Flourless Vegan Zimtsterne

A cinnamon fiend’s dream: Flourless vegan Zimtsterne are a traditional German Christmas cookie gone vegan with the help of aquafaba. Dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, with no butter, oil or flour these cookies fit many diets.

First off: …

Merry Christmas! – Fröhliche Weihnachten! – Joyeux Noël! – Geseënde Kersfees! – God Jul! – Feliz Navidad!

Instead of my usual Christmas post I’m bringing you a recipe as a little gift today.

Do you know what’s funny? It’s only through blogging that I realize foods or dishes I’ve eaten for ages fit certain criteria. Like these Zimtsterne that to me were just, well , Zimtsterne but actually happen to be naturally gluten-free. No tinkering needed. However, they still needed a makeover because the traditional recipes relies heavily on whipped egg whites so isn’t vegan. In comes the magic that is aquafaba! If you haven’t heard of this superstar ingredient yet: it’s the liquid you dran from cans of chickpeas and white beans. Or rather: the liquid you won’t be discarding anymore once you see its amazingness play out.

Zimtsterne - vegan and gluten-free Christmas cookies using just six ingredients!

The flourless vegan Zimtsterne aren’t the healthiest cookie out there, I know. All that powdered sugar – whoa, huh? Here’s the deal [and it’s no revelation]: life’s all about balance. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know I like to experiment with more nutritious alternatives to traditional baking ingredients. Gluten-free oat flour instead of the refined version. Maple syrup standing in for sugar. Dates to create a luscious caramel topping. Yet – there are recipes that aren’t meant to be healthified. The memories evoked by these naturally gluten-free cinnamon cookies weren’t made eating a sugar-free #cleaneating-approved version of them.  Now if I absolutely cannot convince you to let a little sugar into your life: there’s help.  Here’s a tutorial on how to make sugar-free powdered sugar at home or a storebought alternative. Because nobody should miss out on Zimtsterne.

zimtsterne-gluten-free-and-vegan-made-with-aquafaba

Now I haven’t eaten my grandma’s Zimtsterne in years as I’m not eating eggs anymore. So I obviously had to ‘force’ 😉 my family to rate the authenticity of my vegan Zimtsterne. Verdict? Big thumbs up. Even my dad who – unlike my mum and sister – didn’t know about the fact these were vegan, much less the secret ingredient, noticed no difference. If you’re not convinced to try these yet I’m at a loss. Too bad because you’d be missing out on these delightfully soft-yet-slightly-chewy cinnamon-spiked cookies topped with a crisp sweet icing. If you’re a cinnamon fiend you will fall heads over heels for these naturally gluten-free Zimtsterne.

One more thing: Don’t let the length of the instructions intimidate you! This recipe for vegan Zimtsterne – while more time-involved – is actually very simple and fun to prepare. I just tried to make the directions as clear as possible so you, too, could have  Zimtsterne in your life. Not just for Christmas but all year round!

Flourless vegan Zimtsterne

  • 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar, sifted [180 g]
  • ¼ cup of aquafaba [60 ml]
  • 3 cups of almond meal [300 g], divided [2 ½ + ½ cup] OR 2 ½ cups of almond meal + ½ cup of gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp of amaretto*
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  1. Add the aquafaba to a tall mixing bowl and beat at high speed for 4-5 minutes.
  2. In intervals, add in the powdered sugar, beating it in well on high speed for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Transfer about ¾ of the mixture  into a larger bowl. The remaining ¼ will be your frosting later on.
  4. Mix 2 1/2 cups of the ground almonds and cinnamon. Pour on top of the whipped aquafaba in the large bowl and mix to combine everything well with a spatula.
  5. Knead in the amaretto and a squeeze of lemon juice by hand. If your dough is too sticky, add some of your reserved almond meal/[gluten-free] flour.
  6. At this point preheat your oven to 120 °C/235 °F.
  7. Sprinkle some of the reserved ground almonds or the gluten-free flour on your work surface, place your dough ball on top, sprinkle with some more ground almonds and roll out about ¼ inch/1/2 cm thick.
  8. Cut out cookies and transfer to your lined baking sheet(s).
  9. Using a knife or baking brush, spread the reserved aquafaba on the cookies.
  10.  Bake for around 16-20 minutes or until your able to lift a cookie from the tray without bits of dough sticking to the parchment paper.

Barely adapted from Daily Vegan.

Notes

Make sure the bowl you’re whipping the aquafaba in  is completely dry and free from any fat residue as aquafaba – just like  egg whites – reacts negatively to fat [i.e. won’t whip properly].

Cover your mixing bowl with a towel for the first minute of whipping up to avoid Aquafaba splashing all around your kitchen and getting covered in it yourself.

*For an alcohol-free version sub 1 tbsp of water + ½ tsp of almond extract.

Zimtsterne - vegan and gluten-free Christmas cookies using just six ingredients!

On a last note big thanks to my sweet friend Charlotte who helped me decide on the pictures here. I obviously sent her home with a cookie bag as a little gift.

I’m sharing this with Allergy Free Wednesdays#RecipeOfTheWeek, Gluten-Free Fridays,Tasty Tuesdays,Healthy Vegan Fridays, Meatless Mondays.

Happiness-inducing today: Despite being full-on sick now the day held so many wonderful little moments. Meeting my friend mentioned above. Finding out that her on-off boyfriend finally commited to a relationship [ I asked her if I could share this because it made me truly happy].

 

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
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What’s your favourite Christmas cookie?
 

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20 thoughts on “Flourless Vegan Zimtsterne

  1. Kristy from Southern In Law says:

    These look incredible – and what a clever idea using aquafaba!

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! Do you celebrate on Christmas Eve because that’s when der wiehnachtsmann arrives? I’m thinking I’m thinking of the right tradition but I could be totally wrong! Christmas = weihnachten, right?

  2. Ellie says:

    Aquafaba is truly magical. I’ve only used it as a whipped cream for ice cream, but this also looks manageable. My favorite cookie would probably be Mexican Wedding Cakes, so snowballs as I’ve heard they are also called. They are also really easy to make vegan, as a lot of recipes are as long as you’ve got some Earth Balance on hand 🙂

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      As written in the directions the extra 1/2 cup of almond meal is for rolling out the dough. The reasons for the option of using flour instead are that for one, almond meal is expensive so I wanted to offer a more affordable option. I also found rolling the dough out a little easier when using flour but almond meal works, too.

  3. Kimmythevegan says:

    “Here’s the deal [and it’s no revelation]: life’s all about balance.”
    You bet it is! Took me a loooonnng time to figure this out. I’m glad I finally did.
    These sound so good. And I love that they are naturally gluten free =)
    Thank you so much for sharing your delectable treats at Healthy Vegan Fridays. I’m pinning & sharing!

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      It’s something I believe a lot of us (have) struggle(d) with. Balance is so important and some refined sugar here and there won’t make us sick.
      Thank you! I was really surprised to find these and other of our traditional cookies happened to be gluten-free as is.

  4. Raia T. says:

    So beautiful – and I’m always looking for more ways to use aquafaba! Thank you for sharing these with us at Allergy Free Thursdays. I’m going to be featuring them at this week’s party. Hope to see you there!

  5. MaryEllen@VNutrition says:

    These look so tasty! I love updated recipes to make them vegan. Are they traditional German cookies? I just was in Germany for the holiday markets and didn’t see these there (not that I could have eaten them if they’re not vegan). I’m excited to try your version!

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      They’re one of the most popular kinds of German Christmas cookies – along with Lebkuchen, Spekulatius and a few others. Since you mention Christmas markets: I don’t think I’ve ever seen them on those before. Actually, I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen any cookies sold on those markets :D. You do find Zimtsterne in supermarkets around Christmas time, though – but homemade vegan ones are obviously better ;).

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Cookie cutters take some self-control to just pass, not buy in stores for me, too. I specifically bought the star one here as I couldn’t find one in my mum’s kitchen.
      You could totally either leave the amaretto out or replace it with some almond extract + water (this is what I’d recommend)!

  6. KJ | Om Nom Herbivore says:

    Yay!!! I’m a solid mix of Czech and German and I haven’t had these in YEARS!!! Holidays may be over… but that doesn’t mean I’ve got to be done with holiday baking :p Looking forward to trying these 🙂

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