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Catholic Recipe: Lebkuchen I

    INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded orange peel
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped citron
  • 2 cups chopped blanched almonds
  • 1-1/3 cups honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt Icing
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 5 teaspoons boiling water
  • Details

  • Prep Time: 1 day, 2 hours
  • Difficulty: • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 15+
  • Origin:

Also Called: Lebzelten; Life Cake; Lebkucken; Life Cookies

The cookie that spells Christmas to Florence Berger would be the sweet, honeyed Lebkucken. Some modern writers have explained the name Lebenkicken or Life Cake as a cookie hard and heavy enough to have a long life. That sounds like utter foolishness. They are too good to live long in anyone's cookie jar.

The life cake is, rather, a religious symbol of the new life which we find at Christmas. When we Catholics receive the consecrated Host at the Christmas Mass, we pray: "May the new life derived from this Sacrament ever revive us, O Lord: since it is His Sacrament whose wonderful birth hath overcome the old man." The Lebkucken is a perfect carry-over of the Bread of Life to a special feast day cake. Anyone who is sensitive to symbolic language can understand its Christmas message. We do not hold Christmas merely as a memory of the Lord's birth, but each year we, too, are reborn into Christ and die to the old man of sin so that we might be a "people acceptable."

DIRECTIONS

Boil honey, sugar and water for five minutes. Beat in the eggs. Add sifted dry ingredients. Stir in fruit and almonds. Cover, and let stand overnight to ripen. Roll one-fourth inch thick. Cut into rectangles one inch wide by three inches long. Give cookies plenty of room on greased sheet. Bake in moderate oven (350°) for 15 minutes. When cool, cover with icing.

Recipe Source: Cooking for Christ by Florence Berger, National Catholic Rural Life Conference, 4625 Beaver Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50310, 1949, 1999
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