Pfefferkuchen, also known as Lebkuchen, is a German Christmas spice cookie, similar to gingerbread. There are many regional variations ( the most well-known is the Nürnberger Lebkuchen) to this traditional Christmas treat, but are usually flavoured with honey and spices and containing nuts and citron. Those Pfefferkuchen are not only great with coffee, they are also a wonderful accompaniment with cheese from FineFoodSpecialist, blue cheese particularly, and wine.
Pottasche or pearlash is also known as potassium carbonate (K2CO3). It is an alkaline salt which reacts with water or an acid to create carbon dioxide, which gives baked goods lift.
Whole Spelt Pfefferkuchen
adapted from Eat Smarter
- Dissolve the potash with warm water in a small bowl. Heat the honey and chai in a small pot. Stir in vanilla sugar, milk sugar, and coconut oil. Stir until the mixture is warm and well blended. Remove it from the heat and set aside until ready for use.
- Whisk together the chopped almonds, whole spelt flour, lemon zest, and spices in a mixing bowl. Add in dissolved potash and honey-chai mixture. Using a hand mixer fitted with dough hooks, mix at low speed until you have a firm dough.
- Place the dough in a large bowl, dust with a little of flour and cover it with a plastic film. Leave it on the kitchen counter for at least 1 week or up to 6 weeks to allow for the development of aroma and flavours.
- Thoroughly knead the dough one more time, and place it between two sheets of plastic films. Roll out the dough to a 5-mm / ¼-inch thickness. Cut into diamond shapes or use your favourite cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Place them on the parchment lined baking trays.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the baking trays briefly. Transfer the cookies on the wire racks to cool completely before storing in the air-tighter containers.