Zimtsterne (German Cinnamon Star Cookies)
Updated: Feb 21, 2022
One of the most popular and beloved traditional German Christmas cookies, Zimtsterne is made entirely of ground nuts, so they are naturally gluten and dairy-free. These light cinnamon cookies featuring a meringue frosting are a cross between a macaroon and a meringue with a bit of nuttiness. They are texturally chewy on the inside and crisp on the top. The nut meringue is rolled out, cut into stars, and iced with a mixture of egg whites and sugar before baking.
Makes 24 3-inch stars
Cinnamon Star Cookies
2 large egg whites
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 cups finely ground almonds
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp vanilla sugar
⅛ tsp salt
Cinnamon Star Cookies
Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, about 1-2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until fully incorporated and glossy, about 2 minutes.
Reserve ⅓ cup of the egg white mixture (meringue) and set aside. (This will be used to frost your cookies.)
Add the ground almonds, cinnamon, vanilla sugar, and salt to the meringue in the bowl. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold together until incorporated. (The mixture will be sticky. If it's too sticky to work with, add more ground nuts and confectioner's sugar.)
Dust a clean surface with confectioners’ sugar. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to about ¼-inch thickness. (If the dough is sticky or difficult to roll, dust the rolling pin and top of the dough with more confectioners’ sugar.)
Cut the dough with a star cookie cutter. (If the cookie cutter is sticking, dip it in water before cutting the dough.) Excess dough can be rerolled multiple times.
Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet 2-inches apart, then brush the tops with the reserved meringue frosting.
Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned and the meringue frosting is set and lightly browned.
Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
Germany is famous for its Christmas cookies, many of which are very old and have been passed down over generations. These popular, traditional cookies can be found all over homes and iconic outdoor Christmas markets in November and December.
Lebkuchen (German Gingerbread Spice Cookies)
Bethmännchen (German Marzipan Cookies)
Linzer Plätzchen (Butter Cookies with Jam)
Zitronenherzen (German Lemon Heart Cookies)