Ground almonds and cinnamon help to create the base of this traditional Christmas cookie. Meringue glazed German Cinnamon Stars are bound to be a new family favourite!
It’s that time of year again when I go into full on baking mode. I love it! I absolutely love it! It might come as no surprise to my readers that I’m back with a third installment of Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas. And, I’m starting with German Cinnamon Stars!
Should you be new here, let me tell you a bit about how this works. This is my third annual Christmas cookie extravaganza. Like the previous two years, I will post a brand new Christmas cookie recipe for 24 consecutive days. Yes, that means Saturdays and Sundays too! For your reference, you can find links to the first two years further down the page.
Fresh off of my 12 Biscotti of Christmas series, I’m excited to get this new series started. Last year, I also did 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas. Now, who’s ready to get started on this journey with me? Do you have your flour and sugar ready? Is your apron on and your oven preheated? Good! Let’s get to it!
Referred to as zimtsterne in Germany, the translation to English simply means cinnamon stars. Super popular in Germany and Austria during the holidays, they can be found just about everywhere. Grocery stores and Christmas markets are flooded with German Cinnamon Stars.
German Cinnamon Stars are just like every other cookie recipe out there. If you look, you can find numerous variations for the recipe. My version, which I adapted to fit my preferences, is very simple. The ingredients are budget friendly. There’s no special technique used. And, the flavour is very prevalent and very delicious!
GROUND ALMONDS OR ALMOND FLOUR?
Almond flour will not work well in this recipe. Almond flour is extremely fine in comparison to ground almonds. The coarse texture of the ground almonds is what makes this cookie hold together well. Using almond flour instead will most certainly make the dough much harder to work with. In addition, you’ll lose that texture. You can read more about the two here.
Some of the variations of this recipe uses a mixture of almonds and hazelnuts. You can certainly do this, but again, it’s in ground form, not flour form. If you want to use hazelnuts too, just include half the amound of ground almonds and the rest in ground hazelnuts.
THE DOUGH IS TOO STICKY
This is a sticky dough. There’s no way to get around it. If you have fully chilled the dough, some of the stickiness will be eliminated. Adding a tablespoon or more extra of the ground almonds can help to reduce the stickiness too.
When using your cookie cutter, the dough may stick to it. To stop this from happening, dip your cookie cutter into confectioner’s sugar. The cut cookie dough will slide right off without a hitch!
When the cookies are removed from the oven, the meringue top will have hardened. The bottom of the cookies will look like they are not baked enough. This is completely normal and it will firm up and harden during the cooling process. Please keep in mind that this cookie is not meant to be crunchy or crispy. It is a chewy cookie, so it will never harden completely.
STORING, PACKAGING, AND FREEZING
If your kitchen is a little on the warm side, you will want to separate these cookies with a layer of parchment or waxed paper. A warmer kitchen will most certainly cause the layer of meringue to stick to the cookie stacked on top of it. The last thing you want to do is to ruin that beautiful work you put into getting these cookies just perfect! They will last for about 2 weeks covered and in a cool place.
If you plan to freeze these cookies, you will need to apply the same approach. Place parchment or waxed paper between each layer. Be sure to pile the cookies into a food-safe container that can be frozen. You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. (I use these quite often when freezing baked goods.) I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that cookie freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. A warning, however: in some cases, the meringue won’t hold up extremely well to being frozen and thawed. If these are for you and your family, there’s really no big deal. It’s the taste that matters! But, if you plan to give them as a gift, I would not recommend freezing them first.
As I said, every day I will be posting a new recipe. If you miss one, don’t fret. You can find my entire collection of Christmas Recipes right here! There are over 100 Christmas recipes and counting. There’s something for everyone! Cheers!
German Cinnamon Stars
For the Base:
- 300 grams finely ground almonds (2 cups)
- 100 grams sugar (1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon)
- 50 grams all purpose flour (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 large egg whites
For the Meringue:
- 1 large egg white
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 200 grams sugar (1 cup)
- 2 teaspoons milk
- In a bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, sugar, flour, and cinnamon.
- Add the egg whites and mix all together using a rubber spatula. The dough will be sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a circular shape about 8-10 inches in diameter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Once the dough is set, use a rolling pin to roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper until just under 1/2 inch thick.
- Use a star cookie cutter to cut out the shapes. The size of the star will determine how many cookies you get. Place stars onto prepared baking sheet.
- Collect the scrap dough and re-roll again until it's all used up.
- Next, prepare the meringue by beating the egg white with the salt until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar and beat until well combined. If you need to add the milk, do so now and beat in. The meringue needs to be thick, but spreadable.
- Using very small amounts of the meringue, top each star with about 1/2 teaspoon and spread it well, even out to the very tips of the star. A small paint brush works very well for this. A toothpick can help to push the meringue to the tips without running down the sides.
- Bake for 8-9 minutes. Do not allow the meringue to brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.