Traditionally, ammonia carbonate – once made from the horns of deer, and called hartshorn – was used to create lebkuchen's particular soft, cakey texture, but I've found that banana together with baking soda produces a very similar result. I've used spelt flour here, known as dinkelmehl in German, with a slightly shorter bake, so the bran in the flour doesn't dry them out.
100g banana flesh
120g dark brown sugar
120g golden syrup (if it needn't be vegan use a good honey)
50g sunflower oil
2 tsp each ground cinnamon, ginger, allspice
½ tsp each ground coriander, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper
120g chopped roasted almonds, hazelnuts, or a mixture (optional)
120g chopped crystallised ginger
250g spelt, wholemeal or plain white flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the rum glaze
80g pure icing sugar
25g spiced rum, like Bundaberg Mutiny
melted 70 per cent chocolate to decorate
extra white piping icing to finish (see my Amazing avocado Christmas cake recipe)
Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced) and line two trays with non-stick baking paper. Mash the banana and brown sugar in a bowl until smooth, then stir in the golden syrup, oil and spices. Stir in the chopped nuts and ginger, followed by the flour and baking soda.
Roll into balls (about 30g each); wetting your hands makes this less of a sticky job. Place, spaced out, on the baking trays. Bake for 15 minutes until puffed and just set, then remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray.
When cold, mix the icing sugar and rum together. Dip the top of each biscuit in the glaze then leave to dry, icing-side up, on a wire rack. Pipe decorations on top with the extra white piping icing then, when set, dip the bases in melted dark chocolate and leave on a tray until set.