German immigrants brought the recipe for this traditional Christmas cookie to Missouri in the 1800s. Lebkuchen cookies sit in sealed containers to “ripen” for a month before being consumed at Christmas. They were prepared around nut harvesting time in November and eaten at Christmas. They are kind of like a granola bar or a fruitcake without fruit.
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- Heat molasses, lard, sugar and brown sugar, mix together, and then let cool.
- Add baking soda to buttermilk in a mixing bowl, and then add the molasses mixture and the rest of the ingredients. Mix together until a wet dough forms.
- Place dough on a sheet of waxed paper. Use your hands to shape the dough into a log-shaped roll. When the dough becomes too sticky to shape with your hands, wrap it in wax paper and continue shaping. Tip: You can cut the dough into 2 rolls if it’s hard to shape.
- Chill overnight with the wax paper around the dough.
- Slice and bake at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes.
- To “ripen,” store the baked cookies in an airtight container (like a stone jar or plastic container) at room temperature for a month, or freeze and eat them next year.
- For serving, combine powdered sugar with water until you have a drizzling consistency. Then drizzle over "ripened" cookies (optional)
Tip: You can also freeze the dough and then thaw and bake it later.