Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Making Memories

It was the sight I looked forward to all year.

I'd hear the dogs barking and rush to the window, in the hopes that maybe I would see her coming.

My Grandma--coming down the pasture lane seperating our properties. With a batch of freshly-made cookies in her hands.

Not just any cookies-- my birthday cookies.

My grandparents were simple German farmers who couldn't afford to give numerous gifts to their grandkids for birthdays.
So each year I expected the same thing--a birthday card, a dollar inside the birthday card, and (the absolute best part) my favorite cookies from Grandma.
You had to get your order in early enough so she knew which kind you wanted. I usually chose the same thing--Lebkuchen, a spicy German honey cookie that melted in my mouth and made me dive for a book and comfy spot as I indulged.

Every year I got Lebkuchen for my birthday. Every year I saw my Grandma coming down the lane.

Then one year, she was diagnosed with cancer, and became too sick.
After she had gone home to be with the Lord, the thought hit me that I wouldn't have birthday cookies anymore--and I wouldn't have Grandma.
But I have my memories. And I have her recipe, which I've included down below.

I've made this cookie numerous times over the years, but it never tasted as good as Grandma's. I guess there are some things that just have to have the right hands to make them--loving Grandma hands.

Share them with others, and make memories yourself.
Life is too fleeting to forget the little things.

Grandma M's Lebkuchen (has to chill for several hours before rolling out)
1 egg
3/4 brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 dark molasses

1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 & 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg

Beat egg--add brown sugar and beat till fluffy. Add honey and molasses, mix well. Sift dry ingredients, add gradually to first mixture, mixing well.
Chill several hours or overnight. Roll out and cut with cookie cutter. Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes. Let cool. Brush with Glaze Icing.

Glace Icing:
Boil 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water till mixture threads. Remove and mix in 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Brush on cookies.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.


Emily September 25, 2009 at 8:32 AM  

Thanks for sharing your story and your recipe, Deb! Those are some special cookies!

Valerie September 30, 2009 at 9:56 PM  

Grandma's cookies are the BEST. Mine always makes chocolate-chip oatmeal. :) I'm going to have to try your grandma's recipe!

Shannon October 1, 2009 at 7:04 AM  

What a precious memory. Thanks for sharing the story and recipe. I tend to read recipe posts with a sinking heart because dairy is a problem for me. I was absolutely thrilled to notice that this is one I can enjoy.

Shannon October 1, 2009 at 5:57 PM  

So the cookie dough is in the fridge. How thinly should it be rolled to be cut? Would you suggest a standard 2" cutter? Will these be brown on the edges when done, or should they be taken out before they darken? Sorry to be so detail oriented... I just want them to turn out right. :)

Miss Deb November 12, 2009 at 10:30 PM  

Hi Shannon--sorry for the delay in replying.

I'd say maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick to roll it out, and you can use whatever cookie cutter you want. It's pretty durable :) The one thing might be making sure it's chilled well enough so it holds firm when you pick up the cookies after cutting them :)

As for baking--I just lightly press on them every few minutes and when they seem firm enough I take them out and let them cool.If you leave them in too long, yes, they might brown on the edges, but usually after about 10 to 12 minutes they're ready to come out :)

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