Last month, I was contacted by a fellow chocoholic and asked whether I’d be interested in checking out the first edition of a new fortnightly magazine series called Baked and Delicious. Interested? But of course! It’s been years since I’ve allowed myself to buy a cooking magazine, due to a teenage tendency to buy too many of the glossy specimens at once and a teenage tendency to [almost] never cook from any of them.
As a result, the opportunity to receive a baking magazine – and a baking magazine that comes with free silicone bakeware every month, no less – was something I latched onto with glee. After all, who am I to turn down dessert recipes accompanied by gaudily-coloured muffin cases?
Behold, Baked and Delicious and its gaudily-coloured muffin cases:
Flicking through Baked and Delicious, which is subtitled “International Classics to Bake at Home”, I was impressed by its blend of sweet, savoury, simple and complex recipes. I almost made the Baked and Delicious recipe for Rosemary and Thyme Focaccia, because I love rosemary and thyme, but then I remembered that yeast and I have a relationship much like Inspector Gadget and Dr. Claw. In other words, we’ve never met, but we’re arch enemies anyway.
I lingered over the above photo of a Gâteau St Honoré, imagining how the interplay of caramel shards and whipped cream would taste. I wondered whether Baked and Delicious’ macaron recipe could approximate the experience of the 66 macarons I ate in Paris, then decided that the magazine’s step-by-step instructional photos of certain recipes could help novice bakers feel calm in the kitchen. (Both novice and expert bakers alike can subscribe to the magazine here.)
Ultimately, though, my thoughts and eyes kept returning to the Baked and Delicious recipe for Lebkuchen. According to the magazine, “Germany’s favourite festive cookies are Lebkuchen, which means ginger biscuits, but several other spices come into play too. Lebkuchen can be iced or chocolate coated, but these are decorated with edible gold leaf for that extra special occasion”.
I must admit that my rendition of this recipe bypassed the gold leaf, but what most certainly was not bypassed was the deliciousness. I have an undying and deep love for all things gingerbread-esque or pain d’epice-inspired, and these Lebkuchen ticked both boxes. Remarkably easy to make (and bake), I would’ve happily gobbled up the entire batch myself, but was equally delighted to share with my work colleagues.
Luckily for me, my colleagues were also happy to receive the cookies.
In the words of Jenni: *heel click*
In the words of my boss: Who ate the last cookie?!
In the words of me: Oops! I’m sorry, [boss]. That was me. I thought you’d gone home for the day…
And that, my friends, is how I became both the Office Lebkuchen Fairy and the Office Lebkuchen Thief.
Lebkuchen (Spiced Ginger Cookies)
Recipe from Baked and Delicious
Makes 20-30 biscuits
- 250g/9oz plain flour
- 75g/3oz ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- zest of an orange and lemon (I only used lemon, because oranges are the devil’s fruit)
- 200ml/7fl.oz clear honey
- 85g unsalted butter
- halved blanched almonds and gold leaf, to decorate (optional)
- Mix the flour, ground almond, baking powder, bicarb, spices, and zest in a large bowl.
- Gently melt the honey and butter together in a small saucepan, then tip into dry ingredients and mix into a fairly stiff dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave the mixture to cool and solidify a little bit.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Roll the dough into balls of about 3cm across and place on tow large baking trays lined with parchment paper, with plenty of space in between. Put an almond in the centre of each cookie (um… oops) and sprinkle with gold leaf to decorate (um… oops again).
- Bake for about 15 minutes until risen and golden, then turn out to cool on wire racks.