas Cookies - The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan Recipes from World Adventures

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Roasted Walnut Brownies

Roasted Walnut Brownies - Sweets - The Lotus and the Artichoke - World Travel Recipes

You probably know Germany has a long, outstanding tradition of great desserts. Especially on my first visits to Germany in the late 90s, I enjoyed many apple strudels, cherry, plum, and peach cakes, and lots of other fruity and nutty delights. Germany is also famous for Lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies), Stollen (fruitcakes), and tons of other decadent treats, increasingly available as vegan adaptations. The best, of course, come from home kitchens. In addition to the pastry shops and bakeries, the cafés almost always have great sweets, too.

In these cafés, you’ll see something that looks a lot like a brownie. There might even be a card next to it that says: Brownies. However – I grew up (mostly) in the United States – with awesome brownies at home, friends’ homes, from school bake sales, and just about anywhere else baked goods are found. Sadly, most of these German “Brownies” are imposters. They’re lackluster chocolate cake cut in the shape of a brownie! Fluffy and cake-like, and maybe pretty, but not gooey or chocolatey. I stopped ordering them years ago, probably after the third or fourth time someone told me: “No, no, this one really is a brownie!” Only to be fooled again.

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Endive Sprout Boats with Sesame Soy

Endive Sprout Boats with Soy Sesame Dressing - The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan Cookbook

This is a fun salad that I came up with sometime last year. The inspiration comes from salads I’ve had at restaurants and homes across Europe, especially in Germany and France. I’d seen endives (chicory) prior to moving to Europe over ten years ago, but they seem to be much more popular and celebrated on this side of the Atlantic. That said, I have had some great endive salads in Montreal, too.

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German Zwiebelkuchen

German Zwiebelkuchen with smoked tofu - The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan Recipes from World Adventures

When I announced that I would be adding 5 traditional German recipes to the cookbook, including a recipe for vegan Zwiebelkuchen, one of my Kickstarter backers wrote to me with a special request.

His birthday is tomorrow and he asked if I’d share the Zwiebelkuchen recipe earlier so he could make it and serve it with traditional Federweißer (“new wine”) for a birthday party. I told him I’d get to work on testing and finishing the recipe and would get it to him today. I made it last night and it turned out even better than I hoped!

Zwiebelkuchen is sort of like a cross between French quiche and Italian thick-crust pizza, but it’s also reminiscent of German Flammkuchen, which has a thinner crust and less toppings. This is a tasty savoury cake which actually has a lot less onion flavor than one might expect. The result is a delicious and hearty meal which stirs memories. It takes some time and involves a lot of steps, but it’s well worth the effort!

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