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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Trine Hahnemann

Honning hjerter – honey hearts recipe by Trine Hahnemann

Honning hjerter – honey hearts.
Honning hjerter – honey hearts. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

Christmas isn’t Christmas without honey hearts. I eat them guiltily all through December for afternoon tea. Recipes for honey cakes and the way spices are used in them can be traced back to the middle ages. They can also be decorated with icing and hung on your tree, or shaped into men, women and Santa. The full flavour of honey in these cookies first really appears after a week, so bake them well in advance of Christmas.

Makes about 20-25
honey 500g
egg yolks 3
plain wheat flour 500g, sifted
baking powder 2 tsp
baking soda ½ tsp
ground cinnamon 2 tsp
ground cloves 1 tsp
ground allspice 1 tsp
tempered dark chocolate 300g (see below)

Melt the honey then cool it down. Add the egg yolks and mix well. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices very well and fold that mixture into the honey mixture. Knead the dough until it is smooth on a floured working surface. When done, wrap it in clingfilm and chill for at least 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 150C fan/gas mark 3½.

Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and place it between two sheets of baking paper. Roll the dough out between the papers until 1-1.5cm thick. Peel off the top layer of paper and cut out hearts with a heart-shaped cookie cutter, about 4.5cm wide. Keep doing that until you have used all the dough.

Place the cookies on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Store them in an airtight tin for about a week before covering them with tempered chocolate. We usually decorate each honey heart with a small glossy picture of an angel or Santa Claus.

To make the tempered chocolate the easy way, chop the chocolate finely, take 200g of it and melt very gently in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of warm water – making sure the chocolate doesn’t overheat. When it is melted and has reached 50C, add the rest of the chopped chocolate and mix until all the chocolate has melted. Heat all the chocolate very gently back up to a temperature of about 31C. Now the chocolate is ready to be used.

Trine Hahnemann’s latest book is Simply Scandinavian (Quadrille, £27)

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