Don’t quite have baking down to a science yet? Neither did Sandy Lee — and now she runs the only company in the U.S. specializing in baking lebkuchen.
In 2009, Sandy moved to Berlin from her home in New York to find herself and to reconnect with her passions. It was then that Sandy was first introduced and subsequently fell in love with lebkuchen. She enjoyed the German gingerbread so much that she was driven to start Leckerlee in 2011. Leckerlee — a play on the German word leckerle (delicious little treat) and Sandy’s last name — is now a thriving bakery in New York City.
A Labor of Love
Knowing her lebkuchen would require a blend of tradition and originality, Sandy combined traditional recipes based on her research in Nuremberg, the birthplace of lebkuchen, with her baking style. All it took for Sandy to make her transition from a corporate 9-5 position to Baker was homework and practice.
Sandy’s lebkuchen are produced in small batches using premium ingredients to deliver a classic, crisp flavor. To set her treats apart, Sandy makes sure to use only the absolute best ingredients available. For example, she works exclusively with Mr. Recipe, NYC’s renowned "spice guru to the chefs," to ensure the highest quality spices for her lebkuchen. All the spices that Sandy uses are cold ground to preserve the volatile essential oils that give each spice its distinctive aroma and flavor.
Pick Your Pastry Passion
For Sandy, the mixture of spice, nuts, citrus and honey sparked her instant obsession with lebkuchen. When she discovered the treat was not available in the United States, Sandy made it her mission to bring home her authentic recipe.
If you’re thinking of coming out of your baking shell, start with something you love. You’re much more likely to enjoy the baking process when you’re excited about the final product. Once you’ve mastered your first dish, consider tweaking the recipe to include ingredients you find tasty. It’s okay to fail — trial and error is the only way to become a true baker!
When you’re ready to bake for family and friends, don’t forget to add your signature. Sandy turned a 13th-century-old German recipe into a thriving modern business by also re-envisioning the traditional lebkuchen tin. Each year, Leckerlee reveals new tin designs that customers can enjoy long after finishing their cookies. Lebkuchen is a popular holiday gift, so the bakery also offers a Concierge Service that allows customers to send last-minute gifts to friends and family.
Leckerlee hopes you’ll join us as we celebrate the baker in all of us during Woman Chef Wednesday. If you’d like to learn more baking tips or for more information about Leckerlee, sign up for our newsletter here.