Original Elisen Gingerbread

GingerDSC_8483Northern Europe, knows a large variety of gingerbreads, they originate from the honey breads and pepper cakes, also called Lebkuchen in German. You can choose from the Nordic pepper cake style such as the Swedish ‘Peparkaka’ or the Hamburger Braune Kuchen. A simpler dough is used for Gingerbread houses (Pfefferkuchenhaus). Then there are Pfeffernüsse, the chewy round sugar glazed balls. Around Aachen you can find Printen, bare or chocolate glazed ‘logs’ of rock sugar studded very hard gingerbread. A very old variety is the diamond shaped spicy Magenbrot. Simple Supermarket ‘Lebkuchen’ are chewy floury dough stars and pretzels, also jam filled hearts, and ‘Domino cubes’ covered with dark chocolate. And then there are Elisen Lebkuchen. The original Elisen recipe from Nuremburg, was made without flour. Marzipan, ground nuts, honey, sugared orange and lemon rinds and a variety of spices were used to create this kind of chewy Gingerbread which is relatively pricey for its superior ingredients and not easy to get in the U.S.
Looking for some time for an original recipe I found one, that I could adjust to local ingredients . My last real Elisen cookie in a from the original Nürnberg factory was used as a comparison last weekend. Tastewise, I believe I came very close. The recipe does not use eggs or extra fat in the dough, works with very little flour and has no sugar besides the one used in the marzipan and jam.

My recipe still needs some improvement. The dough was a little dry and did not smoothen on the wafers during the baking process. As I had calculated the Farenheit a bit on the safe side, I could also have baked it a bit longer or increase the heat to get the doug dryer. Another idea is to roast spices and nuts before applying to the mixture and last not least, the ganache… a great idea as it tasted good, and was easy to work with, but it was melting too easily in the warm living room, that we all ended up with sticky fingers… 

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