Candied Ginger Lebkuchen

Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Makes 4 dozen
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The inspiration for these cookies are the iconic German lebkuchen, a highly-spiced cookie that’s often baked and cut into large squares or portioned into large rounds and topped with whole almonds. Here, most of the traditional spices take a backseat to allow the piquancy of ginger to shine in the foreground. Crystallized ginger adds its own distinct ginger bite and studs the soft, cake-like cookie beautifully. A simple powdered sugar glaze offers a blank canvas for whatever color sprinkles you want. Or, to keep it even simpler, top each with a single slice of more candied ginger.

This recipe is a part of the L.A. Times 2022 Holiday Bar Cookies.


Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with baking spray, then line the bottom and two long sides with a sheet of parchment paper, cut to fit so it lies perfectly flat in the pan. Bend the excess parchment paper over the edges of the pan. If using metal binder clips, fasten the parchment to the edges of the pan (see Essential Bar Cookie Equipment).


In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, ground ginger, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the brown sugar, butter and molasses, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the sour cream and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and minced crystallized ginger, and beat on low speed just until combined.


Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until the top of the dough is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only one or two crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the cookie slab cool completely.


Using the overhanging parchment paper like a sling, lift the slab from the pan and transfer it to a cutting board; slide out and discard the parchment. Using a long, thin knife and a ruler as a guide, cut the slab into 6 lengthwise rows by 8 crosswise columns to make 48 squares.


In a small, wide bowl, whisk the powdered sugar with the milk until smooth. Spoon 1 teaspoon of icing over the top of each square, letting it drip down the sides, and scatter over sprinkles while the icing is still wet. Let stand until the icing hardens, about 10 minutes, before serving.