Friday, October 9, 2009


Zimtsterne (2/4)
© All rights reserved, Thorsten Kraska, 2009

This photo, although dated back to October 2007, is one of my photos on Flickr which gets daily visits and around this time of the year it is getting more visits per day. So I thought I share the recipe for it here on my blog too.

Zimtsterne or cinnamon star cookies are very traditional cookies during advent and christmas time in Germany. The dough tends to be sticky (sometimes very sticky), so that everyone loves to eat them but don't like to make them. If you cool the dough in the fridge for a few hours the dough isn't that sticky. A while ago I found a star cookie cutter which could be opend and this helps a lot to get the cookies out of the cutter. It is much easier to remove the cookies from this type of cookie cutter than with the good old star cookie cutter. If you want to make Zimtsterne I would suggest to get one. To get the dough out of the cutter could be a pain in the neck otherwise.

(for about 40 cookies)

...for the dough
300 g almonds
100 g powder sugar
50 g all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
2 egg whites

...for the meringue topping
1 egg white
200 g powder sugar (sifted)
1 dash salt
some milk

...for working
grounded almonds

You can prepare the dough in advance. Blanch the almonds in boiling water for one minutes. Rinse with cool water and remove the skin (or buy already peeled almonds). Ground them. I suggest to use freshly grounded almonds and not the store bought grounded almonds. Make some more grounded almonds because you need some for working later with the dough.

Sift the cater sugar into a bowl. Add the other dry ingredients for dough and mix. Add egg whites and knead until a still sticky dough is formed. Wrap into cling film and put into the fridge for 1 - 6 hours.

Preaheat oven to 170°C and line out the baking tray with parchment paper.

For meringue glaze beat egg white with salt until stiff. While still beating add the sifted powederr sugar by and by to make meringue. The meringue should have a consistency that you can spread it with a brush onto the dough later. It should have such a creamy consistency, that you can spread it on the cookies and will stick on the dough but not running down. Add just a little milk to get the right consistency (you mightneed about 1 to 3 tablespoons, but not more).

Get the dough out of the fridge and roll it out between two layers of parchment papers or cling film (this will prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin). The dough sould be about 1 cm thick or a little less. After you have rolled out the dough spread a thin layer of the meringue topping on the dough. Now you need the star cookie cutter which can be opened. Put the stars on the tray. Knead the rest of the dough again and add some grounded almonds, so that the dough is not too sticky. Repeat the steps of making the stars.

Bake the cookies for about 10 - 12 minutes. Watch them carefully, because the meringue topping should not be browned. Take them out of the oven and let the Zimtsterne cool completely on a cooling rack. Store them in an airtight container.

The cookies will get better in taste the next days, because the flavors blend more and more. But ours are always gone too soon.

Zimtsterne (4/4)
© All rights reserved, Thorsten Kraska, 2009

About the photos
You can see how the meringue topping is spread. This would be hardly to achive with a star cutter and do the glazing after you have cut out the cookies.
To get a brilliant white in the 1st photo I have used almost direct light from a window. I didn't softened it. To reduce shadows and to balance the dark-light contrasts I have used several bounces for fill lights. In the second photo I have the bright light on the center cookie and partially shaded the front one. If I would have left this in bright light too, it might have been a bit distracting by being out of focus. In the 2nd photo I have not used as much fill light (especially in the back) to get some shadows back.

If you are interested in more advent and christmas photos visit my Christmas Bakery set on Flickr. Drop me a note, if you are interested in these recipes too.

If you like this post, you may also like:
Früchtebrot (Fruit Bread)


Unknown said...

Thorsten, I remember this picture.they are beautiful. I made these cookies one year. I loved them. So thanks for the recipe. I don't know if I will have time to make cookies this year as it is not very much part of our Christmas tradition.

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

So glad you posted about the recipe. What a stunning picture. I am writing a blog post and will put a link to your blog so that my readers can enjoy what you do.

hannah queen | honey & jam said...

your photos are stunning!

Simones Kitchen said...

Thanks for this recipe Thorsten. We are already looking at what to make for christmas, so I might give these cookies a try. Good tip on the cutter though, as I have a traditional one, but will have a look out for the one that can be opened!

Thorsten said...

Thank you all so much for your comments.

Wizzy, traditions are different throughout the world. But that is making it by way more interesting.

Thanks Helene, drop me a note so that I don't miss to link back.

Thanks Hannah for the compliment. Glad that you like the photos.

Simone, as you I'm already planning for what I will make this year. This special cookie cutter is fantastic, because the dough is tricky and I'm not that kind of a very patient baker.

Mélanie said...

I can see why this pictures gets a lot of visits on Flickr, these Zimtsterne look amazing. I just found your blog, and I'm so happy to have a good source for German recipes! I can't imagine Christmas without Weihnachtsplätzen... :)

tasteofbeirut said...

I used to make springerle for a few years. I hope you will make them. I love the photography and your artist' eye.

Thorsten said...

Thanks Melanie for the compliment. Yes, christmas without Weihnachtsplätzchen is unthinkable.

Thorsten said...

Thanks Tasteofbeirut. I have made Springerle a while back. I love the anise flavor they have.

JacquelineChurch said...

I was searching for a beautiful Zimtsterne shot to go with a recipe Im sharing from a chef in Chicago.I've linked to this and to your blog and noted your name in credit. Hope that's okay - found it on Flickr first. Please let me know if not I'll remove it.

Thorsten said...

Jacqueline, is there a link to it?

Online Credit Score said...

Are they very sweet? I like dessert but not too sweet though.