Thursday, December 23, 2010

Honigherzli (Honey Heart Cookies)

I'm not such a fan of fruitcakes or Christmas puddings or fruit mince pies. In fact, I kinda loathe them. What I do love are Christmas cookies. So when it comes to my Christmas baking I love to whip out my mother's best cookie recipes.

Cinnamon, hazelnuts, almonds, clove powder, aniseed. These are the flavours that conjure up the smells of a yummy Christmas. I know I'm biased, but I reckon Swiss baking is amazing. So here is the recipe for the first batch of cookies we made this year. These would also look great in other shapes, but since the recipe name is "honig" (honey) "herzli" (little hearts), it seems weird to make any other shape. But feel free to rebel.

These cookies are yum even if you choose not to glaze them. They have a nice soft texture and are great for dunking. But the best thing about them is the lovely harmonious combination of honey, spices and lemon. Subtle, yet delicious. Leave some out for Santa, he's bound to love 'em.

Cookie Ingredients:

100g sugar
1 egg
25g margarine (or butter)
100g honey ( use thick/solid honey, not the runny stuff, for best results)
grated rind of half a lemon
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch clove powder
240g plain flour
50g ground almond
1 tsp baking powder

60g dark chocolate
2 Tbsp water
60g icing sugar


In a large bowl, beat the sugar and egg until it becomes fluffy and aerated.
Add the margarine and honey to a small pan, heat until they melt completely, then add to the large bowl and stir.

Mix in the lemon zest. cinnamon and clove powder.

Add the rest of the dry ingredients, add a little more flour if needed then lightly knead it, leave aside to rest for half an hour.

Roll out the dough, on a floured bench, until it is 5mm thick. Cut out the hearts.

Bake at 180 Celsius, for 10 minutes.

Let the cookies cool.

When they are cool, melt the chocolate and water together.

Sieve in the icing sugar. Stir well, then glaze the cookies.

Makes approx 29 cookies


  1. Looks great, topped with chocolate, it is a real treat

  2. These cookies sound delicious, and they're just beautiful!

  3. So sweet! Now, these are definitely heart-felt treats that anyone would be touched to receive. ;)

  4. Would these work well with butter?

  5. Hi womo531, yip I've made them using butter (unsalted) and it works just as well.

    Thanks everyone for the lovely comments. :)

  6. The batter was very flavourful, but was too wet. I added almost a full cup of flour to be able to handle the dough, diminished the over all honey flavour of the finished cookie.

    The dough was so sticky that it could not be rolled out with the original amount of flour. Would the rest period have diminished the wetness?
    The honey mixture was still a little warm when I incorporated it, was that the error?
    Any suggestions?

  7. Hiya, that sucks that the recipe didn't work for you. The rest period does help, but it shouldn't have been that sticky.

    What kind of honey did you use? I've never used "runny" honey in the recipe, like the liquid kind. Only the quite thick stuff. So I guess if you use liquid honey, the dough would probably stay wetter even when rested. That's all that really comes to mind sorry, I've made this recipe numerous times and never had this problem. I'd be keen to hear if you used runny honey, so I can make an amendment to the recipe. I really can't think of anything else.

  8. Thanks for a quick reply Linno,
    I did use runny honey and plan to try again with the solid honey. I tasted the cookies again yesterday and the flavour is nice, but I imagine they will be divine when I do it right.
    We have travelled to Switzerland many times now and really enjoyed the variety of excellent bread. Would you consider sharing a recipe for artisan bread like the ones I would have eaten in the Bernese Oberland, like the village of Murren or some of the mountain huts?
    Thanks, Julie

  9. Hi Julie, I hope they work better next time, they really are yum, and thanks for commenting about the trouble you had with them, I really appreciate it because the consistency of the honey was not something I had taken into consideration. Let me know how it goes.

    I'm actually staying with mum at the moment, so your question is timed really well! I just picked her brain (and recipe books) about the bread you're after, but we can't come up with a specific bread. If you could give more information it'd be a big help. For example, things like the texture, taste, shape, what meal was it eaten with, what toppings did you eat it with (if any). It might be really hard to match since a baker would use their own specific recipe, but I can try and give you something similar if possible.

  10. Success!
    The solid honey did the trick,
    Thanks for the coaching,

  11. As for bread recipes, I checked for illustration of bread we would have eaten. The cantonal breads of Zurich and Graubunden; dense texture, great crust and flavour. These were served at breakfast with butter and jam. They kept us hiking all day and I miss them so much. We hope to return to Switzerland in the next 2 years to explore more of the mountains either hiking or skiing, thanks for any assistance.
    Big hello to your mom, enjoy the holiday season and try our cake intervals - hike, cake, coffee, hike, repeat as necessary

  12. Thanks Julie. We think the bread would probably have been quite crusty and have had a touch of rye in it? We couldn't think of any recipes that we personally have tried that would be similar to what you had, but I found a link to a recipe which might be helpful:
    It looks quite good, I might have to give it a go myself. Best of luck and enjoy your trip back to Switzerland, and have a great holiday season too!


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