Best way to keep lebkuchen from sticking to cookie sheet?

I'm starting Xmas baking and I made pfefferkuchen and I baked on parchment and greased and greased and floured pans and took them off hot and after they cooled,but the bottoms are slightly sticky and clump on the spatula and make the bottom uneven. Is there another way that I should be baking or different cookie sheets? I'm using shiny metal Nordic ware cookie sheets. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thank you



tiffanylee November 17, 2013
Thank you Maedl!!! I appreciate the recipe I started making it today. Two weeks seems so far away!!!
Maedl November 18, 2013
Let me know how it goes! I hope you love them as much as I do.
AntoniaJames November 16, 2013
Thank you, Maedl, for posting this! We also rolled and cut bars with a knife when we made Lebkuchen growing up. Your spice mixture is a bit more complex than the one in my mother's recipe, but it looks marvelous. Chris, have you found hartshorn locally? I have an idea where it might be available close by; I definitely plan to follow up on this, as I have a springerle recipe I've been meaning to try that calls for hartshorn. And I appreciate the suggestion to use rice paper! ;o)
Greenstuff November 16, 2013
Nordic House on San Pablo in Berkeley always has hartshorn. (for those of you who don't live here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I don't know if they have Oblaten, but I'm going to check it out.
Nadia H. November 16, 2013
After reading the whole thread again two more thoughts. The idea behind letting the Lekkuchen sit overnight is the same as with French macarons, they keep their shape better. - I have not tried the Schuhbeck recipe Maedl provided and it sounds good but traditional Elisenlebkuchen do not contain flour or marzipan, being flourless makes them a great gluten-free Christmas cookie.
Maedl November 17, 2013
Elisen Lebkuchen may contain flour--if that is an issue and you’re buying the cookies, read the ingredient label to be sure you’ve chosen a gluten-free brand. The recipe I use contains a small amount of flour.

Elisen Lebkuchen, which are the same as Nürnberger Lebkuchen, were declared a protected regional product by the EU in 1996. They must contain at least 25% nuts and no more than 10% flour.

If you can’t find the Oblaten and have to use rice paper, I think I would cut it into circles because if you tried to spread the batter onto a rectangular shape, you’d have a sticky mess.
Nadia H. November 16, 2013
A good substitute for German Oblaten is rice paper, which is widely available in the US and can be cut to the desired shape. That's what I suggest for Elisenlebkuchen in my German regional cookbook, Spoonfuls of Germany.
Greenstuff November 16, 2013
Thanks for having this discussion! And special thanks for Maedl's recipe and advice. I've been interested in comparing hartshorn with baking powder and soda for a lot of years and keep thinking I should do some controlled experiments.

I'm also thrilled to have Maedl's Lebkuchen recipe. I've never used Oblaten and am looking forward to trying that. She also has me thinking about other cookies that could benefit from a drying-out period.

Thanks for asking the question, tiffanylee.
Maedl November 17, 2013
Springerle must sit for at least a day before they get baked. If the weather is humid, then they need to sit even longer. If you turn an unbaked Springerle over, you can see how much it has dried. I think Pfeffernüsse may have to sit, too, but it’s been a long time since I made them.
Maedl November 16, 2013
I’m more organized than I thought! I forgot I included the spice mix recipe at the end of the Lebkuchen. Let me know if you have problems with the metric measurements.
Maedl November 16, 2013
Tiffany, I am roaring with laughter, because I am absolutely NOT generous with my Lebkuchen. I MIGHT put out two or three on a platter of Christmas cookies, and at least one of those will go on MY plate! I’m terrible!!

The recipe below is from Alfons Schubeck, a well-known chef in Munich. I love the recipe and have had success with it. This is not the Lebkuchen I grew up on--my mother also cooked the honey and molasses and we rolled and cut the dough with a knife. The Schubeck version is a different texture, but it is the kind that is most often sold in bakeries in Germany. The kind that is cut with a knife is usually made into huge heart shapes and decorated with colored icing. You see it a lot at Oktoberfest time. They come with long ribbons and you wear them around your neck.

I will check to see if I have Mom’s old recipe here (I live part of the year in Bavaria, so I’m never sure if something is here or in DC). I do, I’ll send that as well, but it will be at least tomorrow before I do that. I am cooking a birthday dinner for a friend tonight and it is high time to get started on it.

Now for the Schubeck recipe. Lebkuchen spice is sold as a mix here. If you can’t find it in your area, let me know and I’ll try to give you the recipe for making it. It is simply a spice mix and easy to reconstruct. Try to get good quality candied fruit, not the kind full of glucose. Italian delis are a good source. And same for marzipan--try to find one made with sugar and almonds. The cheaper ones use glucose, apricot kernels, etc.
Alfons Schuhbeck’s Elisenlebkuchen -
40-50 cookies
½ t hartshorn (baking ammonia)
1 Tbl. Rum
40 g candied orange peel
30 g candied citron
200 g ground almonds
50 g ground hazelnuts
40 g flour
A pinch of salt
1 t. Lebkuchen spice
4 egg whites
190 g sugar
130 g. raw marzipan
40-50 Oblaten, 50 mm diameter  (a thin, tasteless wafer made of flour and water—like the communion wafer before churches returned to bread)
150 g whole almonds
1 egg white
100 g powdered sugar
1 Tbl lemon juice
Dissolve the baking ammonia in the rum.
Mince the candied fruits as small as possible and combine with the ground almonds and hazelnuts, flour, salt, and Lebkuchen spice.
Add sugar to egg whites and beat until firm and creamy.
Break the marzipan into small pieces.  Add 2 Tbl. of the beaten egg whites and combine until it is smooth.   Stir in the dissolved baking ammonia and rum.  Alternate adding the flour mixture and the remaining beaten egg whites to the marzipan
At this point, the dough can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days. This will improve the taste!
When you are ready to bake:
Lay out the Oblaten on a cookie sheet.  They don't need too much territory, just a comfortable half inch or so from each neighbor. On each Oblaten, place a small mound of the dough, leaving only a very narrow rim of the oblaten free of dough.
Place an almond on top of each cookie. The full recipe should fill two cookie sheets. Let the cookies rest on the sheets for at least a half a day.
Preheat the oven to 340 degrees F.
Bake the Lebkuchen for about 30 minutes. (Check on the cookies after 20 minutes and shift the sheets if necessary.)
While the cookies are baking, prepare the glaze.  Combine the egg white, lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Glaze the still-warm Lebkuchen, using a pastry brush.
Source:  Alfons Schuhbeck's Weihnachtliches Backen (Christmas Baking)

Lebkuchen spice mixture:
1 t ground cardamom
1 t ground cloves  
½ t ground allspice      
½ t ground anise seed   
½ t ground coriander     
½ t ground white pepper             
½ t ground ginger            
1 Tbl ground cinnamon 
Combine the spices and store in a tightly covered container.
tiffanylee November 15, 2013
OH YES PLEASE:) I discovered these out of this world cookies last Christmas when my sons best friends mother sent a cookie tin full of her homemade cookies with me to give toy dad who was recovering from surgery and we spent Christmas with him for the first time in twenty years. My dad would usually travel to my house for Christmas morning but the older he gets the less he likes to travel in the winter, so it was really nice fore to spend Christmas with my dad and mom and kids all together at his home. Anyway I have never had cookies like these and I didn't want to share them I wanted them all for myself!!! I told her how much we loved her cookies especially myself and what a beautiful and heart felt gift to give for Christmas. She told a little about her cookies and I was able to get the name lebkuchen but really she is quite unwilling to share her expertise or her recipes as they are passed down family treasures. So I have been searching the Internet and second hand stores for older German cook books and I found one last week from 1957 and it had Nuremberg lebkuchen with the instruction to simmer the honey and molasses . I have not seen this mentioned in any American recipes or translations on the Internet cooking sites I've searched. I made the dough a couple of days ago and baked them off last evening. I don't think they are going to make it through the curing process as half are already gone!! As well there is rarely ever any mention if the curing process in the recipes I've read . My new old cook book also has cinnamon stars with the egg white topping, my next favorite cookie. I can't wait to try this recipe. I'm really excited about these cookies and I'm really really excited to share what I make with my family and friends.
Thank you for the warning about the smell of the baking ammonia. I would have frantically searched the net to see if this is normal or a bad batch, you saved me the trouble. Thank you.
Maedl November 15, 2013
The baking ammonia I have is produced by Ostmann (a German spice company). It comes in a small packet and contains 15 g. It’s called Hirschhornsalz in German (which translates to hartshorn--deer antlers were the original source. The chemical name is ammonia carbonate. We used to be able to get it in a pharmacy in the US. Perhaps you could try in a non-chain pharmacy that might be able to order it if they don’t have it. Make sure they know you want a food grade ammonia. Or check at a German or Austrian bakery and see if they would sell a small quantity. It costs about an Euro here--$1.30--but if you have to get it on-line (King Arthur’s Flour has it) it’s much more expensive.

As for substituting, use however much the recipe specifies for baking powder. Be prepared for the smell--this ammonia was also used as smelling salts for those faint Victorian ladies. The scent dissipates during the baking and you will not taste the ammonia in the Lebkuchen.

I have a delectable recipe for Lebkuchen--the Elisen variety--that I highly recommend. I translated it into English and if you’d like it, I’m willing to share.
tiffanylee November 15, 2013
I used baking soda in the rolled cookies. I don't remember what or if I used any in the wafer type I made last year. I've seen a couple different types of leavener at a local German store but I think they had German labeling and I wasn't sure what to buy. Is there a brand or name I should look for? Do I measure it out the same as for the baking soda? Again thank you for you knowledge and input. I really appreciate it.
Maedl November 15, 2013
Yes, drying would help keep the shape of the Lebkuchen intact. I also wonder if you use baking powder or soda. I use baking ammonia (AKA hartshorn), which produces a lighter, airier cookie. Baking ammonia, which preceded baking powder and soda, is still used in Central and Northern Europe in old recipes.

If you bake Springerle, the ammonia produces a much better texture than b.p.--and Springerle must also sit at least overnight so they develop a 'crust' which preserves the design on the top of the cookie.

Lebkuchen are my very favorite cookie. I won't let a Christmas come around without baking them.
tiffanylee November 15, 2013
The ones I made spread out off the oblaten ,but I didn't let them dry . Could that be the reason for drying them?
tiffanylee November 15, 2013
I made the oblaten type last year, I didn't know about the drying out step though. What is the purpose for drying them? I love these cookies and the rolled and cut lebkuchen both are fantastic! Thank you for the input.
Maedl November 15, 2013
By Pfefferkuchen, I am assuming you mean Lebkuchen and not Pfeffernüsse.

There are many variations on Lebkuchen recipes. Some are rolled out and cut with a knife or pie crimper. Others,, the Elisen Lebkuchen, are shaped with a small scoop and placed on a cookie sheet. These are the kind that I usually bake. The secret here is communion wafers. Well, that's what they look and taste like, but they are called Oblaten. I place them on a cookie sheet (fairly close together because the Lebkuchen don't expand very much) then put a spponful of the Lebkuchen dough on top of each Oblaten. I let them sit at least overnight, sometimes for several days to dry a bit and to allow the spices the fully develop before baking.

Here is a link to what I use:
I haven't tried to find them in the US, but I would ask at a German bakery or store that specializes in baking and pastry supplies. I'd try King Arthur flour as well. Be sure you get the lpain Oblaten and not Karlsbad or Marienbad Oblaten, which are wafer cookies with a sugar filling.
tiffanylee November 15, 2013
Thank you, I'm going to go buy a silpat and try it!!!

Voted the Best Reply!

sfmiller November 15, 2013
Try baking them them on a cookie sheet lined with silicone liner (Silpat is the best-known brand, but there are a lot of others, in different sizes, thicknesses, and price points). Nothing much sticks to those, and unlike parchment they're reusable.
Soozll November 14, 2013
Sometimes the cooling rack leaves an imprint on the bottom of the cookies if they are still warm when placed on the racks. You might try sliding the cookies and parchment right onto the cooling rack. Take them off the parchment when completely cold.
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