Lebkuchen originated back in the 1400’s in the city ofNuremburg.
Located at the crossroads of Medieval Europe, Arab traders frequently sold their treasures of exotic spices from the Orient in the Nuremburg open markets.
Fragrant aromas of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, anise and fennel filled the Nuremburg Christmas market each season. Almonds from Spain were readily available. Honey from nearby Black Forest beehives – the primary source of sweeteners for baking at that time – was in common use since the 12th century. All one needed was flour and you had all the fixings to make lebkuchen.
Local monks were the first to make lebkuchen – a good source of income for their monasteries. Within a few decades baker’s guilds began to spring up to make this special Christmas treat. To this day, the Nuremburg lebkuchen is the standard by which all are judged.
Springerle also have a medieval origin.
Springerle means “little knight” and can be traced to the times of Martin Luther and the Renaissance. Pure white as snow, these cookies with their distinctive embossed designs are a staple for any German Christmas celebration. To this day each springerle is hand embossed with traditional figures imprinted with a springerle board or rolling pin. Personally, I prefer the boards since their impression holds up better during baking than that of the pins. Anise seeds or anise oil is the predominate flavor of springerles – very similar to licorice in flavor.
Here at Zehnder’s we are privileged to have Pastry Chef Chad Morris on our staff.
Chef Chad is an expert in baking both the springele and lebkuchen cookies.
If you want to ensure you get some, order in advance since they sell out quickly each day.