Entry 14: Wilkommen!

Hello again, Koala fans!

Today, we’re going for a slightly unusual recipe. For a long time, I’ve always had an aversion to foods with ginger in, due to being a red haired individual in my younger days and all that entails…However, last week I was struck by the urge to make some biscuits and decided to try a gingerbread recipe. As I was flicking through my usual recipe website, my eye was drawn to a rather delectable looking box of biscuits, which were called “lebkuchen”:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1941/lebkuchen

After chatting with a German friend of mine (Hi Juniper!) I was informed that it wasn’t an “authentic” recipe and was similar instead to something called “Pfefferkuchen”. Juniper also mentioned that they were very tasty too, so I decided to go with them. The usual ingredients piccie, as always:

Koala In The Kuchen.

Koala In The Kuchen.

As far as baking goes, this recipe was actually pretty straightforward. The first step was gathering all the dry ingredients together in a bowl:

Flour power.

Flour power.

Oddly enough, these biscuits use both bicarbonate of soda *and* baking powder in order to rise. I was a little concerned that these biscuits would be a little thick and stodgy if they needed that much help to rise. I’d sifted the flour well though and the usual “figure of 8” stirring would ensure that enough air got mixed into the dough.

Sugar and spice and flame resistant stuffing - that's what little Koalas are made of.

Sugar and spice and flame resistant stuffing – that’s what little Koalas are made of.

The ginger and cinnamon were easy enough to measure out but what exactly constitutes a “pinch”? I’ve got fairly huge hands by many measurements and a “pinch” could easily clock in at half a teaspoon’s worth. I think it’s one of those things you need to gauge for yourself. I added the ginger and the cinnamon, saw how much was in the bowl and then added a quarter of that amount in the various other spices.

The recipe was also a pain regarding the amount of honey to use. Because of it’s rather viscous state, honey isn’t measured in milliliters when you buy it in the supermarket – it’s weighed in grams. As a result, I had no idea how much 200 ml was, until I poured it in a measuring jug:

The Koala channels the spirit of Winnie The Pooh.

The Koala channels the spirit of Winnie The Pooh.

As you can see from the photo, the 340g bottle I got turned out to be almost exactly 200ml, which was awfully convenient. Then it was just a matter of giving the honey and butter some heat treatment:

"A pan full of sugar and fat...guess it's salad again next week?"

“A pan full of sugar and fat…guess it’s salad again next week?”

Honey pours a lot more easily when its been warmed up and after a few minutes careful mixing, the dough was ready:

The finished dough.

The finished dough.

The recipe suggests leaving it to cool for a bit – it doesn’t need to be put in the fridge or anything like. I merely left it for about 10 to 15 mins and it was ready to be rolled into biscuits. I used about a heaped teaspoon’s worth per biscuit and rolled it together with my hands. As one of the comments for the recipe mentions, I can see this as being a really great recipe for getting kids to learn how to bake. 15 minutes later, the lebkuchen were ready:

Lebkuchen, in their natural, free range state.

Lebkuchen, in their natural, free range state.

Once they’d cooled down, I tried one. It’s like a wonderful mix of a biscuit and a cake and the spices came through really nicely. I actually decided against putting the icing on – the natural sweetness of the honey was at just the right level – any additional sweetness would have spoiled the taste I think but other folks might prefer them iced.

They definitely went down a treat at work, with some pretty positive feedback for the most part. I might make another batch closer to Christmas, as that’s when these things are traditionally made in Germany. All in all, things went pretty well, aside from a slight incident when I first opened the spices. The Koala spent the evening beforehand watching Scarface and, well…

…..

He was unconscious for several hours after using his didgeridoo for something it was not meant for.

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