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Lebkuchenherzen (German Gingerbread hearts) on a bavarian blue and white napkin. The hearts are decorated with blue icing. The inscription say "Danke (Thank you) "Prost" Cheers" And Oktoberfest
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5 from 9 votes

Lebkuchen Herzen (German Gingerbread Hearts)

These traditional Lebkuchen Herzen are a must for any Oktoberfest or German Christmas market. Now you can make them at home and its very simple.
Course Dessert
Cuisine German
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 12 minutes
Resting Time 5 hours
Servings 8 hearts
Author Marita

Equipment

  • heart shaped cookie cutter or free template
  • baking parchment
  • small saucepan
  • piping bag with star tip and fine writing tip
  • OR icing syringe
  • Bands to attach hang up the hearts
  • Clingfilm to wrap the hearts in

Ingredients

For the Hearts

  • 100 g unsalted butter 3.5 oz
  • 225 g honey 8 oz
  • 125 g sugar 4.4 oz
  • 2 teaspoon gingerbread spice homemade Lebkuchen spicemix, or shop bought
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 15 g cocoa powder 0.5 oz
  • 500 g flour 17.6 oz, UK plain flour, US Pastry flour, Germany Type 405
  • 1 egg medium size

Gingerbread Icing

  • 500 g icing sugar / confectioners sugar 17.6 oz
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Foodcolouring of your choice

Instructions

  • Place the butter, honey and sugar in a small pot. Melt the ingredients on the stove on low heat, while stirring throughout.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and leave it to rest until it reaches room temperature.
  • Now add the gingerbread spice, baking powder, cocoa powder and egg to the honey mixture. Using a hand or stand mixer, mix the ingredients until combined. Now slowly add in the flour and knead to a thick dough.
  • Cover the dough, or place in an airtight container and leave to rest for at least 5 hours at room temperature.
  • Preheat your oven to 170°C or 338°F top to bottom heat.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a approximate thickness of 5 mm. As the dough it very sticky, I would recommend using a non-stick baking mat, or roll out the directly on the baking parchment. You might also find that the dough is sticking to your rolling pin. To prevent that from happening I used cling film on top of the dough. - if you find he dough is too dry and starts cracking you can carefully brush a little milk on top).
  • Using your cookie cutter or using a self cut template, cut out the hearts and place them on a tray lined with parchment.
  • Using a small round object (I used a lid of a pen 🙂 cut out the two holes for the string to threat through later.
  • Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes. Check that they do not turn too dark.
  • Leave to cool completely before decorating.

Decorating the Gingerbread Hearts

  • Place the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl. (If there are any traces of oil in the bowl, the eggs might not stiffen. If in doubt, wipe the bowl with some vinegar).
  • Add a pinch of salt and whisk the eggs until you can see soft peaks forming.
  • Add the icing sugar and lemon juice in little portions.
  • The icing should stick to the whisk but still be soft enough to be piped.
  • Divide the icing into little portions. Add the food colouring as desired. Remember that if the food colouring is liquid, you might need to add a little more icing sugar/confectioners sugar again to gain the right consistency. Remember to keep some white icing for the writing.
  • Fill the icing in your piping bag or syringe. I recommend using a star tip to decorate the outside and a fine tip for the writing.

Notes

I would strongly recommend checking out the step by step instruction photos on the main post. 
See the main post for some German inscription inspiration. 

Tips to decorating the lebkuchen hearts

  1. Start with the writing then continue to the outside.
  2. Test your piping on a bit of baking parchment before applying to the cookie. 
  3. If you are unsure of the spacing, edge the letters with a skewer lightly on the cake and then trace with the icing.
  4. Icing looses shape after you piped it, it is too liquid and you need to add more sugar.
  5. Icing is too hard and dry - add a little lemon juice to make it more liquidly.
  6. Prepare ornamental decorations - You can make little flowers, hearts or stars by piping them on some baking parchment. Once they are dry you can stick them on with a little icing. This is an easier way than doing it directly on the cakes.

Gift Wrap the Gingerbread Hearts 

Wrap the lebkuchen heart in some clingfilm. Make two holes for where the string goes through. Now thread through the string and is ready to give away.

Storage Instructions

These gingerbread hearts are sometimes too petty to eat. But how long do these pretty heart-shaped cakes last? Do not worry. A Lebkuchenherz lasts up to two years. If it gets to heart to eat, simply place it in the fridge for a while, and it will soften. Another tip is to place it in an airtight container with some apples, which will soften the cake again.