It’s time to dust off your cookie cutters. The holiday season is upon us, and there is really no excuse not making your own Christmas cookies at home.
Are you one for the classics or do you prefer experimenting with new and unusual flavours?
Each year, I will invariably kick-off the Christmas cookie baking season with the classics. Plain shortcrust cookies, spritz cookies, vanilla crescents (Vanillekipferl) and of course everybody’s favourite: the delicious cinnamon stars (Zimtsterne).
On the other hand, I love to experiment with new flavour varieties to add a bit of surprise. Which sometimes is easier than you might think.
Indeed, making these versions of the classic Zimtsterne is absolutely straightforward and done with only minimum effort.
Cinnamon star cookies are among the most favourite and famous Christmas cookies in Germany. The original recipe is thought to come from Swabia in southwest Germany – which is indeed a treasure trove for delicious traditional food.
The recipe for the classic cinnamon star cookies has not changed much over time and traditionally consists of whipped egg white, powdered sugar, ground almonds, and cinnamon.
That said, it would be quite surprising not to see the classic Christmas cookies turned into new flavour versions. In the case of cinnamon stars, the most classic of those newer versions is swapping ground almonds with ground hazelnuts.
But why not go further and add other flavours too?
This year, in addition to the classic cinnamon stars recipe, I made two additional flavour variations: Matcha and Espresso Zimtsterne.
They not only add a new, subtle, and surprising flavour profile to these classic cookies. Using matcha and espresso also for the icing (respectively), it also adds a lovely colour plate to the cookies.
Though in all honesty, the espresso icing turned out only a light shade darker than the classic white icing. So next time I might be tempted to add a little bit of melted chocolate to the espresso to create a slightly darker icing.
Recipe: Zimtsterne in three variations
Yields about 50-60
For the base dough
500 g ground almonds
4 egg whites
300 g powdered sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the classic Zimtsterne
1 tablespoon almond liquor
For the Matcha Zimtsterne
2 tablespoons matcha powder
For the Espresso Zimtsterne
3 tablespoons freshly brewed espresso
For the icing
125 g powdered sugar
1 egg white
1 teaspoon matcha
1 tablespoon freshly brewed espresso
Preheat oven to 150°C.
In a bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Slowly add powdered sugar and continue to beat.
Add ground almonds and cinnamon and knead into a smooth dough.
Divide into three parts.
For the classic Zimtsterne, add almond liqueur.
For the matcha Zimtsterne, add matcha.
For the espresso Zimtsterne, add espresso.
For the icing, beat the egg white until stiff. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Divide into three. For the classic Zimtstene, use as is. Add matcha to second third of the icing, and espresso to the remaining third.
Dust a work surface with powdered sugar or flour and roll out the dough approximately ½ centimetre thick and cut out the stars.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place stars on the baking sheet, keeping about 2 cm distance between them.
Using a knife, brush on the icing.
Bake on the lowest rail for 10-12 minutes.
Have you ever made cinnamon star cookies at home? What do you think of these flavour variations? Would you want to try them?