December 5th. Second day of Christmas.
Honningkagehjerter or honey hearts, are a classic December or christmas treat. As a child I got at least one of these in my advent calendar during the month of December. Honey hearts are kinda like a gingerbread cookie, but more spongy. The chocolate adds some creaminess and sweetness. A honey heart is the taste of Christmas.
In Denmark it is the tradition to put a glossy picture of a Santa or an angel on the heart, which adds to the Christmas cheer.
You have to start up the pre-dough a little early, but the result is scrumptious, and well worth the effort. but if you want to take a shortcut make this Honey Cake instead, it's not the same thing, but a bit similar.
Makes 16-18 hearts.
450 g honey
450 g all-purpose flour
900 g pre-dough, shredded
2 egg yolks
10 g potaske (Potassium carbonate (K₂CO₃))
5 g ground cinnamon
5 g ground ginger
2½ g ground ground cloves
2½ g ground allspice
1 tablespoon orange zest, grated
1 tablespoon water
200 g good dark chocolate, tempered
glossy pictures or icing and sprinkles
Pour honey in a small cooking saucepan and heat to 104-122℉ (40-50℃). Pour the warm honey into the flour and knead it until you have a smooth mixture. I did that in my stand mixer. Place the mixture in an airtight container, and place it in a cool dry place for about 4-6 weeks. The pre-dough will turn very hard.
Preheat the oven to 350℉ (180℃). Line 3-4 bakings sheets with parchment paper, sprayed with baking spray and lightly floured. Set aside.
Mix the egg yolks with the potaske and set aside. Shred the hard pre-dough into you bowl for the stand mixer. Mix in the egg yolks, spices and zest. Start with your mixer on low for about 3 minutes. Then increase the speed to high and keep mixing for another 3 minutes. You end up with a smooth but somewhat sticky dough. If your dough seems to dry add a little water.
Scrape the dough out on a work surface sprinkled with good layer of flour. Sprinkle more flour on top of dough and roll dough out to about ⅕-inch (5 mm) thickness. Make sure to keep flouring your dough, so the dough doesn't stick. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out hearts placing them on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them with about 2-inches. Keep rolling the dough and cutting out hearts until all the dough is used up.
Bake hearts for 8-10 minutes. The hearts will be done when the cookie spring back when you gently press a finger in the center of the cookies. You don't want the cookies to deflate.
Let the hearts cool completely on a wire rack. The hearts will be crispy at this point. So to soften them up store the cookies in the refrigerator in an airtight container, with a damp towel for 3-4 days. (Place the towel, so it won't touch the hearts.) As is the hearts will keep for weeks in the refrigerator.
When ready to eat, cover the hearts with tempered chocolate. Place a glossy picture centered on the heart. Or decorate with icing and sprinkles.