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Rocks Cookies – German Gingerbread

60 minutes
30 minutes

These small gingerbread “rocks” are traditionally made during the holidays, and are great for gifting! Classic recipes recommend making as much as a month in advance as the flavour evolves over time. They’re a bite sized bit of Christmas and have all the flavours you’d expect from a German spice cookie.

Note: This recipe makes a LOT of cookies – we didn’t count, but we filled over three 4 litre pails, so the yield is in the neighborhood of 14 litres of cookies.

Ingredients

  • 900 gm (2 lbs) honey
  • 4 ½ cups sugar
  • 454 gm (1 lb) lard
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 20 gm ground anise
  • 35 gm Speculatus (see note)
  • 30 gm Lebkuchen  (see note)
  • 5 gm ground / dried lemon peel
  • 4 tsp cocoa
  • 1 cup canned (evaporated) milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 14 cups flour
  • 6 tsp baking soda

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare several baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat, or grease well.
  2. Melt lard, sugar and honey in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once mixed, bring to a gentle boil.
  3. Remove from heat and add spices and cocoa. Mix well and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  4. Whisk together eggs and evaporated milk. Stir slowly into cooled honey mixture.
  5. Transfer to a very large mixing bowl and mix in flour and baking soda. Add about 11 cups of flour and stir until it is incorporated. Add remaining flour cup by cup until dough becomes firm, and can be rolled by hand without sticking significantly.
  6. Once dough comes together, divide into manageable portions, and roll each ball into ½ – 3/4” thick logs. Cut logs into 3/4” long “rocks” and arrange on a lined or greased baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes. Cookies should be just starting to crackle on top, and just lightly browned underneath.
  8. Cool completely before storing in airtight containers for up to 1 month.

Notes

Lebkuchen & Spekulatius Spice Mixes

These spice blends can be bought at German specialty stores. If you’d like to make your own, the recipes below are a good guide, though it’s not uncommon for each family to have their own special blend.

Lebkuchen Spice Mix

  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground aniseed

Spekulatius Spice Mix

  • 1tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground clove
  • 1tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2tsp ground anise seeds
  • 1/4tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4tsp black pepper

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