Traditional Gingerbread Heart for the Oktoberfest

Lebkuchenherzen zum Oktoberfest

For the beginning of the Oktoberfest I decided to introduce gingerbread hearts, they are a staple during this time, decorated with royal icing, often in blue and white for the Bavarian colors and showing the edelweiss flower common in the mountains. These gingerbread hearts, however, don’t necessarily need to be served for the Oktoberfest only, you can also give them as a gift for a special occasion such as a wedding, baptism, or as another sweet giveaway. Essentially, I went for my beloved recipe for gingerbread, which has been on my blog for a while. You can very easily make a vegan version of this recipe as it does not contain eggs. Please see details in the recipe below.

I asked several experts who have eaten hearts from the Oktoberfest and they did tell me that yes, you usually make it with the traditional gingerbread spices. You don’t necessarily have to, but it is pretty common. So folks, if you are in for some decorating, for having fun, this recipe is for you!

As stated above, the recipe can be easily veganized as the dough does not contain any eggs. However, you need to be careful when making the icing. Normally it is prepared with egg whites. If you want to do the vegan version, you will need to go for lemon juice, vegan milk, or water. I have been told that the leftover brine from chickpeas is the best replacement, but I have not tried that myself. If you give that a go, please let me know.

When I started decorating the hearts, I made the mistake of not adding enough icing sugar to the icing. You can see that the heart with the name “Ramona” does not have such clear structure as the other ones. The icing was too watery and somehow slurred into a line. So I would recommend to try it first on something different (you can simply pipe on a plate) to see whether the consistency is thick enough. I also recommend starting with the light colors first and then work your way to the darker ones. I first write all the names on the hearts (make sure to leave enough space for the outer decoration) and piped the white parts of the flower. After that I only colored a small part in yellow and even used a toothpick to apply the icing. The yellow color was then mixed into green. As with everything, your first hearts may not come out perfect, but I hope you will have fun and just enjoy this meditative work…

Gingerbread Hearts for the Oktoberfest

Serves: About 15 hearts, depending on size
Prep Time: 2hr Cooking Time: 12min Total Time: 2hr 30min

These gingerbread hearts are tradiitionally sold on the Oktoberfest, but are a perfect gift for a wedding or any other special occasion.


  • Gingerbread Dough
  • 400 grams of molasses
  • 100 grams of water
  • 100 grams of brown sugar
  • 60 grams of (vegan) butter
  • 600 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cardamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

  • Royal Icing
  • 2 egg whites (for a vegan option either go with lemon juice, vegan milk, or water, you may try the leftover water from a can of chickpeas)
  • About 500 grams of icing sugar
  • Food coloring



Print out the hearts, see here, on paper and cut out.


For the gingerbread dough, bring molasses, water and sugar to a boil, add butter and take off heat, stir and let cool. Add all other ingredients and mix well until it forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour in the fridge or overnight. The dough will keep in the fridge for about a week. You will notice that the chilled dough will have a darker color, that's normal.


Roll out dough on a generously floured surface about half a centimeter thick, place your cut out "cookie cutters" on it and cut hearts in different sizes with a sharp knife. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the hearts on it. Make two holes with a toothpick or similar if you want to hang the hearts afterwards (see pics). Bake for about 12 minutes or until brown. I recommend baking about one minute longer than normal as you want the hearts to be sturdy. Let cool.


For the royal icing mix the egg whites with about 450 grams of icing sugar with a mixer for about 5 minutes. The consistency should be of a toothpaste. If it is too thick, add a little bit of water, if it is too runny, add a bit icing sugar. Transfer about a tablespoon of the icing to a piping bag, cut of just a tiny part of the tip and first write down all the names and all the parts you wish to have in white (e.g. flower edelweiss). Only color very small amounts for any additional adornments, you will need most of the icing to pipe the outer shape of the heart. Once you have decorated the inside to your liking, use all the left icing to decorate the outer part of the heart. Traditionally a light blue and white is used to represent the Bavarian flag, but this is up to you. The consistency has to be extremely stiff so that your piping can be seen. Use e.g. a star tip to create the patterns as I did, I moved always half a circle. You may want to practice on a plate before you try on the hearts. Once your hearts have dried overnight, you can hang them and gift them as a nice gift as they will keep for a few weeks.

Lebkuchenherzen zum Oktoberfest

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Monday September 19th, 2022 at 10:50 AM

    Das ist ein Muss zum Oktoberfest;)

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