Zimtsterne (German Cinnamon Star Christmas Cookies)

German Cinnamon Star Christmas Cookies (Zimtsterne)

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 40 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 14 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
278 Calories
14g Fat
34g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 14
Amount per serving
Calories 278
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 17mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 28g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 82mg 6%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 227mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These zimtsterne cookies are a very traditional part of the Christmas and Advent offerings to guests in Germany. Cinnamon and almonds taste great together and are traditional ingredients in German Adventskekse. Many people buy them packaged, but they are easy to make and taste better than the store-bought variety. Handmade cookies are also appreciated as little gifts, or mitbringseln, when visiting friends, too.

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature

  • 3 1/2 cups (390 grams) confectioners' sugar

  • 4 cups (400 grams) almond meal

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 ounce kirschwasser, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for German zimsterne

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.

    Beat egg whites in a bowl, hand mixer

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Add the confectioners' sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition. Continue beating for 5 minutes after the last addition. The mixture should be very stiff, like the icing used to hold a gingerbread house together.

    icing in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Remove 1/2 cup of this meringue mixture and set aside for icing.

    egg white mixture in a large bowl, in a small bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Fold the raw almond meal and cinnamon into the larger portion of meringue. Add the Kirschwasser, if you are using it, and incorporate. Chill the dough for about 1 hour.

    cookie batter in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Using ample confectioners' sugar on your baking board or clean countertop, pat the dough into a square and roll out to 1/2-inch thick (or 1 centimeter).

    rolled out cookie dough

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Cut out stars with a cookie cutter that has been dusted with confectioners' sugar. Dust the cookie cutter between each cut.

    rolled out cookie dough, star cookie cutter

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Place stars on a nonstick cookie sheet or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

    raw star cookies on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Brush or spread the reserved meringue icing on each star, working it out to all the points.

    cookies brushed with icing on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Let the stars dry overnight (about 24 hours, if you can). An oven is a good place if you don't forget they are there and heat for something else.

    cookies brushed with icing on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  11. The next day, heat the oven to 325 F. Bake each tray for 10 to 15 minutes. This is to dry out the cookies a little more and bake the egg whites. Try to remove the cookies before the icing turns brown, although a little brown tint can look nice.

    cookies on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  12. Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and let them cool completely on a wire rack before storing in a covered container in a dry place at room temperature.

    German Cinnamon Star Christmas Cookies (Zimtsterne) on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Tips

  • Cutting out the stars is a sticky process. Wash off and thoroughly dry the cookie cutter as often as necessary to achieve sharp star points.
  • You can make the almond meal yourself in a blender or buy it in the baking aisle of many grocery stores or natural food stores. Some zimtsterne recipes ask for blanched, ground almonds. These are perfectly fine to use but the extra step of removing the skin is quite a bit more work and does not affect the final product much.