This is my favorite Christmas cookie. My grandmother made them and the same recipe is in her grandmother's hand written cookbook. Unfortunately their recipes were not really complete and it took me 20 years to figure out that the almonds need to be blanched for it to be right. They need to be several weeks old before eating and you need good teeth. This recipe can also be used for making a really delicious gingerbread house.
Honig Lebkuchen (Honey Gingerbread)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 tablespoons brandy
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups warm honey
1 cup candied citron and orange peel, chopped fine
Juice and grated rind of one fresh lemon
2 teaspoons cinnamon
7 cups flour
1 teaspoon each ground ginger and cloves
2 cups ground blanched almonds or hazelnuts
1. Stir the baking soda into the brandy.
2. The warmer the honey, the easier it is to work the dough, but if the honey is too hot you'll burn yourself, so be careful. Mix all the ingredients by hand, including the brandy-soda mixture, holding back about 2 cups of the flour. Gradually add the remaining flour until the dough is sticky but kneadable. Turn the dough out and knead in the remaining flour.
3. Allow the dough to sit in a warm place (65 to 75 degrees), covered with a dishtowel, for 3 days.
4. Roll out on a floured board, 1/4-inch thick or less, and cut into small (1-inch) squares or diamonds.
5. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and brush with a glaze made of one egg yolk mixed with two tablespoons of water. You can also decorate the tops with blanched almond halves or bits of candied fruit.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Cool completely and store in tightly sealed metal tins.