Gingerbread Hearts

Even though gingerbread already takes up a big part of this blog, I want to present another option for using gingerbread dough : the classic gingerbread heart, also known as "Wiesn-Herz" by Munich's citizens. I think it's a great gift for birthdays, child births and so on, and therefore always keep some of the readymade gingerbread dough in the fridge...

Ingrediens für 1 gingerbread heart:
250 g readymade gingerbread dough (some more for the trimming)

For the Royal Icing (detailed recipe see here)
1 egg white
1 TL lemon juice
300 g powdered sugar
food coloring

Sketch a heart shape on baking sheets, either use an existing gingerbread heart as a template, print one out, or draw it yourself (then fold the paper in the middle such that the result will be symmetrical!). Make sure that the tip is rather round, otherwise that part might get dark too fast during the baking. 
Roll out the dough (you should use a bit more than the 250 g, as you have to trim the margins). I baked two hearts, one for practicing and the one that's being given away. Lay the baking sheet heart on the dough and cut it our with a knife. Use the baking sheet heart to carry the dough heart on the baking tray. If you want to add a ribbon to the heart, don't forget to punch in two holes! Since I mailed this heart as a kind of birthday card, I chose not to punch holes in it, but use the space for flowers instead. ;-)

Bake at 175°C for about 15 minutes. Test if it's done by lightly pressing the heart with your finger - if the dough doesn't come up again where you pressed, the gingerbread isn't done yet. Also, the underside has to be browned.

Royal Icing:Start beating the egg whites, add lemon juice and powdered sugar. Depending on the size of the egg, you can add more powdered sugar, the Icing should be rather stiff.   
It hardens quickly, but can be kept for several days if it's sealed in an airtight container or plastic bag. I keep it in plastic freezer bags in the fridge, which I can knead through and use for decorating as the need arises.

I had a lot of fun with my food coloring from Sri Lanka, for future reference: lilac needs much more red than blue and if the blue food coloring bottle falls over and colors your hand including fingernails, it takes some time to get if off! But I think it was worth it ;-)

Use a star-shaped tip to decorate the margin of the heart. It helps if someone assists you, turning the heart around such that you can keep piping in one direction. Afterwards, I wrote my text on the hearts and tried my hand at flowers. The heart on the left side is my "practice heart". 

One thing I want to try someday is to mix colors in the piping bag for the margins, I bet that looks great. 
If you want to keep the gingerbread heart instead of eating it, you should wrap it: Cut out a piece of cardboard in the shape of the gingerbread heart, glue the baking sheet heart to the cardboard, lay the gingerbread heart on the baking sheet heart, possibly mark the wholes in the gingerbread on the paper, punch holes through the cardboard and paper. Cover the gingerbread heart with a big piece of clingfilm, cross the ends of the clingfilm on the back side of the heart, fix them with tape. Possibly stick your ribbon through clingfilm, cardboard, gingerbread, clingfilm, gingerbread, cardboard, clingfilm and tie it. I hope that this heart survives its mail journey!


These are pictures of my very first gingerbread hearts.

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