Almond, Citrus, and Lavender Lembas Bread
For this year's Hobbit celebration feast, I knew I wanted to serve a very special Lembas. In past years, I had gone a simpler route and used pita chips, sugar cookies, or graham crackers wrapped in green napkins or fabric leaves. But this year I wanted to attempt making actual Lembas.
While Tolkien unfortunately doesn't provide us with an exact recipe for this Elvish way-bread, we do know a few things about it. Lembas is sweet, often described as a cake; it is made with the fruit of the Mallorn tree, a round nut with a silver shale; and it is cream-colored on the inside and has a light brown crust. For more details regarding Lembas, I came across an excellent article here.
“Eat little at a time, and only at need. For these things are given to serve you when all else fails. The cakes will keep sweet for many many days, if they are unbroken and left in their leaf-wrappings, as we have brought them. One will keep a traveler on his feet for a day of long labour, even if he be one of the tall men of Minas Tirith.” -The Fellowship of the Ring
After reading through several different recipes online, I ended up modifying this recipe by Feast of Starlight, so I thought I'd share a bit about what I used and how it turned out. The combination of the citrus with the almond, and then the slight hint of lavender is just so good!
Homemade Almond, Citrus, & Lavender Lembas
3 Cups Unsalted Butter, softened (this is not a typo, you need a ton of butter)
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Honey
4 Large Eggs
4 Cups Flour
1 Cup Almond Meal (I made my own by blending almonds in a food processor)
1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds
1 tsp. Orange Extract
1 tsp. Lemon Extract
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
3 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
One handful of finely chopped dried fruit (Optional - I didn't use this in my original recipe but I keep wishing I had! Dried cranberries would've been such a good addition. Or apricots or raisins!)
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Cream butter and brown sugar. Add honey, then eggs. Mix until smooth.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, almond meal, and slivered almonds.
Fold flour mixture into batter, adding the extracts & oil slowly. Mix until well-combined. Carefully fold in dried fruit (optional).
Refrigerate dough until it has stiffened a bit, then roll out on a floured surface. Dough should be about 1cm inch thick.
Cut into rectangles, about 2.5 x 2 inches. Gently score the tops with an 'x'.
Bake on a greased tray for about 15 minutes, or until the bottoms of the Lembas wafers have slightly browned.
This recipe will make approximately 36 pieces. They can be stored for a few days or frozen.
These slightly sweet biscuits pair so nicely with a warm cup of tea! They were a hit with everyone in my family! My daughter asked for a cup of our sleepytime tea as she had hers, and even the two year-old said they were "yummy cookies" so I'm counting that as a win.
Lembas is traditionally served in "Mallorn leaves", so you can either wrap them in any non-poisonous leaves or use green fabric cut like leaves (here's a good tutorial here).
I'd love to hear if you try this recipe and what you think of it!
I'm so excited to have them at this year's Hobbit day celebration. :)