Lebkuchen with a Mānuka Twist
If you have ever gone to the Christmas markets in Germany you have likely seen Lebkuchen is hanging from stalls.
(⅔ cup) Multifloral Mānuka Honey
125 gcaster sugar
125 gcopha (vegetable shortening), chopped
500 g(2 ⅔ cups) plain flour
25 g(2 tbsp) baking cocoa
20 g(2 tbsp) Lebkuchen spice (see Note)
5 g(1 tsp) potash (see Note)
1 tbsp water
½ tsp lemon juice
240 g(1 ½ cups) pure icing sugar, sifted
Place honey, sugar and copha in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat, stirring gently until melted and bubbling. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour into a heat-resistant bowl.
Sift together the flour, cocoa and Lebkuchen spice. Beat half of the flour mixture into the honey mixture using an electric hand mixer on the heaviest setting. Mix in the egg. Dissolve the potash separately in water, stirring until dissolved, then mix into the dough until incorporated. Beat in the remaining flour mixture, a little at a time.
When the dough starts to become dry, turn out onto a floured work surface and knead little until smooth. The dough should be nice and warm and easy to work.
Shape into a flat disc, cover with cling film and rest in fridge for 2 hours or until chilled. The dough can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks before baking.
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Allow Lebkuchen dough to come to almost room temperature, then cut into 4 equal portions. Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin, then evenly roll out dough to about ½ - 1cm thick (½ cm for cut-out shapes). Chill the dough for 1 hour or until firm enough to cut shapes easily.
Cut out desired shapes using cookie cutters or create desired shapes using paper templates laid atop the dough and cut around with a small sharp knife. If you wish to hang the Lebkuchen, punch a small hole at the top using a straw.
Place on oven trays lined with baking paper and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes for smaller shapes, being careful not to burn the edges.
Lightly whisk egg white and lemon juice together in a bowl, gradually adding icing sugar. Whisk mixture together until combined and smooth. Paste food colouring can also be added to the icing if desired. Spoon mixture into piping bag and decorate biscuits as you wish.