How to make German Gingerbread Hearts

This post includes our family recipe for How to make German Gingerbread Hearts. Oktoberfest (Wiesn) gingerbread heats can be found all over the grounds of the Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. The gingerbread hearts (Lebuchenhertz) can be spotted on tents, fair rides, food & candy stalls, and lavishly hanging around people’s necks. Even when we aren’t attending Oktoberfest, our family creates an at home Oktoberfest celebreation.

How to make German Gingerbread Hearts just like the Oktoberfest Hearts:

Not only are Gingerbread Hearts an Oktoberfest bestseller, they are a cultural icon for Bavarians and for Oktoberfest.

Time to make: 20 minutes

Time to bake: 15 minutes

Resting time: 4- 8 hours

How to make German Gingerbread Hearts, The Dough:

  • 400 g plain flour
  • 1 (tsp) ground ginger
  • 1 (tsp) ground cinnamon
  • 1 (tbsp.) cocoa powder
  • 1 (tsp.) baking powder
  • 115 g unsalted butter
  • 65 g light brown sugar
  • 65 g dark brown sugar
  • 3 (tbsp) golden syrup or 250 g of honey
  • 1 medium egg
  1. In a bowl, place the butter (melted), light brown sugar and dark brown sugar. Mix until smooth and creamy. Then add the egg and *golden syrup (or honey) and mix together until a smooth paste has been formed. *Our family uses golden syrup but several of our German friends prefer to use honey.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together until a dough is formed. We mix our dough togher by hand, but you can also mix the dough together in a free standing mixer.
  3. Once the dough has formed, knead on a surface lightly dusted with flour. Spread a large amount of flour on the work countertop and roll out the dough to about 1 cm thick.

4. Use a large, heart-shaped cookie cutter or make your own template to cut out large, heart-shaped cookies.

We made our own template by drawing a heart shape on a piece of cardboard and cutting it out.

5. Place the template on top of the dough and cut them out with a knife.

If you want to hang your heart from a ribbon, create 1 or 2 holes about ¾-inch below the top of the cookie before you bake it.

6. Then place the hearts on a baking sheet and bake at 200C in a preheated oven for about 12 to 15 minutes.

Take them out and let them cool.

How to make German Gingerbread Hearts; The Decorations:

Egg white icing with dry egg whites

  • 500 g powdered sugar, finely sifted
  • 3 (tbsp.) dry egg white
  • 6 (tbsp.) water

For the sugar icing a 4 mm hole nozzle

  • For the sugar stars a medium sized star nozzle
  • Several icing bags
  • Food coloring
  • Chocolate icing can also be used

For the egg white piping glaze, whip the egg whites with a hand mixer and stir in powdered sugar.

Add a little more powdered sugar, if you want the frosting to be thicker or add water drop by drop if it has become too sticky.

Put the frosting in a piping bag and decorate the gingerbread hearts as desired.

If you like, you can also portion the frosting and color it differently with food coloring.

The gingerbread will stay fresh much longer, by using the dry egg white. Before decorating with egg whites, the gingerbreads can also be dipped in a melted chocolate coating.

Use a star nozzle to pipe alternating white and blue dots around the edge of the hearts.

Not every gingerbread baker has the exact same recipe.
Just like Christmas cookies, each German family or gingerbread baker has their personal family recipe which is passed on within the family.

Have you been to Munich’s Oktoberfest?

Did you know that Munich’s Oktoberfest is VERY kid friendly? We absolutely LOVE it!


Have you been to an Oktoberfest outside of Germany that you felt was authentic? If so, where?

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