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It's tradition for my family to make these German treats together. The recipe came from my great-grandmother's cookbook, and judging from the amount of requests I get, it has certainly stood the test of time. —Esther Kempker, Jefferson City, Missouri
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Bake: 25 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    3 dozen


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise extract
  • 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon each ground allspice, cardamom and cloves
  • 1/2 cup ground walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup candied lemon peel
  • 1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup candied orange peel
  • 3 tablespoons candied pineapple
  • GLAZE:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 15x10x1-in. baking pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in molasses, buttermilk and extract. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, allspice, cardamom and cloves; gradually add to creamed mixture and beat well. Stir in walnuts.
  • Place raisins, dates, lemon peel, coconut, orange peel and pineapple in a food processor; pulse until chopped. Stir into batter; press into prepared pan. Bake 25-28 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • For glaze, in a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat; whisk in confectioners' sugar. Spread over warm bars. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

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  • Baking
    Dec 23, 2020

    This recipe is absolutely delicious. The bars came out soft moist and fragrant… I’m going to make another one tomorrow to fill my house up with this wonderful smell gingerbread and have it on Christmas morning.

  • Jennifer
    Dec 23, 2020

    I'd never heard of this cookie before, but the recipe included a lot of ingredients we like, so my daughter and I decided to try it while doing our Christmas baking. Glad we did! It is delicious. I call it a cross between gingerbread and fruitcake, even though there is no ginger in it. We made our own candied lemon and orange peel for the first time, which was easy and came out better than any store bought I have had. I didn't have anise extract, so I substituted ground anise seed instead. The only thing I am unsure about with the recipe is the glaze. My glaze was still warm when I spread it on the warm bars. It soaked into the bars a bit and dried clear and shiny, not white and powdery. I'm sure I'll be making these again, and next time, I'll make the glaze first and give it time to cool. This is a special cookie. Thanks for sharing!

  • Theresa
    Nov 20, 2020

    This is not the traditional way of making these, you forgot about the fact that this dough has to be stiffened with flour which takes some massive arm strength. I should know I've helped my mom make this recipe since I could walk and hold a mixing spoon. This isn't one of those make the dough and stick in the over and that's also not how you make the glaze, my mom has always used powder sugar and water. I've also watched my older brother break a WOODEN spoon mixing this for my mom. Also to the commenter at the beginning of this who said it came from her great-grandma's cook book she made it seem like she was the only one that could make these.

  • Anneokley
    Sep 27, 2014

    I have been looking for this original recipe for a very long time. Thanks for sharing. It is delicious.