German Lebkuchen – Vegan and Gluten Free!

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As a kid I LOVED making Lebkuchen cookies, which is basically a German version of gingerbread cookies. I hadn’t made them for years, but my recent travels in Europe inspired me to try coming up with a vegan version.

Lebkuchen is traditionally a honey based cookie with lots of spices, so substituting the honey with molasses, sugar and maple syrup does give it a bit of a different taste, as well as a darker cookie, but other than that, this recipe turned out AMAZING! The cookies are also very light, something you don’t get with traditional lebkuchen.

I also made two options for the icing. You can use the traditional confectioners sugar, lemon juice and vanilla, or you can use my lemon coconut icing that I will include the recipe for below.

So without further ado…let us begin!

You will need:

  • 2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • other: sliced almonds and currants for topping

For the icing you have two options:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

For the coconut lemon icing, you will need:

  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

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Step 1:

Prepare your flax egg, In a cup or small container, mix the 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed with the 2 tablespoons of water, and set aside to thicken.

Step 2:

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the gluten free flour, almond meal, spices and baking powder, then set aside.

Step 3:

In a small pot over low heat, melt together the vegan butter/coconut oil, sugar, molasses and maple syrup. Remove from heat and let cool for a bit, then mix in the lemon juice, orange and lemon zest.

Step 4:

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix together. The batter will be runny, and not a dough like consistency. In order to create a more doughy texture, put the batter into a freezer bag, and freeze for at least 2 hours. If you want more spice, freeze the dough overnight.

Step 5:

When you are ready to bake the cookies, take the dough out of the freezer and let it defrost for a bit so it can be molded.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then grease your hands and roll the cookies into 1 inch balls. Press down the cookies into a tray lined with parchment paper.

Bake the cookies for 15 – 20 minutes. For crunchier cookies, bake for 20 minutes. For a more chewy texture, bake for 15.

Step 6: 

While the cookies are baking, you can make the frosting. Add your 1/2 cup coconut cream, sugar, lemon and vanilla in a bowl, and beat together. The coconut cream may become more soft, so you can put the frosting mixture in the fridge to harden.

If you want to use the traditional sugar icing, mix the confectioners sugar, lemon and vanilla together, then set aside. Do not put this mix in the fridge or it will harden and you can’t drizzle it onto the cookies.

Step 7:

Once the cookies are done baking, take out of the oven and let it cool. Take your frosting out of the fridge and spread it over the cookies. Top with some sliced almonds and black currant, and eat!

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You can top the cookies with either currents, raisins, almonds, or a mixture of both. You can also eat them without frosting as plain gingerbread.

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These cookies also taste great with coffee!

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Enjoy!

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