German Lebkuchen (gingerbread)
Lebkuchen ist a traditional cookie most likely invented in its today form in Germany.
During Christmas time but also available during the year Lebkuchen exists in different types and shapes. Most famous might be the Elisen Lebkuchen, the defacto-standard super Lebkuchen from Nürnberg (Nuremberg) and Nürnberger Lebkuchen became a quality and trademark sign and can only be produced in Nuremberg.
The classic shape of a Lebkuchen is a round shape with a ca. 3 inch (7-8 cm) diameter. However, very well known a the heart shaped Lebkuchen which are sold at almost any fair in Germany or the Oktoberfest. Or another favorite shape for Christmas is a star.
However, other Lebkuchen is certainly tasty as well and can be found all over Germany.
According to Wikipedia, “Lebkuchen was invented by monks in Franconia, Germany in the 13th century. Lebkuchen bakers were recorded as early as 1296 in Ulm, and 1395 in Nürnberg (Nuremberg).
Local history in Nuremberg relates that emperor Friedrich III held a Reichstag there in 1487 and he invited the children of the city to a special event where he presented Lebkuchen bearing his printed portrait to almost four thousand children. Historically, and due to differences in the ingredients, Lebkuchen is also known as “honey cake” (Honigkuchen) or “pepper cake” (Pfefferkuchen). Traditionally, the cookies are usually quite large and may be 11.5 cm (4.5 in) in diameter if round, and larger if rectangular.
Since 1808, a variety of Nürnberg Lebkuchen made without flour has been called Elisenlebkuchen. It is uncertain whether Elise was the daughter of a gingerbread baker or the wife of a margrave. Her name is associated with some of the Lebkuchen produced by members of the guild. Since 1996, Nürnberger Lebkuchen is a protected designation of origin, meaning that it must be produced within the boundaries of the city.”
Read more on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebkuchen
Even though one of the primary Christmas cookies… Lebkuchen is also well known in the shape of hearts and available on most all fairs in Germany, like the Oktoberfest in Munich.