Is there anything that chocolate can't make better? This morning I found myself adding some very untraditional dark chocolate to my traditional German Lebkuchen. They're a spice-infused speciality that have been knocking around since medieval times. I should be ashamed of myself, but I'm not. Sometimes it is possible to improve on perfection (especially when chocolate comes into it).
If you're feeling crafty, you could shape the dough into hearts (Lebkuchen-Herzen) or pigs (Glucksschweinchen). Or just go for the easy option and roll them into golf ball sized blobs. They'll still taste just as nice.
There are all sorts of spices that work well in Lebkuchen. Try adding some ground black pepper or cardamom. Just don't miss out the ginger, because Lebkuchen wouldn't be Lebkuchen without it. Wunderbar!
Choc-topped Lebkuchen (makes about 30)
- 250g plain flour
- 100g brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 75ml clear honey
- 75ml treacle
- 85g butter
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Zest of a lemon
- 50g dark chocolate (or more if you like)
- Put the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
- Heat the honey, treacle and butter in a pan over a low heat until the butter just melts, then pour into the flour mixture along with the lemon zest and egg.
- Mix well until the dough is combined.
- Cover and leave to cool, then pop in the fridge overnight (or even for a couple of days if you like).
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180C / gas 4.
- Roll the dough into balls, then flatten each one slightly.
- Put the biscuits on two or three baking trays lined with baking parchment (they will expand quite a bit, so leave some room).
- Bake for 12-15 mins, then leave to cool on a wire rack. They will still be soft when you take them out of the oven but will harden up on cooling.
- Once the biscuits are cool, melt the chocolate in a bain marie or (carefully) in the microwave. Drizzle the chocolate over and leave to set.