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].

 

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What’s your favourite Christmas cookie?
 

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Merry Christmas!

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

Merry Christmas_source_photopin

 

While I won’t be around the blog world today – Christmas Eve is our main celebration over here – I wanted to wish all of you a happy holiday. No matter where you are, if the temperatures call for fleece shirts or flip-flops: I hope you’ll have a wonderful time with your loved ones.

P.S.: I’d appreciate you keeping your fingers crossed for me faring well in our board game night today ;).

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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photo credit: Christmas_DSC2453 via photopin (license)

Rotkohl [Traditional German Red Cabbage]

With a ridiculously simple preparation and only eight ingredients this flavourful side dish is a German winter favourite. Naturally vegan, gluten-free and paleo Rotkohl comes packed with vitamins and minerals for a healthy low-calorie dish to accompany any main.

Having talked about this classic German winter dish for many times before I figured it was high time to share the recipe. And I had every intention of doing so on Monday, right in time with the meteorological start of winter. But …

Rotkohl_vegan_German

What to avoid when you’re a blogger and intend on posting during Christmas week:

Not get sick.

Plan ahead [all those posts saying you need an editorial calendar have a purpose …].

Not.get.sick.

Any guesses as to my situation up until today? Right. Teary-eyed sick with a recipe made but yet to be photographed and no post written. Luckily, I’m feeling slightly better today. Okay, now that we finished the long-winded intro/blogger no-do’s/why I should write blog posts way in advance [like every other blogger?!]  let’s talk traditions.

Mother’s Day? Just another Sunday for my family.

Easter? Not a single [chocolate or candy] egg to be found in our house.

Christmas? No tree for the second time, hardly any decorations up and we’re not sending Christmas cards [but do gift homemade cookies to friends].

 

It’s safe to say my family errs on the untraditional side when it comes to the holidays. The food part of Christmas dinner, though? That’s where we have our traditions.

A little story time: Unlike traditional American Thanksgiving where pretty much the whole country agrees what has to appear on the table – turkey/Tofurkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and stuffing – hardly two German families in a neighbourhood will eat the same Christmas dinner. For some families “Weihnachtsgans” [Christmas duck], others need their fish and then again there are people considering – believe it or not – potato salad and sausages THE dish. Usually, my family is in the Christmas duck camp [aside from me and any other vegetarians in the family obviously]. Not this year but it will be an unusual one to begin with. The sides? Up for discussion. Aside from the one can’t-miss dish that’s the secret star on the menu: Rotkohl.

Rotkohl_6

No matter what’s your main – meat, vegetarian or vegan roasts – this easy cabbage dish makes a great side for everything. Serve it with your main of choice, mashed potatoes and optional gravy and have yourself a merry little Christmas. Or just a wonderful winter day because there’s still the whole season to enjoy this.

Rotkohl_1

For the nutrition nuts among us or those skeptically eyeing the ¼ cup of sugar in this recipe: it’s still healthy to boost. One cup of chopped red cabbage packs in 85% of the daily value of vitamin C, 20 % of the vitamin A recommendation and it’s also high in potassium. And I don’t need to tell you that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, right?! See: healthy.

German Rotkohl/Red Cabbage

  • 1 medium head red cabbage, sliced [ours weighed about 2.9 lbs/1.3 kg pre-cleaning]
  • 2 medium tart apples [I used Boskoop; about 330 g, peeled and chopped roughly
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 100 ml/ [about ½ cup minus 1 tbsp] white vinegar
  • 100 ml unsweetened apple juice
  • ¼ cup of sugar [paleo: use a sweetener you find with your diet]
  • ¾ tsp ground caraway seed
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 2 scant tsp salt
  1. Chop the red cabbage finely or shred it in a food processor.
  2. Alternating cabbage, onions and apples, layer in a pressure cooker.
  3. Mix vinegar, apple juice, sugar and spices and poor on top. Using your hands, mix all ingredients. No need to be super
  4. Cook according to your pressure cooker’s manual. Once maximum pressure is reached, turn off the heat, don’t open the lid and let the cooker sit until

 

Notes:

  1. This freezes very well which is great seeing as it makes a large batch [unless you’re a hungry German family …].
  2. While I prepared my Rotkohl in  a pressure cooker you can also use a Dutch oven or regular pot. You’ll need to let it simmer for longer but will get the same delicious result.
  3. One of my grandma’s ‘secrets’ for making this already delicious dish over-the-top amazing is adding some of her homemade currant jelly. Store-bought should work just fine as well.
  4. Just like there are many different Christmas traditions, there are dozens if not hundreds of different recipes for Rotkohl, also called Blaukraut in certain regions of the country. In fact, I think every family might have their own which is – obviously – the best and only.

I’m sharing this recipe with Gluten-Free Tuesdays, Strange but good,  Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-Free Wednesdays and Tasty Tuesdays.

While I talk a lot about Christmas here  this dish isn’t just for the holidays  a perfect fit for the whole season. So if you’re looking for a new way to eat your vegetables and vitamins this winter – give it a try!

 

Happiness-inducing today: My sister and her husband arriving at our house. They’ll leave on 25th again already but any time spent with family is better than none.

 

Have you ever had Rotkohl?

Does you family follow through with traditions or make up their own?

What’s on your menu for Christmas this year?

Friday Favourites – 12/4/2015

Less than three weeks until Christmas? Ready, set: panic! In all honesty, I don’t feel ready yet. Gifts bought or made so far? ½ of one [PJ pants I’m sewing for my brother … ssh]. Because it’s a well know secret procrastination helps distract from the panic arising that’s what I’ll do today in sharing another round of favourites with you. I’m linking up with Heather and Katie to ring in the weekend on a good note.

Music

Starting with a favourite-in-the-make and jam for the ears Coldplay’s new song.

Though I heard it for the first time this week I already have an inkling I might enjoy Coldplay’s new album – out today! – a little more than they last one. At least if Adventure of a Lifetime is any indicator for that. What I’m not so stoked about is the fact this might be their last album. Can we please collectively wish for this not happening?

Work

While still no full-time employment I got the opportunity to start helping out as a DAF teacher [DAF = German as a Second Language] twice a week. It’s been so much fun as the children in the group I’m teaching with two other women are really motivated and eager to learn. Having taught many students so far this makes such a huge difference and I might get paid a little but would honestly do it even if I wasn’t. Being able to help others in any which way is a rewarding feeling worth more than money.

Food

Christmas baking has officially started …

Cookie baking

… and I’m not seeing an end yet. Starting with the classics, my mum and I baked Vanillekipferl [vanilla crescents] yesterday. Or should I say: I prepared the dough, did the clean up and my mum helped me shape what felt like at least six dozen of cookies. And she kept me motivated kneading that dough for-ev-er. Consider my arm workout of the day done.

For some reason, my camera ate the pictures of the finished cookies so you’ll get to see these in another post. Yet the process alone was promising only good for the outcome …

Baking_chocolate

Another favourite? This soap. It’s a limited winter edition so let’s just call it Christmas soap to fit in with the central topic of this post. It scents like a creamy vanilla caramel shake with a hint of marzipan and I like it [obviously. Which says a lot as I’m really picky about scents. Most are too sweet, cloying or heavy for me. Plus, it’s liquid soap and that’s the only kind I like. Anybody else? Hard soap doesn’t appeal to me – especially if you’re sharing it with others but that might just be one of my odd pet peeves.

soap

 That’s it for me today. I’ll see you on Sunday with some good good links and hope you’re having a fabulous Friday!
Happiness-inducing today: Engaging conversations that got me thinking. A little abstract of a description but it’s hard to summarize in few words.

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What is your opinion on Coldplay’s new song?

Liquid or hard soap? Which scents do you like?

Have you started Christmas baking yet? Tell me about your favourite cookies!

That time there was no Christmas tree [Holiday recap]

Now what was that?? I don’t know about you but I can never believe how quickly Christmas passes again year after year. Within the blink of an eye it’s back to the daily grind of non-festiveness. Before that all rolls in, though, how about a marvelous little look back at Christmas 2014? Celebrated the untraditional way as you’ll see in a minute.

MiMM_new

Even for my family’s already unusual standards this year turned out to be a brea. Aside from maybe a few years during my [earlier] childhood* I don’t think my family ever had what would be considered a ‘classic’ Christmas celebration. Starting with a first glance at our tree

Tree top_Christmas 2014

* I still consider myself a child because as long as we have parents that’s what we are, no?!

One thing that remained the same, though, was our traditional dinner on Christmas Eve.  Thank goodness. Missing out on grandma’s Rotkohl would have legitimately broken my heart.  I mean it.  The obsession is so strong I couldn’t wait but have a bowlfull the minute we arrived at my parents’. There was more than Rotkohl on the menu, though. Semmelknödel [that my mum actually prepared the vegan way using soy flour in place of eggs as per my suggestion – she was a fan], potatoes, a vegan seitan roast my sister made from scratch, brussels sprouts and obviously dessert. But that one comes with a slightly deeper background story that I’ll share on Thursday for my next time thinking out loud.

Christmas 2014_dinner

I feel we need a little close-up of the Rotkohl goodness because it truly is the best. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my grandma to write down the recipe to share on the blog because she’s a little secretive about it and never prepares it the same way. Her cooking style is the classic grandma way: some of this, some of that and, oh hey, let’s add that jar of homemade jelly, too.

Holidays_2014 004

Untraditional was our tree. Now here’s the big change and major shock to me: we didn’t have a Christmas tree. Or not an actual one. Do you remember what I said about my family’s stance on fake trees? I’m not sure into which category this one would fall. Without my knowledge my parents and sister had decided to go a different route this year  [and possibly those to follow?!]. Say hello to our environmental-friendlier tree!

Christmas tree_2014

My grandpa, sister and mum built it using old ply woods and tree branches they cut or found in the woods. It was hard to get used to the idea for me but once lit in the dark room it worked a charm at lending at least some of the traditional Christmas cheer. First blogger fail here, though, because I got no proper picture of the lit tree.

Christmas 2014_elks

Traditional, however, was our family walk. Workouts fell wayside for me most days in favour of spending quality time with my relatives.  It used to be a major stressor for me in past years. But – maybe due to seeing everybody even less in between – I focused on enjoying the days getting in exercise when I could but not fretting about missing a day or two. And definitely not cutting back on food. It’s a short time of the year only after all and I knew my answer to any ‘healthy’ holiday advice telling me to up my exercise if I wanted to indulge. Thanks but no, thanks. That’s not what the holidays are about.

Family walk_christmas

It wasn’t until starting to write this post that I noticed I failed at taking pictures of my gifts. In my defense: I hardly took a lot of pictures in general this year. Don’t you agree we capture most memories of family time in our heads and hearts rather than on our cameras and memory disks in anway?

One more thing: this Christmas – for reasons unrelated to its untraditional ways – wasn’t the merriest I’ve had so far. But I’m all for looking on the bright – or: marvelous – side of things and choosing what I want to keep in mind the most. And there we have it: a short recap of my untraditional Christmas in the countryside. Now let me know about yours!

Happiness inducing today: My sister for listening and offering a different and encouraging perspective on some problems I’ve been facing. It always helps to share what’s on your mind with somebody else – we don’t need to know all solutions ourselves.

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Do you approve of our untraditional tree 😉 ?

Tell me about your Christmas days!

 

What was your favourite

a) food

b) part of the holidays overall?

Where did the links go?

Hi and hello, blog world!

Usually, you’d find some of my favourite posts from the week here. This Sunday is a little different, though, because I just got back to my apartment [and at that my laptop] after spending the largest part of my week at my parents’.  Quality time with the family took priority over blog reading so I don’t have anything to share today. But the good good links will be back on Wednesday so be sure to stop by for some great reads. Until then find out about my year in blogging and share some highlights of yours!

Good good links

Now let’s talk about the holidays! How was Christmas 2014 for you? Big family gatherings? Intimate little get-togethers with parents and siblings only? Tell me in the comments! I’m always curious to hear about the different celebrations in between various countries and families.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Where do I even start? Despite some happenings taking away some of the holiday cheer I’m still incredibly thankful for my family and memories made during the past days.

Stay in touch!

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