Easy German & European Cooking

Oktoberfest Gingerbread Hearts – Lebkuchenherzen

Oktoberfest is all about beer, Brathändel (rotisserie chicken) … and Lebkuchenherzen (Gingerbread Hearts)!

One could almost say that the Oktoberfest is some sort of Bavarian Valentine because it is a “must do” for the men to get their beloved girlfriend or wife a gingerbread heart with a nice writing on it.
Writings would be like “Schatzl” or “Spatzl” or another Bavarian word with the meaning like “darling”. These Gingerbread hearts have a string attached and the women wear them like a necklace.


An Oktoberfest treat for young and old

These hearts are quite expensive and I was really surprised how easy it is to make the dough and just bake them myself. If you make only a few of them, then the icing and writing aren’t too much trouble either … it’s just that I always make so many of them, that at the end my hands hurt from all the decorating.
I made a lot of them for one of our Oktoberfests, packed them in small bags and gave one to every child that came with their parents. They loved it! My hearts were smaller than the original Gingerbread Hearts, though. In Munich, they have about the size of an iPad.

Important to know about the Oktoberfest Gingerbread Hearts

Preparing the dough is a little uncommon with the melting of the sugar, honey and butter but I swear, once the dough is ready it is the softest dough you’ve ever touched!
One important thing one must know is, that after baking and cooling, the hearts are sort of hard but that’s OK. You need to put them in a tin jar for a few days and then they get nice and soft and ready to eat.


A German Christmas gift?

I really hope you try this, it’s so much fun and some friends like them so much that I bake a large batch before Christmas as a gift for them.
Actually one finds Gingerbread Hearts not only at the Oktoberfest, they also are on every Christmas market in Germany.

I had quite a few photos of the baking and wrapping and everything … but guess what? I lost them! I’ll make new pictures the next time I bake Oktoberfest Gingerbread Hearts and will add them then.

Oktoberfest Gingerbread Hearts - Lebkuchenherzen
Print Recipe
Bake these Oktoberfest Gingerbread Hearts a few days ahead to give them time to soften.
Cook Time
12 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Oktoberfest Gingerbread Hearts - Lebkuchenherzen
Print Recipe
Bake these Oktoberfest Gingerbread Hearts a few days ahead to give them time to soften.
Cook Time
12 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
  1. In a sauce pan combine the honey, the sugar and the butter and melt (don't boil!).
  2. In a large bowl mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and egg yolk and lemon zest.
  3. Add the butter-honey-sugar mix to the dry mix and knead all to a nice, soft dough.
  4. Roll out on a large surface and use a heart cookie cutter for smaller hearts or use a larger heart shape to cut out a larger heart.
  5. Place the gingerbread hearts on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F for about 11 to 12 minutes.
  6. After baking, let them cool and prepare the frosting.
  7. Whisk the egg white and gradually mix the confectioners sugar to it until it is a nice, stiff texture.
  8. Divide into several different batches and add different food colors to each batch.
  9. Fill into piping bags with apropriate tips and decorate like in the pictures.
Recipe Notes

What to write onto Oktoberfest Gingerbread Heart

"I mog di" (I like you)
"Wiesn' Madl" (Oktoberfest is also called "Wiesn" which means meadow, so this can be translated to "Meado Girl")
"Herzl" (Heart)

Other Ideas

Will you marry me?
Name of your girl
"Oktoberfest" (followed by the year)


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2 Responses to Oktoberfest Gingerbread Hearts – Lebkuchenherzen

  • Looks like a good recipe, doesn’t need to sit in the fridge overnight. Question- how much baking powder do you add?

    • Hello Frau Bee,
      thank you for your question, which I will be happy to answer … in a few weeks. Unfortunately, I am out of town and my recipe book is at home, so I cannot look it up right now. But I will come back to this and complete the recipe with this indeed very important information.

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My name is Barbara, I am a mother of three and happily married to the most supportive husband anyone can imagine.
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