Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gingerbread Hearts


It felt sort of like Christmas again in my kitchen last week. The smell of gingerbread cookies baking on a cold, winter day is heavenly.  The taste of gingerbread cookies with my afternoon tea - even better!    

I hadn't thought of making gingerbread hearts for Valentines Day until a friend of mine forwarded a link to me of a blogger in Norway who turns gingerbread cookies into beautiful works of art that she displays in her home during Christmas.


I don't have the patience for spending hours decorating cookies since I'm not fond of frosted cookies anyway. So, I really didn't give much thought to them and, after all, I had just made my favorite recipe for gingerbread cookies at Christmas.  Also, my one and only attempt at Royal Icing was a total flop.


My friend kept dropping hints though. Why should I waste my time! Hint. Hint.

Then we had a snow storm.  I was stuck indoors and decided to give my decorating skills another try.  I won't show you the first few, but after getting the consistency of the Royal Icing worked out and the right tip on my decorating bag, it started to get more and more comfortable.


I cut the heart shapes with a knife to get a variety of free-form shapes. The frosted cookies will be used solely for decoration.  I added a dusting of granulated sugar to some and topped others with sliced almonds.  My friend tells me the taste of these cookies reminds her of old fashioned Windmill cookies.


You can find my personalized recipe for gingerbread cookies here. I punched a hole in the top of each heart with a plastic drinking straw before baking. 

Royal Icing
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes about 2 1/2 cups  (I halved this recipe)

5 Tablespoons meringue powder
4 cups confectioners' sugar, or more to thicken icing
6 Tablespoons water
3 drops glycerin

Note: You can find both meringue powder and glycerin at JoAnn in the baking section.

Add the meringue powder and confectioners’ sugar to a bowl Add water, a few tablespoons at a time and mix until the consistency looks good. Not too runny. Add more powdered sugar if needed. Beat for 1 minute. Add glycerin and mix thoroughly.

The icing will keep for several days in an airtight container. After you decorate the cookies the frosting will take about one hour to dry thoroughly so handle carefully until then.

64 comments:

  1. These are so lovely, I would want to hang them off a tree! Beautiful decorating job, Susan. I made gingerbread cookies a couple of weeks ago, when it was in the single digits, but from a mix. ;-) xo

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  2. I LOVE the free form..I know you are an artist..and these cookies reflect your talent:)
    I think you should make Easter ones too..and St Pats..and Christmas..Oh little works of Heart Nana2..
    I would actually wear one:)

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    1. You are so kind, M. Great idea for all the holidays! I'll have to work on that :)

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  3. great idea...i really need to make some of these. we all love gingerbread!

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  4. They are truly beautiful and remind me of an old-fashioned Valebtines Day that I would love to enjoy.

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  5. Hi Susan, your ginger bread heart look so cute and pretty. Very creative ideas.

    Have a nice week ahead,regards.

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  6. Your cookies turned out beautiful Susan! No doubt it was a fun way to spend a snowy afternoon and I love the zig-zaggy edges on some of them:@)

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  7. Susan, you are far too critical of yourself...the cookies are beautiful. I don't have the patience, plus I have a hard time holding a pastry bag, I want to squeeze it to death. I need to go take cake decorating 101, again.

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    2. I have the same problem and that's probably why I've been so bad at it. The angle of the bad made a big difference.

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  8. Oh, Susan, they are lovely. They are so German looking. Absolutely love them.

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  9. I've never thought of gingerbread hearts for Valentine's either. I can only aspire to make mine look as good as your's!!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  10. Look just Beautifuk Susan, really beauty!

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  11. Very pretty Susan! Some day when I have time. LOL

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  12. Those cookies are beautiful, Susan! We may have another snow storm Friday, maybe I'll have to do a little baking. :)

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  13. These are adorable, LOVE this idea for gingerbread cookies.

    Carolyn/A Southerner's Notebook

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  14. They look almost too cute to eat! I love gingerbread cookies.

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  15. Thank goodness for bad weather that forces us to try activities we wouldn't otherwise do. These cookies are beautiful! Worthy of gifting to a good friend.

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  16. Wow! Those are to pretty to eat! Almost - I would have to sample one to be sure. :-D Great way to spend a snowed in day.

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  17. I think your cookies are beautiful, Susan. I have zero piping skills and finally took a class last week to try to get the hang of it. I can tell it is going to take lots of practice. Don't know if I'm up for it, but I'll try. Your designs reminds me of the gingerbread cookies in the holiday markets in Germany.

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    1. Thanks, Cathy! I think it would be wonderful to take a class. You're right it does take practice!

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  18. I love gingerbread cookies-love, love them. You made your cookies almost too pretty to eat.

    Velva

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  19. Susan, I think you're going to get hooked on decorating gingerbread cookies. So pretty!

    I love gingerbread decorated with royal icing simply for the embroidery effect it gives them.

    Years ago, I piped icing on about 50 GB hearts to hang on our Christmas tree. The tree came alive and the house smelled wonderful, but, my hands were not as thrilled, so that was the last time I've attempted it.

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    1. Sol, thank you and you know it's an honor to have your praise, as the priestess of food style and decor :)

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  20. Magical, that's what these are!! What precious little jewels...way too pretty to eat!
    I adore the way you've displayed them for the photograph. Very ingenious, Susan!
    Well done!

    BTW, if you DO try the sour cream pancakes, make the full recipe. Pat got 6 little ones from her 1/2 batch, but I only got 3 big ones. I guess I poured more than 1/4th of a cup for each! LOL I wanted more to eat, that's for sure.

    Hugs,
    Rett

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    1. Thanks, Rett. I have this one those pancakes on list of things to make this weekend :)

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  21. These are so beautiful! I love the white piping on them. Gingerbread is perfect any time of year I think. :)

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  22. Always a good time for gingerbread cookies! They are beautiful with the contrast of the white icing-so much fun for gifting :-)

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  23. lovely idea for valentines and great job decorating them

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  24. These are really beautifully decorated, Susan. Love your silver plate.

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  25. Susan, your gingerbread cookies hear shape are so pretty...I would not want to eat them...so I would keep it.
    Have a great week Susan!

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  26. Those are so pretty both in the way you displayed and decorated them. I would have a hard time eating cookies so pretty, so I see why you just want to enjoy them. You make me want to learn how to use royal icing, which I've never done before. Thanks for sharing with us!

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  27. wow!!!! for someone who does not like this sort of work you did an amazing job!!! these could sell at our local farmer's market in minutes! now you are inspiring me to make some as well, I will enlist my 7 year old niece to "help". Love them Susan!

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    1. Thank you, Joumana! I honestly don't enjoy the task nor the taste but taken solely as art I can enjoy the work :)

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  28. These are true jewels Susan! Perfectly made!

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  29. What beautiful looking biscuits :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  30. SWOON! Your cookies are beautiful Susan and I LOVE them hanging on your tray, my pinning finger is already itching :) I can only imagine how wonderful these cookies smelled and what a wonderful Valentine's Day gift they would make! Royal Icing and cookie decoration is not in my skill set but these make me want to try!

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  31. Practice makes perfect. I was just like you. My first attempts at royal icing were very disappointing. The texture is everything. Once you get it and practice, well the results are very satisfying. YOur cookies are just gorgeous. You must make your Valentines very happy campers!!

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    1. Yes, especially the friend who kept nudging me :)

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  32. What a great idea. Making gingerbread hearts rather than making hearts out of butter or sugar cookies sounds so much better to me. Plus I feel like the decorations wouldn't need to be as elaborate as with the other two. Mainly because the royal icing is more visible. Your cookies are beautiful!

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  33. Those cookies are works of art. I can just picture you patiently decorating them while the snow blows outside. Can't think of a better way to spend a snowy day.

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  34. Your cookies are so pretty and beautifully decorated! These are perfect for Valentine indeed! Love it!

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  35. Those are so beautiful! I love them! Like you, I don't have the patience for decorating cookies, but I like how you decorated these!

    Nice to visit, it's been a while it seems! Have a great day & keep warm!

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  36. I love ginerbread and gingersnaps any time of the year! Cutting them out individually is a great idea, but I have done it, and it is NOT easy. Yours look PERFECT! What a lovely aroma to have in the air during the season of Looove! XO
    Valerie

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  37. These are lovely - I tend to fail at decorating, but you've given me some impetus to give it another shot!

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  38. too pretty to eat Susan!Lovely photos ! Have a good day my dear, a warm hug...

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  39. These cookies are gorgeous. I have never worked with royal icing before. I just don't seem to have the confidence to do it.

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  40. What a super cute idea! Your decorations are fabulous!

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  41. What adorable cookies! You did such a super job decorating them, too. Fun idea, Susan!

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  42. Your cookies are beautiful and remind me of the ones I see when we travel in Germany and Austria. Karen

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  43. These are just beautiful! I bet they are equally delicious :)

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    1. So happy you liked the beef and broccoli! Thanks for letting me know. Having a giveaway today so please stop in and leave a comment to get a chance to win. Thanks again.

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  44. Works of art, Susan! Well done!
    I have come to like gingerbread as an adult, yet my gkids will not eat it! I guess they will expand their palette as they grow up? But you still don't like goat cheese, and I have a dislike of things green and bean like! :) There's no hope for us now!

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    1. You're right - no goat cheese here and I highly doubt there ever will be :) Mack loves my gingerbread. Maybe it's because I don't put cloves in mine.

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  45. Those are bakery shop beautiful!! Fun to have gingerbread for Valentines Day!

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  46. Susan,
    These cookies looks fabulous!!!
    You never fail to impress me.
    You are one of the bloggers I truly admire.
    Keep sharing!

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  47. Perfect for HEART day. You are so talented and creative.

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  48. You're absolutely right, these are a welcome variation on the typical iced cut-out cookie one usually sees. I love the idea of having gingerbread cookies for an occasion other than Christmas. Yours turned out beautifully!

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  49. The hearts are beautiful. My favourite shape! The cookies remind me of the gingerbread we used to buy in the market in Aachen.

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  50. Absolutely gorgeous Susan. Now if I could just get snowed in, I might have the patience for something like this.

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  51. Susan I heard about a lot of snow there ne safe and warm Sudan, hugs!

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