The recipe for perfect gingerbread hearts

Bake gingerbread hearts at home: A personal Oktoberfest gift

They’re delicious and highly coveted: Besides roasted almonds, nuts, and cotton candy, gingerbread hearts are the classics at Oktoberfest. Those who don’t want to bring this kind of decorated heart back to their loved ones, but do want to bake it themselves, can rejoice: It’s not hard to do at all. Here’s how it works!


The gingerbread heart: Sweet Oktoberfest tradition

Gingerbread is not only in great demand during Advent and Christmas, but also during Oktoberfest in Munich. Countless sizes and variations with declarations of love or typical Bavarian Grant slogans out of sugar writing hang on the stands in the Oktoberfest alleyways. Gustav Tschernich, who died in early 2019, is not entirely innocent of the sweet cult. He and his wife Herta gave the Oktoberfest heart its typical shape. The master confectioner also dispensed with the otherwise popular chocolate coating for gingerbread during deliveries to Oktoberfest dealers, in order to avoid smears on dirndl blouses and traditional shirts. The gingerbread itself is much older: The first written records of the related honey cake date back to 350 BC, while the modern-day variant with spices such as anise, cinnamon, and cardamom dates back to the 12th century in Dinant, Belgium. The gingerbread hearts decorated with sayings, however, are typical of Munich.

Make gingerbread hearts yourself quickly and easily

If you don’t want to buy one of the sweet hearts of the Oktoberfest, or if you can’t find one with the right text, it’s relatively easy to create your own personal gift — and decorate it with your own sayings. You don’t need a lot of ingredients. And the best thing is: All the things you need for gingerbread hearts can be found in any well-stocked supermarket.

The ingredients for a gingerbread heart

The shopping list for a Oktoberfest heart includes:

  • 200g butter
  • 550g honey
  • 250g sugar
  • 1 pinch of gingerbread spice
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1,200g flour
  • 1 pinch baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pinch salt

The ingredients for the perfect gingerbread heart decoration

For the decoration with glaze, pattern, or personal saying, you also need:

  • Chocolate icing as required
  • Roughly 150g powdered sugar
  • 1 fresh egg
  • white Food coloring, if desired

How to make a gingerbread heart like on the Oktoberfest

1. First, slowly heat butter, honey, sugar, gingerbread spice, and cocoa in a pot. Once a smooth mass has formed, remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl, then add salt, eggs, and the honey mass from the pot and knead into a dough.

2. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a foil or cloth, and leave to stand at room temperature for half a day or the whole day.

3. Line several baking trays with baking paper. Paint a heart shape (or, of course, any other motif) on a piece of cardboard and cut it out. Spread flour over a large area of the work surface and roll out the dough. Place the stencils on the table and cut out the hearts with a sharp knife. Then spread over the baking trays.

4. Bake gingerbread hearts at 200 °C (392 °F) in a preheated oven for about 12 to 15 minutes.

Oktoberfest hearts: Only genuine with decoration and saying

Of course, a Oktoberfest heart is only complete with the appropriate decoration. For example, you can cover the gingerbread hearts on both sides with the chocolate icing. Then let the chocolate dry. Beat the egg whites with a hand mixer until they form a foam, and stir in the powdered sugar until the mixture is splash-proof. Please make sure that the egg white is completely fresh and well cooled. Pour the icing in a piping bag and decorate the gingerbread hearts as desired! Of course, you can also leave out the chocolate and write a classic saying on the “naked” heart. If you like, you can also portion the icing and color it differently with food coloring. The result is a heart with a colorful, genuine Oktoberfest decoration!