Not long ago I was talking to my grandmother about an attempt to make German lebkuchen for a potluck. I told her how it was a more complicated recipe than I usually make, one requiring multiple steps, including rolling it out. Truth is, I’m more of a drop or bar cookie fan, and while the lebkuchen were a hit, they’re a bit too involved for me to make regularly.
She told me about a recipe she used to make that required no rolling, no dropping – just pouring the dough into the pan and letting it spread on its own. I was intrigued, as it sounded like the ultimate for a lazy baker.
When she sent it to me, I immediately went to Google to see if I could find more information on this recipe. Outside of a link to an old Lebanon, PA newspaper article circa 1977, there is nothing, which leads me to believe this is an uber-regional Pennsylvania Dutch cookie recipe.
I’ve made it a few times now, once without the second 2 tablespoons of butter (which in the original was vegetable shortening), and once with. The added butter does help it spread easier. I also decided to add some of the lebkuchen cookie spices to this, as the final product resembles a soft biscotti. There’s plenty of room for customization here – think a handful of nuts, maybe some chocolate chips, a few raisins or dried cherries.
Blunka Kucha recipe (adapted from my grandmother)
½ cup + 2 Tbsp butter
1 1/8 cup buttermilk
1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a cookie sheet with sides.
Mix butter, sugar and buttermilk. Mix dry ingredients separately. Add dry to wet in two batches, mix until just combined.
Pour dough into middle of sheet, but do not spread. It will spread itself. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool at least 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cut into bars (or whatever shapes are desired). Makes many.