Twenty seven and a half dozen of these cookies.
I really don't know how or why that happened, but no matter.
It's Sunday, the 21st, and I've shipped out tons of cookies and given out more...not that many cookie baskets/plates left to distribute, and still...I have TONS of lebkuchen left. Next year I won't make 4 batches. What was I thinking??
Anyway. I've posted about them before, of course, when I made them last year. So this year's post is more of a pictorial story rather than an illustrated narrative. At the end of the post, I'll also have a link to the printable recipe. I've been trying to set those up in conjunction with the posts.
Oh - and in addition to my addled decision to make 4 batches, I also (and honest, I'm actually pretty good at math) managed to...um...octuple the quantities for the candied orange peel and candied citron. Yes. OCTuple. And of course, I didn't realize that right away, either.
I was all busy thinking about how clever I was because instead of chopping up all the candied orange and citron by hand, I'd just throw them into the food processor in batches, along with the almonds in the recipe (which need to be ground up). So I opened up all the little 4 oz containers of candied stuff, dumped it all into a big bowl, and put the almonds in another bowl.
I scooped some of the nuts into the food processor, buzzed them up a bit first, and then added some of the candied peel.
I processed that a bit until it looked like this:
I was pretty pleased with myself...until I was about halfway done and it occurred to me that there was an AWFUL lot of this stuff, quadruple batch or not. And then a horrible, ugly light bulb flashed on in my head.
See, in a single batch, the recipe calls for 1 cup of almonds, 1/2 cup of candied citron and 1/2 cup of candied orange peel. Those candied things are sold in 4 oz packages, which is equal to 1/2 cup. So, for one batch, you need two containers - one each of orange and citron. Now, I don't know exactly how this happened in my head, but I think it went something like this. I was quadrupling the recipe, right? So I'd need 4 times the basic amount. So, if I'd been thinking straight, I'd need 4 half-cup containers of orange and 4 half-cup containers of citron. A total, therefore, of 8 containers. Somehow, somewhere, I screwed that up and thought I needed 8 little containers of EACH kind of peel. And then my brain was further tormented at the store because there were only 7 containers of orange. WHAT TO DO????? I ended up getting 7 of orange, 7 of citron, and 2 of lemon. So...16 containers...8 cups...not the ONLY 4 CUPS I really and truly required.
Measure twice, cut once, folks. Learn from my addle-pated mistakes.
Oh, and so here I was with way too much assorted candied peel, ground up with the right amount of almonds, which was the amount needed for 4 batches, but only half of what I'd need for the 8 batches. And too late to separate out the almonds - they were already mixed in with the peel.
So. I divided that whole mixture in two and froze one portion to give (probably) to a friend of ours who loves lebkuchen. He'll also be getting a LOT of the lebkuchen I made, so he'll be pretty well set for life, I'm thinking.
Anyway, to the remaining blend of peel and almonds, I added in enough ground almonds to bring all the proportions into balance and harmony. Finally, I was ready to get going. I think I wasted a good hour on all that lunacy.
Oh, and the other thing...since there's so much stuff in these cookies, and the dough is rather stiff to work initially, I decided to mix the dough in 4 separate batches. So I measured everything out accordingly, and had all my little groupings of ingredients along one side of the counter. Batch by batch, I made my lebkuchen and wrapped and refrigerated the dough as I went along. Later that day, I started the cutting and the baking.
The dough is rolled out 1/4-1/8 inch thick, depending on your preference. The thicker dough yields a chewier cookie, which is how I make them.
This year, in another bold move, I used a fluted-edged cutter instead of a plain one. I know. I'm such a maverick. Heh heh.
I started out with a cutter about 2 1/2" in diameter, and then, because I like to make more work for myself, I switched to a smaller one. About 1 1/2" or so. Maybe a bit bigger. But still. Smaller.
I ended up with 46 of the larger cookies, and - hold on to your butlers - 284 smaller ones. TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FOUR. I need my head examined. So...that's a total of almost 4 dozen larger cookies and...let me see...mumble mumble mumble...carry the one...TWENTY-THREE AND TWO-THIRDS DOZEN of the smaller cookies. Apparently I am planning to distribute a cookie to everyone in the contiguous United States this December. I'm well on my way.
Anyway, once they'd all baked and cooled, I packed them away in plastic containers and did the glazing part another day.
For the glaze, it's just a mixture of confectioners' sugar and hot water, whisked and whisked until smooth and shiny.
In the past, I've used a spoon to smear the glaze on the cookies. Then, for the past couple of years, I've dipped the cookie in the glaze and allowed it to drip off a bit before setting the cookie on a rack to allow the glaze to dry.
This year, I came up with another method that I like even better. I painted the glaze on with a little cheap-o 1" brush you can get at the grocery store along with the other kitchen tools.
I left the cookies out to dry overnight, and then packed them back up in the containers again.
Well. Most of them.
If you'd like to see the original lebkuchen post from last year, go here.
And if you'd like a printable version of this recipe (without all the mistakes I made this year), you can go here.