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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod@mainetoday.com On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: December 2, 2012

Lebkuchen: Second Place

Written by: Susan Axelrod

Submitted by Carol Marshburn

¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup honey
¼ cup molasses
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 ¾ cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon each, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice
¼ teaspoon cardamom
4 ounces finely chopped candied citron (Hannaford has this seasonally with the fruitcake ingredients)
½ cup chopped almonds

Glaze:
3 cup powdered sugar
½ cup water
2 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon almond extract

Whole blanched almonds or candied cherries for decoration

Method:
Preheat oven to 350.

Warm honey slightly if it is very thick.  Mix together all ingredients except flour.  Add flour gradually to make a dough.

Chill dough. Dough will be sticky. Use two spoons to drop small pieces of dough on greased cookie sheets.  Use wet hands to roll each piece into a ball.  Use glass dipped in water to flatten each ball.

Decorate with blanched almonds or candied cherries.  (To blanch almonds, boil whole almonds for one minute.  Skins will slip off when cool.)

Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.  Remove to cooling rack immediately.  Cookies should not brown, but if they deform too much when removing from cookie sheet, increase baking time.

For glaze: combine powdered sugar, water, lemon juice and almond extract.

After the cookies are cool, use a pastry brush to glaze both sides of each cookie.  Dry on rack until no longer sticky.

Store airtight between sheets of waxed paper for at least one week.  The spices and peels need to mellow over time.  If you taste the cookies right out of the oven you will be disappointed, but the flavor will improve with each passing day.  After two weeks, they are incredible.  With no added fat, they do not get stale, and are excellent for mailing.

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