We’ll guide you through each step, offering you tips to perfect your baking skills. Once you’ve mastered this recipe, you’ll be whipping up these festive cookies like a pro.
Ready to fill your kitchen with the warm, comforting scent of cinnamon? Let’s get started.
The History Behind German Cinnamon Stars
You’re about to delve into the rich history behind German cinnamon stars, a traditional Christmas treat.
These sweet, spicy cookies, known as ‘Zimtsterne’, have been warming hearts during the festive season for centuries.
Originating in the south of Germany, they’re a symbol of the Advent, the period leading up to Christmas.
The star shape, you ask? It’s symbolic of the Star of Bethlehem.
Now, they’ve become a staple in German homes and beyond, bringing joy, warmth, and the aroma of Christmas wherever they go.
Now you’re part of this sweet tradition.
Essential Ingredients for German Cinnamon Stars
To make this classic holiday treat, you’ll need egg whites, icing sugar, ground nuts, and a good amount of spice.
Egg whites provide structure and lift, while icing sugar gives that sweet, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Your choice of ground nuts adds a unique flavor and crunch.
The star of the show, though, is the spice. You can’t make German cinnamon stars without a hefty dose of cinnamon. It’s what gives these cookies their warm, comforting aroma and distinctive taste. You might also want to add a pinch of cloves or nutmeg for an extra kick.
Step-by-Step Guide to Making German Cinnamon Stars
Now that you’ve gathered all your ingredients, let’s dive into how you’ll transform them into these delicious holiday cookies.
First, preheat your oven to 150°C.
You’ll then mix the ground almonds, icing sugar, cinnamon, and egg whites in a bowl until you achieve a smooth dough.
Next, roll out this dough on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. Make sure it’s about 1cm thick.
Now, it’s time for the fun part! Cut out star shapes using a cookie cutter.
Place these stars on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
You’ll then bake your stars for 15 minutes. They’ll turn slightly golden, but will remain soft inside.
When they’re cool, you’ll brush them with a sugar glaze.
Voila, you’ve made German Cinnamon Stars!
Tips and Tricks for Perfect Cinnamon Stars
Keep in mind, it’s essential to not overbake the cookies as they should retain their soft center even after cooling. If you’re wondering when the perfect time to remove them from the oven is, look for a light golden color. Don’t fret if they seem underdone, they’ll continue to harden as they cool.
Another trick you’ll find helpful is to roll your dough between two sheets of parchment paper. This prevents sticking and makes it easier for you to cut out the star shapes.
Lastly, don’t forget to let your icing dry completely before storing or serving. It may seem like a minor detail, but it makes a significant difference in the texture and overall taste of your German cinnamon stars.
Experiment and enjoy the process.
Serving and Storing Your German Cinnamon Stars
Once your cookies are fully cooled and the icing is dry, you’re ready to serve them up or store them for later enjoyment. If you’re planning on serving them immediately, arrange your German cinnamon stars on a decorative plate or in a festive tin. Their beautiful star shape and glossy icing make them a perfect centerpiece for your holiday spread.
If you’re storing them, you’ll want to keep them in an airtight container. This will help preserve their soft, chewy texture and rich, spicy flavor. You can store these cookies at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, but let’s be real, they’re so delicious, you’ll probably finish them off long before then!
GERMAN CINNAMON STARS
- 2 1/2 cups 285 g divided in half, powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups 250 to 300 g ground almonds/almond flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 4 egg whites
- Preheat oven to 250º F (120º C)
- Please see NOTES for best results.
- In a large bowl, combine half of the powdered sugar, the ground almonds and cinnamon and mix until well-combined. Set aside.
- Beat egg whites in bowl with mixer until soft peaks form. Add the other half of the powdered sugar and continue to beat for another 2 or 3 minutes until thick and creamy.
- Remove 1 cup (250 ml) of the beaten eggs and set aside in a covered container (I put it in a condiment dispenser for easy decorating).
- Add the almond mixture to the rest of the egg white mixture and mix well, until a dough forms. It’s important to note that due to the amount of egg white varying (size of egg used, etc.) you may need more almond flour to form a dough. Cover and put in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Place some parchment paper on the counter and sprinkle with powdered sugar, then place the dough on top and shape into a ball, then slightly flatten it.
- Sprinkle some more powdered sugar on top and place another piece of parchment on top.
- Roll out to 1/4″ thickness, then cut out star shapes; re-roll the dough, to cut out more until it has been completely used.
- Place on a parchment or silicone sheet lined cookie sheet, then cover the top with the reserved meringue mixture. Using a condiment bottle makes it very simple to decorate the tops of these cookies (and others; see NOTES). Continue until all the cookies are coated in meringue.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven, open the door slightly and allow to dry out for another 10 minutes or so, before removing from the oven. Place the Zimtsterne on cooling rack to cool completely.
- Some have commented that the measurements are off, but they are not. Please just add the lower amount of almond flour, then add more as needed once it’s mixed with the egg whites. It’s easy to know when it forms a dough.
- Before coating the cookies, check the meringue mixture; if it runs off, add more sugar until it flows smoothly and doesn’t run off the cookie. Don’t make it too thick so that it doesn’t set smoothly, though.
Are There Any Common Substitutions for Ingredients in German Cinnamon Stars?
Yes, you can make substitutions in the recipe. If you’re out of ground almonds, try using hazelnuts. No cinnamon? Use cardamom or nutmeg. Don’t have egg whites? Meringue powder works as a great alternative.
Can German Cinnamon Stars Be Made Vegan or Gluten-Free?
Sure, you can definitely make them vegan or gluten-free. Substitute egg whites with aquafaba, and use gluten-free flour instead of regular. You won’t compromise the taste, and they’ll still be delicious.
Are German Cinnamon Stars a Popular Gift During the Holiday Season in Germany?
Yes, they’re a beloved festive treat. Often beautifully packaged, they’re a common gift during the holiday season. Their sweet, spicy flavor and star shape make them a delightful symbol of holiday cheer in Germany.
How Do German Cinnamon Stars Compare in Taste and Texture to Other Traditional German Cookies?
Comparing these to other traditional cookies, you’ll find they’re distinctly spicier and chewier. The cinnamon gives a warm flavor, while the ground nuts provide a soft, yet slightly crumbly texture. It’s a unique combination.
What Is the Nutritional Content of a Single German Cinnamon Star?
You’re wondering about the nutritional content of a certain sweet treat. Well, a single piece typically contains around 60 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of fiber, 8 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of protein.
So, there you’ve it! You’ve not only learned about the rich tradition of German cinnamon stars, but also how to make them yourself.
With these simple steps, tips, and essential ingredients, you’ll be whipping up perfect batches in no time.
Remember, these treats aren’t just for Christmas; they’re a delightful indulgence any time of the year.
Enjoy baking, serving, and most importantly, eating your homemade German cinnamon stars.