By Julie Leonard
Lebkuchenherzen (Gingerbread Hearts) are as big a feature at Oktoberfest as the beer and clothes. With over 100 stalls within the Oktoberfest site to choose from you really should expect to buy one of these large heart shaped sweets that hang from pretty ribbons.
I have to be honest, when I first moved here I never really got what all the fuss is about. But once I learned the tradition behind them, and of course tasted one, I fell in love with them. And they really connect with my passion for happiness and kindness.
There is an old folklore tradition that giving sweets with messages written on them serves two purposes:
- The wish or thought is read and the message is received and
- The message is eaten and the person absorbs the wish and this adds to the strength of the wish.
Many people buy them and hang them on their wall. But I like the idea of absorbing a kind or loving message and prefer to eat them. Did you know that each year there at least 50 requests for marriage proposals to be written on hearts at every stall!
The hearts retain a lot of Bavarian identity with many sayings in Bayrisch. Some typical wishes are
- Ich liebe Dich (I love you
- Ich mag Dich (I like you)
- Spatzl (little sparrow)
- Weil i Di mog (Because I like you – in Munich dialect)
- Für mein Mädl (for my girl)
- Ich hab Dich (sooo) lieb (I like you sooo much)
- Drück mich (hug me)
- Meine Kuschelmaus (my snuggle-mouse)
Don’t you think that gingerbread hearts are for all occasions, not just for Oktoberfest? I do, and love to make small ones as gifts. Why not make your own, large or small and ice them with a message for a loved one, friend or colleague. It’s a lovely act of kindness.
Oktoberfest Gingerbread Hearts
Author: Jutta – Hungry Little Girl blog
What you need
- The Hearts:
½ cup butter
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons honey
¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
3 teaspoons gingerbread spice
5¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks
1-3 tablespoons milk
How you make it
1. Combine butter, honey, sugar, gingerbread spice and cocoa in a small pot over medium heat until sugar has dissolved completely, then let cool
2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, egg yolks, some milk and the honey mixture
3. Knead until smooth, then cover and let rest in fridge over night
4. Take a thick piece of paper or cardboard and cut out a heart sized 12*12 inches or use a cutter for smaller ones
5. Preheat your oven to 395 F (200 C)
6. Roll out the dough to about 0.5 inch thickness (cover the dough with clingfilm to avoid sticking to the rolling pin)
7. Use the heart form you made earlier and cut out a heart
8. Gently transfer the heart onto a baking sheet covered with baking paper and bake for 15 minutes
9. Immediately take off of baking sheet and let cool completely
10. Decorate with a message of your choice.
Julie is an English Speaking Life Coach, De-cluttering Expert and Aromatherapist practicing here in Munich. She supports people to transform their lives and to live to their potential. She has over 25 years experience in Health, Psychology and Coaching and over 20 years experience as an Aromatherapist.
More info can be found at http://www.potentiacentre.com
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