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Catholic Recipe: Lebkuchen III (Inexpensive)


  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 pound brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 ounces citron, cut fine
  • 1/4 pound almonds or pecans
  • Details

  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 11+
  • Origin: Germany

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

On the old feast of St. Thomas' Day (December 21), Christmas baking begins, and from now on the house will be filled with a cloud of delicious smells. Some of this Christmas baking — the choicest delicacies in the realm of cookies and candies — will be hung on the Christmas tree, which is altogether different from an American one. Of the many varieties we always preferred the cookies known as Lebkuchen (or Lebzelten).

[Lebkuchen means "bread of life," and the name seems to be more than a coincidence when one thinks of it as the traditional bread baked for the birthday of the One Who said, "I have come that you may have life and that you may have it more abundantly." To Austrians, there are some cookies so connected with Christmas that they are an absolute "must." Of these, Lebkuchen is Number One.]

They get better with age, and they are responsible for the unique scent known in our family as "Christmas smell." This is a less expensive recipe, used by the Trapp family during the war years.


Beat eggs and sugar until fluffy. Mix flour and cinnamon with finely chopped nuts and citron; combine the two mixtures. Bake in two greased 10-by-15-inch pans in a moderate oven, 375° F., for 25 minutes. Frost with plain icing.

Recipe Source: Around the Year with the Trapp Family by Maria Augusta Trapp, Pantheon Books Inc., New York, New York, 1955
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