Zehnder’s Lebkuchen is a sweet German cookie made with molasses, honey and cinnamon. A perfect holiday treat! A dozen cookies.
History of Lebkuchen
Lebkuchen originated back in the 1500’s in the city of Nuremberg. In those early days, the local monks baked these cookies and sold them at street fairs and at Christmas time to help support the monasteries where these monks lived.
By the 17th and 18th century, Arab traders from the East frequently passed through Nuremberg selling their treasures of exotic spices from the Orient at local markets – by now these spices became affordable for use by the common people.
Honey was the primary sweetener used for baking well into the 18th century when sugar cane from the Caribbean Islands and new American colonies took its place.
By the 17th and 18th century, the bakers’ guilds from Nuremberg had taken over the art of Lebkuchen baking. These bakers’ guilds trained bakers – one had to be a trained member of the guild to bake and sell these special cookies in Nuremberg. Lebkuchen were and still are today a traditional cookie sold at the Christkindlmarket in Nuremberg.
Each year from the first Saturday in December until Christmas Eve, Nuremberg hosts an outdoor Christmas Market where all types of foods and handmade Christmas decorations are sold.
Although many other Christmas markets now exist in Germany and Austria – the Nuremberg market is the largest and most well known.
The Nuremberg Lebkuchen is the standard by which all of these cookies are judged.
For a complete recipe on Lebkuchen, you can purchase Zehnder’s Most Iconic Recipes cookbook here.