Friday, August 29, 2014

Traditional Hungarian Red Gingerbread Hearts

There are some traditions that stay alive for centuries, and the tradition of red gingerbread hearts is one of them. 

Red Gingerbread Heart

Of course, their place in people’s lives has changed over the centuries, but they are still seen at country fairs and festivals.

These big gingerbread hearts used to be the nicest and sweetest gift a young man could buy for his love.

I heard someone telling about a tradition of giving a nice big gingerbread heart at the beginning of the relationship. The young man took the gingerbread heart to the young girl’s house and gave the heart to the girl he liked. If the family displayed the heart, it meant he is welcome to start a relationship with the girl. If they put the heart away, it meant that he is not welcome.

Red Gingerbread Heart 2

The traditional decoration has flowers grouped in threes, positioned like eyes and mouth to give the heart personality. These hearts often have a mirror in the center that represent true feeling and clean spirit. This also came handy those days when hand-held mirrors were not common. Recipients could use these hearts to look at themselves.

Children often got smaller hearts and other figures, like dolls, or a “huszar” (a Hungarian soldier fighting on a horse, using a sword). At that time the selection of sweets and candies was very limited, so gingerbread was a real treat.

Red Gingerbread Heart 3

Today they are valued for both tradition and nostalgia, as they remind people of their childhood. 

You can order your own from my webshop. Or make some, using my gingerbread recipe.

Red Gingerbread Heart 4

Edit July 2016:

Now a video is also available:

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Gingerbread Workshop at Gallery 916

I have found a new home! It is so exciting...

Gallery 916

There is a beautiful, inspiring place in Bowling Green called Gallery 916. This is an art gallery and they are also hosting art classes and workshops. Starting next month I will teach their Gingerbread Workshops.

Gingerbread Workshop dates are the third Monday of each month.

I hope many of you will join me!

The first workshop will be Monday, September 15, 6.30 pm.
At Gallery 916, 601. State Street, Bowling Green, Kentucky
Class fee is $20, that includes all supplies and materials.

To sign up, please contact Gallery 916 at 270-843-5511

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

White gingerbread heart birthday cookie, video tutorial

Many of my cookie friends would like to see how I create my cookies. I made a few tutorials with lots of pictures, but was always scared to make a video. It seamed to be so hard...

But I decided to give it a try and this week I set up my camera while I was decorating this white on white birthday cookie. I have to tell you, there is room for improvement, but I honestly hope that you will enjoy it anyway. I will try to do a better job next time!

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Elegant white gingerbread hearts

White gingerbread hearts 1

I always loved the white on white design, but never made white on white heart cookies. I always imagined how elegant and beautiful it could be. How nice it would be to give it to someone instead of a 'Thank You' note or a birthday card.

White gingerbread hearts 2

And the time has arrived. My son is going to a new school and he is a car rider now. And I found myself spending a lot of valuable time in the pick-up line. What a wonderful opportunity! Since the second day I have paper and pencil with me and I draw cookie designs while waiting. And finally a few white on white design has born!

White gingerbread hearts 3

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Monday, August 11, 2014

How-to festival at Warren County Public Library

For all of you who live near Bowling Green, Kentucky: Warren County Public Library will host its first-ever How-To Festival at the Bob Kirby Branch Library Saturday, August 16. A variety of how-to topics will be showcased in half-hour sessions, and each one will feature an entertaining demonstration, educational workshop, or interactive class presented by experts in those areas.

This will be a very fun activity, it's free and I will teach one session at 10:00 in classroom 1.
I hope to see you there and have fun together!

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

3D gingerbread heart cookie

3D gingerbread hearts

To create these hearts you will need our special cookiemolds.

Ingredients for 24+ hearts.
(if you have a scale, use grams for accuracy):

500 g (4 cup) all purpose flour,
250 g (2-1/4 cup) confectioners' sugar,
110 g (1/3 cup) honey,
3 large egg,
55 g (1/2 stick) butter
2 tsp ground cinnamon,
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking soda

Mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Knead the dough for a couple minutes, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

For best results, leave dough for one day in a cool dry place, or for up to one week in the refrigerator.

UPDATE: Online class about making this dough, egg wash and icing is available now:

 Preheat oven to 385°F.
Knead the dough thoroughly before baking, and roll out to a thickness of 1/8”.
Cut heart shapes with the cookie cutter included with the molds. 

 Spray the outside of the molds with cooking spray, or brush with vegetable oil.

 Place the heart-shaped dough over the mold

 Gently shape the dough onto the mold, following the curves.

 Place them on a cookie sheet and bake for approximately 7-9 minutes.

 The cookies will be soft when removed from the oven.
CAUTION! The molds will be hot!

 Let it cool enough to be safe to handle and remove the molds. It should be easy. If not, just slide a knife between the mold and the cookie and turn it slightly.

 Mix 1 egg yolk, 1 tbs heavy whipping cream and a few drops of gel food coloring.

 Use this mix and a paintbrush to glaze your cookies.

 Let them dry, or put them in the oven for 1 minute at 350°F to dry them quickly.

 Using a scribe tool or a big needle, outline a smaller cookie cutter or a paper template to draw a smaller heart in the middle.

 Decorate two cookies with royal icing. Let them dry completely.

 Prepare the two halves and a piece of ribbon. Work on a bubble wrap to protect the decoration on the cookie.

 Outline the rim of one cookie with royal icing. Tie a knot on a ribbon an place it on the cookie.

 Place one cookie on top of the other and let dry for 10-15 minutes.

Decorate where the two pieces meet with a row of dots.

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Heart cookies with coconut filling

Heart cookies with coconut filling

To create these hearts you will need our special cookie molds.

Ingredients for 12 filled cookies.
(if you have a scale, use grams for accuracy)

For the dough:
200 g (1-1/2 cup) all purpose flour
140 g (1 stick + 1 tbs) margarine, softened
1 egg yolk
50 g (1/2 cup) confectioners’ sugar

For the filling:
100 ml (1/3 cup + 1 tbs) milk
1 tbsp flour
100 g (1 stick) butter
100 g (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar
100 g (1 cup) shredded coconut
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
 Mix together all ingredients until well incorporated.

 Form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

 Divide dough into 24 pieces. Press the dough along the inside edge of the mold, so that it produces a hollow cookie.

 Preheat oven to 400°F.

 Bake for 12 minutes.

 Remove from oven.
CAUTION! The molds will be hot! 

 Using tongs, flip the molds over to remove the cookies while still warm. They should come out easily.

 Cool cookies completely before filling on a cooling rack.

 Prepare all ingredients for the filling.

 Mix the milk and flour in a small saucepan.

 Heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens.  Remove from heat and let cool.

 Mix butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy.  Mix in coconut and vanilla extract.

Add the milk sauce, mixing well.

 Use this filling to fill the heart cookies.

 Put two pieces together to form a 3-D heart.

Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, decorate with melted chocolate or dip in melted chocolate. Refrigerate until served.

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Puzzle cookies

Puzzle cookie
This week a friend asked me to create some cookies for a 10 years old little boy's birthday. All I knew about the little boy was his favorite color: blue.

I am not making licensed character cookies, a 10 year old is too old for the cute little boy shapes... I wanted to create something cool a big boy would appreciate.

I came up with the idea to create a cookie puzzle. I already had a puzzle piece cookie cutter from The cookie cutter company that I wanted to try.

We all know, that cookies change their shape while we bake them, so I needed to find a solution to this problem.

It's also important to assure, that all the parts have a doable shape - no part too thin.

Its also a good idea to have a big main motif which will help to put the pieces together.

So I started planning:
By outlining the cookie cutter I planned the puzzle grid. I first drew the middle one. Then four others to the four corners, all touching the corners of the middle piece. This is the way I cut the cookie later. So by cutting out 5 puzzle pieces I created a 9 piece puzzle.
Puzzle cookie planning

When I had the puzzle shape I planned the shape of the cookie and the design of the decoration. Then I cut it out to use it as a template to hand cut the cookie.
Puzzle cookie design planning

I baked this big circle from my gingerbread cookie and while it was still warm and soft I turned it up side down (to have nicer cuts at the top side) and cut out the puzzle pieces.
Puzzle cookie cut

When I had all the pieces cut I let them cool completely before decorating.
Puzzle cookie pieces cooling

After cooling the pieces I assembled the puzzle to trace the main motif on the pieces with a scribe tool (or trussing needle whichever you have on hand).
Puzzle cookie design

The last step was the decorating with royal icing.

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