Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Espresso Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne)

In what seems like eons ago, I remember on one of my first Christmas time trips to Germany ogling zimtsterne / cinnamon star cookies in the windows of German bakeries. They were so perfectly pretty and I couldn't wait to try them.

What followed was bitter disappointment. I expected a sweet rush from the smooth white glaze and was surprised with how flavorless and not sweet they were. What I thought was a sugar glaze on the cookies was mostly egg white.  

This was one of my first experiences with German baking which generally contains about 1/3 less sugar than American baking recipes.  My palate adjusted eventually. However, I wanted to try making a version of zimtsterne this holiday season while packing more flavor and sweetness into the cookie. 

The result was not a beautiful as I would like. So I did the only cookie respecting thing to do for the photos, I gilded them with edible gold dust. They're all dressed up now and ready for their appearance on the Christmas cookie red carpet.

Putting aside the rustic look of the cookies, the flavor and sweetness were outstanding. The cookies are chewy, sweet and the taste benefits from the kick of espresso.

At first the dough may seem too crumbly and dry to come together but stick with it and make sure you roll it out between pieces of plastic cling film. Greasing the star cutter will also make it a bit easier to cut out the shapes. 

These cookies are a great gluten free option for your Christmas cookie platter. 

Espresso Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne)
Prep time:  25 minutes
Bake time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen

For the cookies:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2+1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the glaze:
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  • Whisk together the sifted powdered sugar, almond flour, ground cinnamon and espresso powder.
  • Add the egg white and vanilla and knead until the dough comes together. 
  • Roll out the dough between two sheets of plastic cling film and use a greased star cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Transfer the shapes to the baking sheets. 
  • In a separate bowl, make the glaze. Whisk together the egg white, powdered sugar, and espresso powder.
  • Brush the glaze onto the unbaked cookies.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack. Let cool, plate and serve. 

Like to express yourself by baking with espresso? Try these 

Clockwise from left:

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