Learn how to make a traditional German Christmas treat!

What is Lebkuchen?

Lebkuchen is a special kind of gingerbread. It was first made many hundreds of years ago by monks in Germany.

In those days, the ingredients - honey, nuts and spices from far, far away - were a luxury. That is why the monks only baked it on special occasions.

Today, Lebkuchen is still a speciality and people in Germany eat it mainly at Christmas.

What's the best thing about Lebkuchen?

You can make a house out of it! Yes, really! - a house made almost entirely out of gingerbread and covered in sweets.

German kids love these gingerbread houses and many families make them at Christmas time.

You can find out how to make one here, but make sure you get an adult to help you before you begin!

Things you will need

A <em>Lebkuchenhaus</em> A Lebkuchenhaus

For the dough you will need:

  • 200g margarine
  • 250g sugar
  • 500g honey
  • 15g mixed spices (cinnamon, coriander, aniseed, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom)
  • 15g cocoa
  • 1kg self-raising flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs

For sticking the parts together and the snow:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 500g icing sugar
  • extra icing sugar for decoration, as well as almonds, small biscuits, smarties, wine gums, food colouring etc.
  • cotton wool for the chimney

You will also need:

  • A ruler
  • A sharp knife
  • Silver foil

Before you start, make sure you get an adult to help you!

Before you start

The templates The templates

You can download the templates to cut out the dough as a PDF file.

Click here for the Lebkuchenhaus template (PDF)

Step 1

Mix the margarine, sugar, honey, cocoa and spices in a small saucepan. Then put the small saucepan with the mixture into a larger saucepan, which is filled with boiling water. Stir the mixture until the sugar is runny.

Step 2

Remove the saucepan with the mixture from the hot water bath, then mix in the flour, salt and eggs. Put the mixture onto a smooth surface and knead the mixture until you get a smooth dough.

Step 3

The dough The dough

Cover the dough with a cloth and put it into the fridge for at least one hour.

Step 4

The <em>Lebkuchenhaus</em> pieces The Lebkuchenhaus pieces

Roll the dough until it is approx. 0.5cm thick, cut out the parts for the house (see sketch!) and put them onto a greased baking tin. Bake in oven for approx. 10 - 15 minutes at 200-220 degrees. Now remove the parts from the tin and cut edges straight.

Figures, trees and doors should be decorated before they are added to the house!

Here is how:

Step 5

Building the house Building the house

Mix the 3 egg whites and 500g icing sugar to make an edible 'glue'. Make sure the 'glue' is nice and thick, otherwise it won't stick. (If necessary, add more icing sugar.)

Step 6

Taking shape Taking shape

Using this edible glue, you can stick smarties, wine gums etc. onto the house and figures.

If the house keeps falling over, you can try sticking the walls onto a floor made out of gingerbread, or directly on to a smooth surface or a tray.

Step 7

The finished house! The finished house!

For the snow, make a really thick icing sugar-egg white mixture (200g icing sugar/1 egg white) and trickle it over the roof. Stick a little cotton wool into the chimney for 'smoke'. For a finishing touch, sprinkle some icing sugar over the house.

Words Ahoy! ยท Wörter Ahoi!

Deutsch English
die Margarine margarine
der Zucker sugar
der Honig honey
die Gewürze spices
der Kakao cocoa
das Mehl flour
das Salz salt
die Eier eggs