As the holiday season approaches, there’s nothing quite like the warmth of home-baked treats to fill the air with festive cheer. This year, I decided to blend the rich traditions of Lebkuchen with the sweet comfort of maple syrup to create a delightful twist on a classic favorite. And, as I bake these delicious Maple Syrup Lebkuchen, I couldn’t help but reflect on the cherished tradition of writing letters to Santa.
A Twist on Tradition: Maple Syrup Lebkuchen
Lebkuchen, a spiced, soft gingerbread cookie with deep-rooted German origins, is a staple of holiday baking. This year, I decided to infuse this classic treat with the distinctive flavor of maple syrup, a sweet and warming touch that adds depth to every bite.
The Magic of Maple
Maple syrup, with its rich, caramel-like sweetness, brings a unique flavor profile to Lebkuchen. It perfectly complements the spices, adding a layer of complexity to the cookies. A dash of maple syrup in the dough and a drizzle on top before baking create a delightful contrast of textures and flavors.
The Perfect Blend
To create my Maple Syrup Lebkuchen, I combined traditional Lebkuchen ingredients like honey, molasses, and a blend of spices with the maple syrup. The result is a cookie that pays homage to its German roots while embracing the comforting essence of maple.
Baking Memories and Traditions
As I mixed, rolled, and baked these cookies, I couldn’t help but think about the holiday traditions that have shaped my family’s celebrations over the years.
Generations of Baking
Lebkuchen, like many holiday treats, is often passed down through generations. The act of baking these cookies connects me to my ancestors, reminding me of the love and care that went into creating holiday magic for generations before me.
Creating New Traditions
With my Maple Syrup Lebkuchen, I hope to create a new tradition that merges the old and the new. It’s a way to honor the past while embracing the flavors and experiences of the present.
My Letter to Santa
As the cookies baked in the oven, filling the kitchen with their irresistible aroma, I took a moment to sit down and write my letter to Santa. It’s a tradition that I’ve cherished since childhood, and one that continues to bring a sense of wonder and joy to the holiday season.
The Magic of Belief
Writing a letter to Santa is more than just a list of gifts; it’s a magical connection to the spirit of the season. It’s a way of embracing the belief in something greater than ourselves, a belief that transcends age and time.
Wishes and Gratitude
In my letter, I expressed not only my wishes but also my gratitude for the blessings in my life. It’s a reminder that the holiday season is about more than just receiving—it’s about giving, sharing, and expressing love and appreciation for those we hold dear.
As I savor the sweet, spiced goodness of my Maple Syrup Lebkuchen and send my letter to Santa, I’m reminded that the holiday season is a time to embrace both tradition and innovation. It’s a time to connect with the past while looking forward to the future. And, most importantly, it’s a time to spread love, joy, and kindness to those around us.
So, whether you’re baking cherished family recipes or creating new ones, or whether you’re writing a letter to Santa or simply taking a moment to reflect, may the holiday season fill your heart and home with warmth, love, and the magic of the season.
Maple Syrup Lebkuchen
500g maple syrup, light kind, number 2 grade (or half and half maple syrup and plain honey to reduce cost)
3 small/medium egg yolks
500g plain flour plus more flour for rolling out
100g rye flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice or allspice
400-600g finely chopped chocolate. Dark is usual but doesn’t need to be high cocoa solids, 50% is fine
Oven temperature 170 degrees C. You may need to bake in batches.
- Melt the syrup and honey if using until liquid (no need to do this if using all maple syrup)
- Add the egg yolks and buttermilk to the syrup/honey and mix.
- Sift the flours, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda plus spices into a bowl. Empty the rye pieces left in the sieve back into the bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold in gently. The mixture will be very sticky and sloppy. If it is too sloppy to handle you can add a little more flour.
- Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge overnight.
- Sprinkle the dough with flour and cut the dough roughly into half. Roll the dough out between two floured sheets of baking parchment to 1cm thick. Peel off the top layer of parchment, cut and carefully remove cookies onto a baking tray lined with parchment.
- Repeat with other piece of dough. Spare dough can be re-rolled.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on size (you will need to check after 12 minutes)
- Remove biscuits from tray and cool on a wire rack before string in a tin for up to 1 week.
- Cover with melted chocolate (temper the chocolate if you wish to make them shiner and glossier) and place on baking parchment to cool and set.
- Store in an airtight tin for up to 3 weeks.