Post #2 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.
I must seek out lebkuchen — German cookies that I’ve always associated with the holidays — during the Christmas season.
My favorites growing up were made by Bahlsen — they came in a variety of shapes and were either glazed in sugar with sprinkles on top or in rich, dark chocolate. I seem to remember that my mom would find them at Woodies (Woodward & Lothrop) department store. I will still pick up a bag if I spy them at the grocery store.
When I mentioned that I had a hankering for lebkuchen around the holidays to a German colleague, she gave me a box sent to her from an aunt of hers who lives in Germany. These cookies were made by a different company and were unlike any lebkuchen I’d ever had before. They were rectangular in shape and had a lot of nuts in them. They may have been more authentic than what Bahlsen produces, but Bahlsen’s cookies remain my sentimental favorite.
Bahslen also makes a pretty good pfeffernüsse (literally, pepper nuts), but I prefer the homemade kind, which are softer, with a powdered sugar coating instead of the hard white glaze on the Bahlsen kind. These cookies do have pepper in them, but it lends a really nice flavor — you should try them if you get the chance!