Zimtsterne (German Cinnamon Stars)
German Cinnamon Star cookies are a holiday cookie unlike those you have ever tried before. They are a soft and chewy cookie with a huge punch of cinnamon spice mixed in with a hint of sweetness ending with a light citrus note to round out the flavor. While the topping looks like a standard sugar glaze it is not! It is an egg white mixture that is baked right on top of the cookie.
I might be the only one here, but I think these taste way better than your standard sugar cookie that you have to decorate. Nothing against sugar cookies. These cinnamon star cookies are at a different level. Apples and oranges are great... but a fresh mango or in season strawberry? You get what I'm saying.
These cookies are also easy to make once your learn a few tricks. However they do take time so make sure you have a few hours or at least a helper to make the cookies with you.
Like most cookies, you have to chill the dough. Make sure to plan a few extra hours. The preparation of the dough takes less than 10 minutes! But you should chill the dough for a few hours or overnight.
Amazingly, these cookies only have a handful of ingredients and you probably have most of them at home.
Eggs, powdered sugar, cinnamon, lemon, blanched almond flour and marzipan.
What is marzipan? It is a soft and chewy confection that is a mixture of almond meal and powdered and sometimes honey. You can bake with this type of marzipan as well as eat it straight out of the packaging. Don't be deterred by the translation, raw marzipan, it is safe to eat. AND it is naturally gluten free... and so our these cookies. YAY!
That's it. Not butter, no oil, and no vanilla extract. Let's get baking!
Making the dough is SO incredibly easily and takes minutes. You basically just combine all your ingredients together in your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. It will look very thick like the ingredients will not combine.
Don't fret and just keep mixing.
Once your dough is completed, it will still be very thick and extremely sticky!
Roll it into a ball and roll it in some powdered sugar. You will need a lot so that it is not sticky anymore. Then put it into a smaller bowl covered with plastic cling wrap and refrigerate.
Once you have refrigerated your dough it is time to roll it out. You will need to generously 'flour' your cutting board with powdered sugar so that it will not stick when you roll it out. You don't want these to be super thin.
Just because we chilled the dough does not mean it lost all its stickiness. Once you choose your star cookie cutter dip it first into a small bowl of very hot to almost boiling water. Then right away use your cookie cutter on the dough. If you do NOT do this step, the cookie dough with stick to your cookie cutter making it nearly impossible to get out a clean shape.
The star cookie cutter than I am using is metal but I also used a much smaller cookie cutter that was plastic. Both worked really well when I dipped it into the hot water before cutting out each cookie.
Look at those clean edges!
Once you have the majority of your cookies ready, it is time to do the glaze. This glaze is not just powdered sugar with some milk mixed in. No no! It is whipped stiff egg whites folded into powdered sugar with lemon zest and fresh lemon juice.
Once it is all folded together, it looks like this super light and fluffy cloud.
It is then brushed (literally with a paint brush) onto the cookies. The glaze will be thick and goopy. I also recommend taking a small spoon (this is when I used a baby spoon) and spooned on a little glaze and then used my paint brush to make sure the edges were covered.
Here you can see me painting the glaze onto the mini stars I made.
Once you have glazed all your cookies, it is time to bake them in the oven. The bake time really depends on how large your cookies are. These little ones took about 9-9.5 minutes and the larger ones took about 12 minutes.
I had the wonderful honor of baking with my mom today. She came all the way to Germany from Chicago to a week of 'baking-palooza' at my house. She is learning how to pipe and mix correctly and most importantly... she is cleaning all my dishes. My mother is the best and I could not have asked for a more fun baking partner!
How cute is she??? She is just thrilled with how her cookies look before putting this tray into the oven. My mom is standing here just a few days after arriving, baking away with me and she looks amazing! I hope I look this fantastic in 30 years!
I don't think she could have done a better job.
From my kitchen to yours, I wish you all happy holidays and a wonderful new year!