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.
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.
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
- Add the aquafaba to a tall mixing bowl and beat at high speed for 4-5 minutes.
- In intervals, add in the powdered sugar, beating it in well on high speed for another 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer about ¾ of the mixture into a larger bowl. The remaining ¼ will be your frosting later on.
- 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.
- 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.
- At this point preheat your oven to 120 °C/235 °F.
- 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.
- Cut out cookies and transfer to your lined baking sheet(s).
- Using a knife or baking brush, spread the reserved aquafaba on the cookies.
- 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.
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.
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.
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].