This old-fashioned gingerbread recipe was published over 200 years ago in 1799! This is the second historical gingerbread I’ve tried: the last one was even older from 1553.
This old-fashioned gingerbread – or lebkuchen – recipe, however, is much more modern than the medieval Nuremberg lebkuchen recipe. Unlike the medieval gingerbread, this 18th century gingerbread is already made with eggs, almonds and candied lemon and orange peel. Because of the egg whites this old-fashioned gingerbread is whitish even after baking. Therefore it was called “White Almond Lebkuchen” in the old German cookbook “Augsburgisches Kochbuch” (Augsburg Cookbook).
This 18th century gingerbread is chewy and not at all hard like the medieval gingerbread. And even if it’s made with flour, the old-fashioned gingerbread tastes similar to traditional Nuremberg Elisenlebkuchen: it tastes nutty, spicy and orangey – simply delicious!
Old Units Of Measurement
As I‘ve already said in my post about the medieval Nuremberg lebkuchen recipe, it‘s difficult to convert historical German weights and measures into modern weights and measures. Because all cities in Germany had different units of measurement before 1810. In 1810, there was a reform in Germany to standardize the different units of measurement but this gingerbread recipe was published before the reform in 1799! So I had to find a conversion table for the units of measurement around 1800 for the city of Augsburg since the cookbook was published in Augsburg.
The gingerbread recipe mentions ‘Pfund’ (pound), lot and ‘Quentchen’ (dram). In all German cities 1 ‘Pfund’ (pound) was equal to 32 lot, while 1 lot was equal to 4 ‘Quentchen’ (dram). So I just had to find out how much 1 ‘Pfund’ (pound) weighed in Augsburg around 1800. According to this conversion table, 7 Vienna pounds are equal to 8 Augsburg pounds. Around that time, 1 Vienna pound weighed 560 grams. Therefore 1 Augsburg pound is equal to 490 grams. And consequently, 1 lot is around 15 grams and 1 ‘Quentchen’ (dram) is a little less than 4 grams. Scroll down for the adapted gingerbread recipe! 😉
Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Recipe
- 8 egg whites
- 2 1/2 cups (490g) granulated sugar
- 4 cups (490g) flour
- 4 cups (490g) blanched ground almonds
- 1/3 cup (60g) chopped candied lemon peel
- 1/3 cup (60g) chopped candied orange peel
- 1 1/2 tbsp (7.5g) cinnamon powder
- 1 tbsp (5.5g) coarsely ground cardamom
- 1 tbsp (4g) coarsely ground cloves
- optional: 7.5g mace
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
2. In a bowl, combine flour, spices, candied lemon and orange peel and ground almonds. I used homemade candied lemon and orange peel.
Related: Homemade Candied Lemon & Orange Peel
3. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the sugar is dissolved.
4. Then fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites by hand.
5. Using two tablespoons, drop the gingerbread cookies onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1″ (2cm) apart.
6. Bake the old-fashioned gingerbread cookies for 15 minutes. Remove the gingerbread from the oven and let it cool on racks.
7. For an especially decadent treat, cover the cooled gingerbread with chocolate. And store it in cookie tins.
Please Pin It!