I just adore Christmas baking, and these Vegan Lebkuchen (German Gingerbread Cookies) are not only one of my favourites to make, but to eat too! They make the house smell glorious when they're being baked, which is always a bonus, and can be decorated in a variety of ways too!
Lebkuchen are traditionally made in Germany as part of the festive season. Often households will make a variety of different cookies, including lebkuchen (between 7 and 12 types!) to share with guests or to take as a gift when visiting friends and relatives. It can get quite competitive, in the nicest possible way. Fortunately, the cookies tend to store quite well, so you can make them well ahead of time. The lebkuchen are also easily made vegan, so everyone can enjoy them.
If you want to compete in your own vegan version of the German Cookie baking, why not try these easy Mince Pie Baklava for a Christmas twist on the classic baklava. Or try these simple but delicious Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.
These yummy Christmas spiced cookies use simple ingredients but are very effective.
- Spices: Ground Ginger, Cinnamon, Mixed Spice and Nutmeg all combine to create the classic Lebkuchen 'Gingerbread' style spice mix. The smell when baking is just heavenly.
- Brown Sugar and Agave Syrup: Traditional lebkuchen is made with honey. I substitute a mix of these two sweeteners for the stickyness and depth of flavour.
- Flour: You can use all purpose flour or even spelt flour.
- Ground Almonds: these provide a pleasing texture and slight nuttiness.
- Vegan Butter: I like to use Naturali butter, but you can choose your favourite vegan butter block.
- 1 Lemon: juice and zest. For a lovely fragrance that really 'lifts' the cookie taste!
- Icing Sugar/Powdered Sugar: Mixed with a little water, this becomes the classic glaze that the lebkuchen are dipped into.
- Optional: Chocolate for dipping or decorating. Chocolate goes really well with the lebkuchen spices, but you don't have to use it, it's a personal preference.
For the full recipe and ingredients for these Vegan Lebkuchen, head to the recipe card below!
- First melt your butter, sugar and agave syrup. Mix until the sugar is properly melted
2. In a large bowl, sift in the flour and spices. Then mix the butter/sugar mix into the flour.
3. Add the bicarb soda, the lemon zest and slowly add the lemon juice until you have a sticky dough.
4. You will end up with a sticky dough, so to help with rolling out, Chill the dough in the fridge for half an hour- or even overnight.
5. On a non-stick mat or board, roll the dough out to about 5mm thick.
Now you can cut out pretty shapes. Make sure to use quite simple shapes as the dough is quite fragile.
6. Lay the shapes on a lined baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes until just turning golden. Leave to cool completely on a rack.
7. To glaze, mix the icing powder with water and dip the cookies in.
8. Then if you choose to add chocolate, you can now dip or drizzle the chocolate over the lebkuchen cookies! Be sure to cool the chocolate covered ones on a non-stick baking sheet or they will stick to the tray (I know this from silly experience!)
Rolling out the dough- The dough is quite sticky, so make sure the dough is chilled before rolling it out! If it's too wet, add a tiny amount of flour to help it out.
Making the dough- When adding the lemon juice, do it bit by bit. Not all lemons are the same size so you might end up with more juice than you need! You'll know the dough is ready when it comes together in a sticky mass, that can still be smooshed together into a smooth ball.
Cutting out the cookie shapes- the lebkuchen dough is quite fragile so I suggest using a simple cookie cutter shape (a plain star for example, rather than a fancy pants one). A good non-stick surface to roll out on is also essential. I like this silicon mat for pastry work.
Up to a month in an airtight container, or probably longer. They're designed to stay soft and slightly chewy.
These are fun little vegan sprinkles that we found on Amazon.
No, you do you! Eat them plain and unglazed. Or just dipped into chocolate.
Add a little more water for a thin coating, or it's also just as nice to make a thicker coating.
Add a little more plain flour and mix well, bit by bit until the dough is able to easily be moulded into a smooth ball. Refrigerate for a bit to make it easier to roll out.
Why not make lots of cookies or treats for Christmas, alongside these vegan lebkuchen to hand around to your friends just like they do in Germany! Who knows, you might start your own friend's tradition!
- Coconut Shortbread Stars
- The Best Vegan Gingerbread People
- Granny's Famous Rum Balls made Vegan!
- Vegan Cinnamon and Macadamia Biscuits with White Chocolate Drizzle
Vegan Lebkuchen Gingerbread Cookies
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
For the Cookies
- 100 g (½ cups) brown sugar
- 100 g (3 ½ oz) agave or maple syrup (I used agave, but maple is fine too)
- 200 g (1.6 cups) plain flour
- 85 g (3 oz) vegan butter (I like naturali block, but use your favourite)
- 100 g (⅞ cups) ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated is nicest)
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
For the Decorating
- 100 g (⅞ cups) icing sugar (also known as powdered sugar)
- 2 tablespoon warm water
- 100 g (3 ½ oz) Dark vegan chocolate (totally optional!)
To make the lebkuchen Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas Mark 6
- Melt the butter and mix in the syrup and brown sugar. Make sure the sugar is properly melted.
- Remove from the stove, and mix together all the dry ingredients, including the zest of the lemon.
- Carefully mix the melted butter mixture into the flour mixture. It will be not quite wet enough.
- Now carefully add in lemon juice bit by bit. You'll end up with a soft sticky dough.
- Form the dough into a ball and refridgerate for half an hour. This makes it easier to roll out.
- Once the dough is cooled, roll out onto a non-stick surface and press out the cookies into shapes.
- Put the cookies onto 2 lined baking trays and bake for around 15 minutes.
- Depending on your cookie shape, you might need to do 3 trays of cookies! You can keep rolling the dough out until there is none left. I have even cheated with the leftovers and just rolled up with my hands and squished out onto the tray !
- The cookies are ready when they are slightly puffed up and gently golden. They will still be quite soft when you remove them from the oven, so let them cool before handling them.
- Allow to properly cool on a rack before decorating.
How to decorate the Vegan Lebkuchen
- Allow the lebkuchen to cool.
- Mix together the sugar and water. How much water you add will affect the thickness of the glaze so do how you wish!
- Dip the cookies into the glaze and allow to set. Add little stars here if you want.
- Alternatively, melt chocolate and dip the cookies in the chocolate, allowing to dry on non-stick baking paper.