Cinnamon Stars

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It’s a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 


Last month I took a trip to beautiful Denver Colorado to attend the Food Allergy Blogger’s Conference. Denver is one of the most gluten free-friendly spots the country has to offer, there are so many dining options there! The morning before the conference began, I went on a gluten free tour of the surrounding areas with a group of gluten free bloggers, hosted and planned by Michelle at My Gluten-Free Kitchen.

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

Our first stop was a cute little German shop called Rheinlander Bakery. They had just celebrated their 50th year being in business, and it was easy to see why they have been in business that long. Once you step inside, you feel like you’ve been transported to Germany. There are hundreds of delightful pastries, cookies, and treats of all kinds. Two entire display cases are dedicated to gluten free and dairy free goodies, and we felt very confident in their processes for avoiding cross contamination.

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

It was so hard to pick just a few things to try! The display cases were loaded with eclairs, chocolate dipped “Oreos”, different flavors of tortes, biscotti, and more. At the last minute, I decided to add a cookie that caught my attention. The cookies were labelled “Cinnamon Stars” or zimtsterne in German.

We went outside to taste the goodies and just as expected everything was wonderful. But the Cinnamon Stars stole the show for me.

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

I was pleasantly surprised by a chewy cookie with a burst of just the right amount of cinnamon. As a finishing touch, it was wrapped in chocolate and topped with a few Christmas sprinkles. It was a flavor and texture I had never tasted in a Christmas cookie!

I saved half of the zimtsterne to share with my family, and because these cookies stay fresh up to 2 weeks, it was just as good when I got home. Now that’s a Christmas cookie you need in your repertoire! The entire family loved it, picky kids and all, so I knew that I needed to recreate it. I scanned the internet and read through half a dozen recipes (this is a good place to start) before creating my own version. It took a few trials to get the texture and flavor as I had remembered it from Rheinlander Bakery.

 

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

Traditionally, zimtsterne (zimt = cinnamon, sterne = stars) is frosted with a thin layer of meringue before baking. Of course, I can’t pass up on an opportunity to add chocolate, so that’s how we always serve ours 🙂

If you don’t love chocolate or want to try something new, feel free to top your gluten free Cinnamon Stars with meringue. Just follow the modifications on step 5 of the recipe notes below.

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

Along with this fun new recipe, I’ve joined a bunch of my gluten-free food blogger friends for a Virtual Gluten-free Cookie Exchange and GIVEAWAY! Want to win a $50 AMAZON GIFT CARD???

Check out all 12 recipes in our virtual gluten-free cookie exchange, listed in the order they appear in the photo, left to right, row by row. You will find fun giveaways to go along with each recipe, so be sure to check out all of them! Enter the giveaway below…

Gluten-free Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies by My Gluten-Free Kitchen

Gluten-free Gingerbread Kiss Cookies by Gluten Free Palate

Snowball Cookies by Allergylicious

Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Mint Cookies by Meaningful Eats

Cinnamon Stars by Life After Wheat

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies in Jar by This Vivacious Life

Crock Pot Bark with Salted Peanuts by What the Fork

Candy Cane Cookies by gfJules

Coffee Flour Cookies by Flippin’ Delicious

Snickerdoodle Cookies by Veggie Balance

Lemon Cranberry Cookies by Vegetarian Mamma

Gluten Free Vegan Rasberry Pinwheel Cookies by Sarah Bakes Gluten Free

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

RECIPE NOTES:

  1. Whole almond flour works best. A lot of almond flours you see in stores will have the peels removed, leaving a flour that is one color throughout. I have tested this recipe with almond flour that uses the whole almond, and with the flour just mentioned and the whole almond flour yields the best texture. I found some at my local natural grocery store.
  2. Since you’re working with egg whites, be gentle with the dough. I have used the paddle attachment on my KitchenAid mixer, a hand mixer, and stirred by hand. All of those methods have worked but turn your mixers to a low setting and just mix until the ingredients are barely combined.
  3. You’ll be baking these cookies low and slow. Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat as the texture won’t be quite the same.
  4. Because you’re already dealing with a brown dough, it might be difficult to tell when the cookies are done. They will have gotten a little more pale while baking, and should have a very light golden brown finish underneath. They should be chewy but should not taste doughy. In my oven, they are done in exactly 17 minutes.
  5. Bake on the middle rack, but if you’re topping with meringue, move the oven rack to a lower position.
  6. To top with meringue instead of dipping in chocolate, follow the recipe with these modifications:
    1. After whipping the egg whites, add just the powdered sugar and mix on low about 10 seconds until the sugar is incorporated.
    2. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the meringue and finish preparing/rolling dough as directed.
    3. Before baking, spread a thin layer of meringue on top of each cookie.
    4. Move your oven rack to the lowest position so the meringue doesn’t burn before the cookies finish baking.

*This recipe contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links, I will receive a small amount of compensation at no additional charge to you. 

 

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

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Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne)

Prep

Cook

Inactive

Total

Yield 18-24 cookies

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

 

Ingredients

3 egg whites, cold

2 cups powdered sugar

3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups finely ground whole (unpeeled) almond flour (I used Bob's Red Mill, see recipe notes)

4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)

1/4 tsp sea salt

about 1 1/2 cups gluten free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Foods which are also dairy free)

Instructions

  1. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or Silpat baking liners
  2. In a large bowl, whip egg whites with a whisk attachment until stiff. If you're topping the cookies with meringue, please see recipe notes above for modifications.
  3. Add powdered sugar, almond flour, cinnamon, vanilla, and sea salt. Mix on low just until combined or stir gently by hand. Don't overmix. The dough will be only slightly sticky, but definitely workable.  Note that humidity can affect how much flour you'll need so if it's too wet to be workable, add more almond flour a tablespoon at a time.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Dust countertop, silpat, or wax paper with about 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar. 
  6. Form dough into a ball, roll in powdered sugar to prevent sticking, and slightly flatten. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick.
  7. Using a star shaped cookie cutter, cut out the dough and place onto prepared baking sheets. Sometimes the dough will stick a bit so I use a lightly greased spatula to transfer them to the baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cookies are set, a lighter color, and the bottoms are slightly browned.
  9. Cool on a rack.
  10. When cookies are completely cooled, melt some chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Foods because they're also dairy free and melt very well)
  11. Dip the tops or the entire cookies one at a time into the melted chocolate and set right side up on a piece of parchment or wax paper. Sprinkle with Christmas sprinkles if you want. Enjoy!
  12. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks!

Notes

  • Whole almond flour works best. A lot of almond flours you see in stores will have the peels removed, leaving a flour that is one color throughout. I have tested this recipe with almond flour that uses the whole almond, and with the flour just mentioned and the whole almond flour yields the best texture. I found some at my local natural grocery store.
  • Since you're working with egg whites, be gentle with the dough. I have used the paddle attachment on my KitchenAid mixer, a hand mixer, and stirred by hand. All of those methods have worked but turn your mixers to a low setting and just mix until the ingredients are barely combined.
  • You'll be baking these cookies low and slow. Don't be tempted to turn up the heat as the texture won't be quite the same.
  • Because you're already dealing with a brown dough, it might be difficult to tell when the cookies are done. They will have gotten a little more pale while baking, and should have a very light golden brown finish underneath. They should be chewy but should not taste doughy. In my oven, they are done in exactly 17 minutes.
  • Bake on the middle rack, but if you're topping with meringue, move the oven rack to a lower position.
  • To top with meringue instead of dipping in chocolate, follow the recipe with these modifications:
    1. After whipping the egg whites, add just the powdered sugar and mix on low about 10 seconds until the sugar is incorporated.
    2. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the meringue and finish preparing/rolling dough as directed.
    3. Before baking, spread a thin layer of meringue on top of each cookie.
    4. Move your oven rack to the lowest position so the meringue doesn't burn before the cookies finish baking.

Courses dessert

Cuisine German

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 cookie

Amount Per Serving

% Daily Value

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) are classic German Christmas cookies. It's a simple and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free and DELICIOUS! 

 

 

 

 

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76 Comments

  • Reply
    Chrystal @ Gluten-Free Palate
    December 10, 2017 at 7:22 am

    These cookies are so pretty! I love how simple the recipe is.

  • Reply
    Brianna Hobbs
    December 10, 2017 at 8:02 am

    These were my favorite from our Denver trip. I’ve been wanting to make them! I can’t wait to try your recipe.

  • Reply
    Nicole Dawson
    December 10, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Even more sad I couldn’t get my flight changed in time for the tour, BUT so excited I can try these cookies you recreated from the trip! They look amazing.

  • Reply
    Dana Coughlin
    December 10, 2017 at 10:02 am

    My favorite cookies are Russian tea cookies and rosettes

  • Reply
    Lydia Claire
    December 10, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    My favorite are macaroons!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 10, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      Always a win!

  • Reply
    Dee Johnson
    December 10, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    I always love chocolate shortbread cookies.

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 11, 2017 at 10:35 am

      I have never tried a chocolate shortbread, sounds amazing!

  • Reply
    Margaret E Clegg
    December 10, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    I LOVE Cinnamon Star Cookies, but they don’t always turn out for me. I’ll have to try your recipe!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 11, 2017 at 10:35 am

      Margaret you’re the first person to say they’ve tried cinnamon stars! Let me know if it works for you!

  • Reply
    april
    December 10, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    My favorite is iced sugar cookies!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 11, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Iced sugar cookies are a such a classic and always a win!

  • Reply
    Rachel Fuller
    December 10, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    I love gingerbread cookies!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 11, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Oh yes, I do too!

  • Reply
    Hannah
    December 11, 2017 at 7:05 am

    Very nicely decorated cookies you have there! My favorite Christmas cookie is decorated, cut-out sugar cookies.

  • Reply
    Wehaf
    December 11, 2017 at 10:10 am

    I love real Swedish ginger snaps – thin and crisp!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 11, 2017 at 10:32 am

      I don’t know that I’ve ever had those! I love ginger cookies though.

  • Reply
    angelica
    December 11, 2017 at 11:35 am

    My favorite are chocolate chip cookies – simple yet delicious!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 12, 2017 at 9:27 am

      Yes, classic chocolate chip is always a win!

  • Reply
    julie
    December 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    i love a good crunchy sugar cookie

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 12, 2017 at 9:26 am

      Mmmmmm yes!

  • Reply
    Kayley
    December 11, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    I usually like gingerbread and sugar cookies during Christmas. These cinnamon stars look great too!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 12, 2017 at 9:26 am

      I love gingerbread too, Christmas just isn’t complete without it! Hope you enjoy these, too Kayley! -Celeste

  • Reply
    Erica D
    December 11, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    I still can’t believe I haven’t gone after all these years. Looks incredible!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 12, 2017 at 9:25 am

      Next year!

  • Reply
    jules
    December 11, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    These are so pretty! I can’t wait to try them! Excited to be doing this virtual cookie exchange with you!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 12, 2017 at 9:24 am

      Thank you Jules! I hope you enjoy them and am planning on trying your candy cane cookies with my kids this week!

  • Reply
    Mary
    December 11, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Yum! I can’t wait to make some!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 12, 2017 at 9:23 am

      I hope you enjoy them Mary!

  • Reply
    Lesly f
    December 11, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    My mom’s cinnamon cookies are delicious 😋

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 12, 2017 at 9:22 am

      Cookies from mom are always the best, huh? Are they a snickerdoodle type cookie?

  • Reply
    Lisa Howell
    December 11, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    My favorite Christmas cookies are chocolate covered Peppermint Joe Joe’s!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 12, 2017 at 9:22 am

      Chocolate + Peppermint is always a winning combo in my book!

  • Reply
    amy guillaume linderman
    December 12, 2017 at 6:53 am

    i really love making cream cheese spritz/cookie press cookies

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 12, 2017 at 9:21 am

      Spritz cookies are so fun! I remember making them as a kid but don’t much anymore…I might have to make a batch this year!

  • Reply
    jberry
    December 12, 2017 at 9:05 am

    After returning from a work related trip, I have 5 days to bake before Christmas. Your Cinnamon Stars have just knocked something off the list. The only 2 cookies that are safe from elimination are my Oatmeal Snickerdoodles & my mothers’ Nut Butter Thumbprints.

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 12, 2017 at 9:20 am

      I am so glad to hear that this recipe saved you a little stress this Christmas! I hope you enjoy them, Merry Christmas! -Celeste

  • Reply
    Brianna Wolin
    December 12, 2017 at 9:06 am

    I am all about chocolate in my cookies!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 12, 2017 at 9:20 am

      YES!

  • Reply
    Jessica Allen
    December 13, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Thank you!!!! We just had a cookie fellowship at church and a family brought these to share. I was hoping to get the recipe but hadn’t yet.

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 13, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      Perfect timing! Hope you enjoy them Jessica!

  • Reply
    Jessica
    December 13, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Love white chocolate/cherry cookies!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 13, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      Absolutely! One of my favorite flavor combos!

  • Reply
    Becca Z
    December 13, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Gorgeous stained glass sugar cookies.

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 13, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      I remember making those as a kid, so fun!

  • Reply
    Cassandra
    December 13, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Our favourite Christmas cookies are either gingerbread or sugar cookies as the children love decorating them!

  • Reply
    Lisa S
    December 13, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Sugar cookies

  • Reply
    Elena
    December 13, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    I like the gingerbread cookies

  • Reply
    Heather
    December 13, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    My favorite Christmas cookie would have to be German Spekulatius 🙂

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 14, 2017 at 9:27 am

      I haven’t tried these, I’ll have to look up a recipe! I love trying new cookies.

  • Reply
    Dandi D
    December 14, 2017 at 7:01 am

    My favorites are frosted sugar cookies.

  • Reply
    Liz Newsome
    December 14, 2017 at 8:19 am

    I love iced shortbread cookies!

  • Reply
    GB
    December 14, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Ginger snaps are my favorite Christmas cookie.

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 15, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      I love Ginger too! Great choice 😉

  • Reply
    shelly peterson
    December 14, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    I like frosted sugar cookies.

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 15, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      Always a win!

  • Reply
    JOdi
    December 14, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    These cookies are amazing! Thank you!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 15, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      Yes, always so fun!!

  • Reply
    Katie
    December 14, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Cut out sugar cookies!

  • Reply
    Elle
    December 14, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    My favorite Christmas cookie is sugar cookies.

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 15, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      Always a good one!

  • Reply
    meredith
    December 15, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    I like my moms date bars

  • Reply
    Casey the College Celiac
    December 15, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    I’m loving gingersnaps this year – it’s been my first time trying them!

  • Reply
    Melinda M.
    December 15, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    I’ve never heard of Zimtsterne but they look delicious! Our favorite is Peppernuts but I have yet to find a good GF substitute. :-/

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 16, 2017 at 6:56 pm

      I haven’t heard of peppernuts, I’ll have to look it up and try a recipe!

  • Reply
    Bridgett Wilbur
    December 16, 2017 at 11:04 am

    I love my grand mothers snow ball cookies.

  • Reply
    Kayte CookWatts
    December 16, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    I love pumpkin chocolate chip with coconut & pecans.

  • Reply
    Chrissy
    December 17, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    My favorite Christmas cookie is chocolate snickerdoodles!

  • Reply
    Marilyn
    December 18, 2017 at 5:21 am

    My favorite cookies are the Hungarian walnut-paste filled Crescents my Mom would make only at Christmas time! The best!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 18, 2017 at 10:15 am

      Those sound so good!

  • Reply
    Erika W.
    December 18, 2017 at 8:18 am

    My favorite Christmas cookies are sugar cookies and peanut butter cookies with hershey kisses in the middle.

  • Reply
    Linda
    December 18, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Sugar cookies are my favorite Christmas cookie.

  • Reply
    SHAYNA
    December 18, 2017 at 10:47 am

    I LOVE PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES 🙂

  • Reply
    Maggie Smith
    December 18, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    We love peanut butter blossoms!

  • Reply
    Lindsay A.
    December 18, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Ahhh, sooo hard to pick a favorite! I love snickerdoodles, almond crescents or anything with marzipan/almond paste, almond extract (can you see a theme here? Lol), and many others! 😀

  • Leave a Reply

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