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Catholic Recipe: Elisen-Lebkuchen


  • 5 eggs
  • 1 pound dark brown sugar
  • 1 pound grated unblanched almonds
  • 1/2 cup citron, chopped
  • 1/2 cup candied orange peel, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered nutmeg
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • Round oblaten*  Egg White Icing
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups confections sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice  Chocolate Icing
  • 4 ounces dark semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup butter


Yield: about 40

Prep Time: 10 hours

Difficulty: • •

Cost: $$$$

For Ages:11+

Origin: Germany


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Also Called: St. Elizabeth's Lebkuchen; Lebzelten; Life Cake; Lebkucken

These medieval style spiced cookies are made with a larger percentage of ground almonds than flour, and are baked on a thin edible white wafer. "Elisen" is believed to be derived from the name "Elizabeth," the patron saint of medieval bakers.


*The oblaten can be found either at bakers supply companies or fine gourmet shops.

Beat eggs and sugar until mixture is thick. Fold in almonds, candied fruits, spices and lemon rind. Stir well. Spread in mounds on wafers. Place on a greased baking sheet and let dry uncovered, in a warm room, overnight. Bake in a preheated 300 degree oven about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely and brush cookies with icing.

Egg White Icing Whip egg whites until they stand in stiff peaks. Add sugar and lemon juice and continue beating until thick and glossy.

Chocolate Icing Melt chocolate over hot water until dissolved. Cut butter into small pieces and stir into chocolate until melted. Spread while warm.