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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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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Saturday, August 9, 2014

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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How to create animal cookies

Animal cookies will be a hit at any kid party. And they are easier to do than you would think!
With just one easy shape you can create a cheerful plate:
Colorful caterpillar cookies

Would you like to free your creative genius? Bake a handful of butterflies and start decorating:
Butterfly cookies

You can learn how to make 60 different designs with easy to follow, step by step instructions from my book Animal Cookies. The book is available here, at or at your favorite book seller. You can find out more about this book at my website.