This year I finally wanna share my favourite German Christmas treat with you. It’s called dominosteine (Singular: dominostein; translation: domino tile). It’s a piece of lebkuchen (gingerbread) layered with jelly (apricot in most cases) and marzipan and covered in chocolate. Dominosteine are the best thing ever and honestly the only kind of lebkuchen confectionery I really like. Lebkuchen tends to be a bit dry and all those spices and citrus flavours can be a bit overwhelming. But dominosteine have sweet and sour fruit flavours and marzipan softens the spices.
Long story short, I love dominosteine. They can be found at every store during Christmas season, and sometimes they are even vegan by accident. Most do contain honey, eggs, and milk products though. Since I don’t like to spend my reading time sifting through ingredients lists, I started to make my own dominosteine. Which is really not the simplest task. If you take these on you will need patience and perseverance. In the past I have burnt the lebkuchen layer or spilled hot liquid jelly all over the place. But I feel rather confident now and I think these treats are worth all the work.
The lebkuchen batter will have to rest in the fridge for an hour, so it gets manageable, please plan accordingly. To make these, you’ll need a 30 x 20 cm baking pan or an adjustable rectangular ring. Make sure to roll the lebkuchen layer out to those measurements exactly and check that it fits the pan perfectly, so your jelly will stay on the lebkuchen and not spill under the pan. Speaking of jelly: I use either homemade quince jelly or orange jelly, but you can use apricot or whatever you like!
For this recipe I used a traditional lebkuchen leavening agent that is called baker’s ammonia (ammonium carbonate, salt of hartshorn, E 503). To use this leavener, you have to dissolve it in water before adding it to your batter. Otherwise it won’t work. If you have no access to baker’s ammonia, use the same amount of baking powder and don’t dissolve it in water. Simply add the baking powder to the dry ingredients and the water to the wet ingredients.
Find my lebkuchen spice blend recipe here.
Adapted from this recipe.
For the lebkuchen:
125 g date syrup (or agave nectar)
25 g margarine
40 g dark brown sugar
120 g all-purpose flour
30 g rye flour
1 pinch salt
2 teaspoons lebkuchen spice
1/3 teaspoon baker's ammonia (or 1/3 teaspoon baking powder)
2 tablespoons water
For the jelly layer:
300 g quince, apricot, or orange jelly (make sure it's strained!)
2 teaspoons agar agar powder
3 tablespoons water
For the marzipan layer:
200 g marzipan
powdered sugar for dusting
For the coating:
300 g dark chocolate
1 tablespoon refined coconut oil or margarine
To make the lebkuchen, place date syrup, sugar, and margarine in a small saucepan.
Heat the mixture until the margarine is dissolved. Stir constantly.
In a bowl combine flours, lebkuchen spice, and salt.
In a small bowl, combine baker's ammonia and water. (If you are using baking powder instead, add the baking powder to the flours and set the water aside for a moment.)
Add warm sugar mixture and dissolved baker's ammonia to the flour mixture. (Now add the water as well, if you went with the baking powder option.)
Stir everything with a spoon until all ingredients are incorporated. Cover the batter with a piece of plastic or a damp kitchen towel and let rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
The dough should be sticky when freshly mixed but should change the consistency after cooling. You'll want a dough that is still a bit sticky but can be rolled out.
Remove the dough from the fridge and prepare your baking pan. (Grease it properly or use parchment paper.)
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Lightly flour your working surface and roll the dough into a rectangle that fits your pan. (30 x 20 cm.)
Place the lebkuchen dough in your pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool in the pan.
To make the jelly layer, place jelly in a saucepan.
Combine agar agar powder and water and stir to dissolve.
Add to jelly and bring to a boil.
Cook for 2-3 minutes and pour over the lebkuchen layer.
Roll the marzipan into a 30 x 20 cm rectangle and place on top of the jelly. If it sticks when you roll it out, sprinkle it with powdered sugar.
Melt chocolate and coconut oil and cut the dominosteine into small cubes.
Cover the cubes in chocolate and place in the fridge to cool.
Let rest for a day before serving.
These make an excellent present by the way!