Like many other elements of the Yuletide celebration, Christmas cookies began as a German tradition. Every year, I buy wonderful lebkuchen made by the German manufacturer Bahlsen. Called “Contessa,” they are sold only at Christmastime—puffy little spice pillows, more soft cakes than cookies—their domed tops sugar-glazed, their flat undersides coated with dark chocolate.
This version is similar but is baked as a sheet, glazed with chocolate and cut into diamonds. Note that most lebku