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Esay German Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

Did you ever try German Gingerbread Cookies? I have a serious addiction to anything related to gingerbread, but the traditional German gingerbread cookies are truly on of the most delicious things in the world. That’s why I want to show you how to bake those super soft and moist gingerbread cookies yourself. To do so I’ve modified the classic Bavarian “Elisenlebkuchen” recipe a bit, for a lower sugar version without flour, candied orange and lemon peel. So, without further ado let’s dive right in and let me show you how to make German Gingerbread Cookies at home.

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German Gingerbread cookie recipe with dates, apricots and nuts

Nuremberg Gingerbread Cookies

Elisenlebkuchen are queens among German gingerbread cookies. That’s why we also call them the finest gingerbread. One reason for this is the very low flour content in this very traditional German gingerbread recipe. This ensures that the cookies are incomparably moist and soft. This type of gingerbread has its origin in Nuremberg, a city in the south of Germany, in Bavaria. The city is famous for its large and traditional Christmas market, which is one of the oldest in Germany. And of course, the delicacy par excellence there are the Elisenlebkuchen.

A genuine Nuremberg gingerbread cookie must contain at least a quarter of nuts. This can be either almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or a mixture of these three. At the same time, it cannot consist of more than 10% flour. This, as already mentioned, is the reason for its incomparable juiciness. By the way, the real premium German gingerbread cookies do not contain any flour at all. The fine, incomparable note is given to the gingerbread by a spice mixture of star anise, cinnamon, cloves, coriander and mace blossoms.  

If there’s one Christmas cookie I couldn’t live without, it’s gingerbread. And while I used to love mostly the plain chocolate gingerbread, I now prefer a moist traditional “Elisenlebkuchen”. From my point of view, the only downside to these gingerbread cookies is the candied orange and lemon peel. I can’t put my finger on why, but for some reason I don’t particularly like either of them. So, I thought I’d try to modify the classic German gingerbread cookie recipe so that we can not only reduce the amount of sugar, but also omit the candied orange and lemon peel.

To replace the brown sugar, you have two options. Frist option is to use a calorie-free equivalent. For example, a erythritol product which has this classic caramel flavor of brown sugar. Or if you don’t have that on hand, you can also use a combination of erythritol (or another calorie-free sweetener) and coconut blossom sugar. That’s how I did it, too. And if you don’t have any calorie-free sweetener at home, you can also just use just coconut blossom sugar or regular brown sugar.

I also wanted to make the recipe no more complicated than necessary. So, instead of using a variety of different spices, I just used a gingerbread spice mix. It’s much easier and it’s much cheaper than buying all spices individually.

ingredients for German gingerbread cookies

Ingredients

  • 100 grams or 3.5 oz of Medjool dates (4 dates) and 100 grams or ½ cup of dried apricots
  • 3 medium-sized eggs
  • 80 grams or 2.8 oz (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) of a calorie-free “brown sugar” or 60 grams or 1.7 oz (1/3 cup) of erythritol and 20 grams (two and a half teaspoons) of coconut blossom sugar (for more information see above)
  • Two teaspoons of honey
  • 125 grams or 4.4 oz each of ground almonds (2/3 cups) and ground hazelnuts (1 ¼ cup)
  • One and a half teaspoons of gingerbread spice, a pinch of salt and half a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • A bit of lemon and orange zest
  • 12 gingerbread wafers with 70mm in diameter
  • For decorating: dark chocolate and, or (calorie-free) powdered sugar

As you can see, you don’t need any flour for this German gingerbread cookie recipe. So, in this point we strictly adhere to the quality characteristics of the original recipe. However, it also has the advantage that our cookies will be gluten-free.

German Gingerbread Cookies

Well, now it’s time to talk about the actual recipe. First thing you will need to take care of are the dates in apricots, which replace the candied orange and lemon peel. To do this, pit the dates and then cut both, dates and apricots, as small as possible. In terms of shape and size they should resemble the candied orange and lemon peel.

dates and dried apricots for healthier German gingerbread cookies

Next, just as in the traditional Bavarian gingerbread cookie recipe, you need to beat the eggs with the sugar until foamy. In our case, that means you put the egg, your calorie-free sweetener and honey in a large mixing bowl. If you use erythritol and coconut blossom sugar, you can add both directly to the eggs. Now grab a hand mixer and whip it for at least four to five minutes until the mixture becomes fluffy. Of course, you can also use a kitchen machine for this.

Now you can add the remaining ingredients, including the date and apricot pieces, and gently fold them in with a spatula. Then lay out the wafers on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and spread the batter evenly on the wafers. You can also use a large 6 cm diameter ice cream scoop. This way you can make sure that each gingerbread will be the same size and thus have the same baking time. Alternatively, you can measure out the dough when portioning and use about 60 grams of dough per gingerbread. Next you can bake your German gingerbread cookies in the preheated oven at 300°F for about 20 to 25 minutes.

how to make german gingerbread cooies

Gingerbread Cookies With Dark Chocolate & Icing

Once the gingerbread is done, you can decorate the cookies. The classic Nuremberg gingerbread cookies are either covered with dark chocolate or an icing. Personally, I can’t say which one I like better, so I ended up with three different kinds. Some I coated with dark chocolate, some with a sugar-free icing and a few I just left as is. Cause honestly, these cookies are also incredible delicious by their own.

To cover the cookies with chocolate, you should first let them cool down completely. Then you can melt 2/3 of your chocolate over a water bath. As soon as the chocolate is liquid, you can take it off the water bath and stir in the remaining chocolate and let it melt. Then you can spread it over your gingerbread cookies and spread it evenly.

For the icing variety, it’s best to cover them with the frosting before the cookies are cooled down completely. To keep the icing low in calories, you can use erythritol instead of powdered sugar. By quickly putting it in a blender, you can turn it into powdered sugar and then mix it with water or lemon juice to make a glaze. Alternatively, you can also use store-bought calorie-free icing sugar or use regular powdered sugar.

German gingerbread cookie recipe

I hope you like this easy German gingerbread cookie recipe and give it a try. If you have any questions or suggestions about this recipe, just drop them in the comments or send me an email or message via Instagram (@julesbalancedrecipes). And if you like the recipe, I would appreciate a rating on this recipe. It’s easy to do via the comment function below this post.

Have fun trying it out and bon appétit,
Jules

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easy and healthier german gingerbread cookie recipe

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German Gingerbread Cookie Recipe with dates and apricots

Easy German Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

Julia Schmitt
Soft and moist German gingerbread cookies without candied orange and lemon peel as well as flour. Instead this recipe is made with dates, dried apricotes and less suger. But they taste as least as good as the original ones which is why they are a must try for the upcoming holiday season.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
cooling time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course pastries, Snack
Cuisine german
Servings 12 cookies
Calories 208 kcal

Equipment

  • hand mixer or kitchen machine
  • mixing bowl
  • baking tray and parchment paper

Ingredients
  

Gingerbread Cookie Dough

  • 100 g Medjool dates
  • 100 g dried apricots
  • 3 medium-sized eggs
  • 80 g calorie-free brown suger (erythritol) alternativlely 60g erythritol and 20g coconut blossom sugar (more details and alternatives are listed in the blog post)
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 organic lemon
  • 1 organic orange
  • 125 g ground almonds
  • 125 g ground hazelnuts
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • tsp gingerbread spice
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 12 gingerbread wafers 7mm diameter

for the chocolate icing

  • 70 g erythritol or calorie-free powdered sugar (alternatively regular powdered sugar)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2-4 tsp water

Instructions
 

Bake Gingerbread Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Stone and finely dice dates, also finely dice apricots.
  • Beat eggs, erythritol (and coconut blossom sugar if using) as well as honey in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer or kitchen machine for five minutes until creamy. Rinse lemon and orange well and add some zest to egg mixture. Add remaining ingredients and gently fold in.
  • Spread wafers on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Spread 60 grams of gingerbread dough (which is equal to the amount of 1 big icecream scoop) on each wafer and flatten slightly with wet fingers, leaving one to two millimeters free at the edges. Bake the gingerbread for 20 to 25 minutes, then allow to cool.

Chocolate Coating

  • Melt 2/3 of the chocolate over water bath, remove from water bath, stir in remaining chocolate and let melt. Spread chocolate over cooled gingerbread and spread evenly with silicone brush, let chocolate harden.

Frosting

  • For a sugar-free icing, place erythritol briefly in blender and blend to powdered sugar (or use ready-made calorie-free powdered sugar). Halve the lemon you used earlier, squeeze and mix 1 teaspoon juice with water and calorie-free powdered sugar or normal powdered sugar and coat lukewarm gingerbread with it.

Notes

Tip: Gingerbread keeps best in the refrigerator.
Nutritional values per gingerbread (without coating or icing!);
  • calories: 208 kcal
  • fats: 13.1 g
  • carbohydrates: 16.2 g
  • protein: 5.8 g
Keyword christmas, cookies recipe, gluten-free, holiday, less sugar, vegetarian

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