Tuesday, December 20, 2005


“ZIMTSTERNE“ or "cinnamon star cookies" are well spread in Switzerland, Austria and Germany where they are also known as “Erstesstern” meaning “first star” (the German Jewish communities bake them for Yom Kippur, the "Day of Atonement"). Although we share similar recipes with those countries, in Switzerland, some say that the “ZIMTSTERNE” originate from Chur in Grisons…

Those nut meringues are absolutely yummy and aromatic to please. “ZIMTSTERNE” are crunchy on the outside, but deliciously mellow in their center. It’s a classic Christmas biscuit that will enchant everybody with it's interesting spiciness. “ZIMTSTERNE” also make an ideal gift. But, be careful, the only little problem about "ZIMTSTERNE" is that they are quite messy to make so you are warned!!!...

Makes around 40-50 biscuits

3 Egg whites (~50g)
A pinch of salt
300g Powder sugar
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 Tbp Cinnamon powder
1 - 1 1/2 Tbs Kirsch
350g Finely ground almonds
20g Candied orange peels, chopped (optional) or 3/4 Tbs Lemon zest
A bit of plain flour

1. In a bowl, whisk the egg whites with the salt until stiff and standing up in well-defined peaks.
2. Sieve the sugar and progressively incorporate it in the egg whites while continuesly beating.
3. Set aside 1dl of this mixture for the icing (at the end).
4. Add the cinnamon and kirsch to the leftover egg mixture.
5. Delicately incorporate the almonds and candied oranges to the mixture and "knead" very lightly.
6. Roll the pastry (8-10mm thickness) on a floured surface.
7. Cut out stars using a cookie cutter.
8. Place the cut out shapes on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
9. Brush with the leftover 1dl icing mixture (see point 3) and refrigerate.
10. Cook in a preheated oven 250°C (500°F) for 3-5 minutes.
11. Detach delicately with a spatula.

Always work the pastry very delicately.
If you can’t roll out the dough with a pinroll, then do it with your hands without heating it too much.
If you don’t have kirsch, you can either use another type of distilled alcohol (Cognac, Rum, Brandy, etc…), otherwise use the same quantity of lemon juice.

Serving suggestions:
Eat the “ZIMTSTERNE” with a cup of tea, hot chocolate or a fine cup of coffee.

(Zimtsterne 1 -Pic by www.allpresan.de)
(Lenzerheide, Graubunden -Pic by Daniele Zola www.trekearth.com)
(Zimtsterne 2 -Pic by www.livingathome.de)


  1. Your recipe looks nice. The Zimtsterne recipe my family uses has much more flour, so it produces a heavier cookie, not like your meringue. I will have to try your recipe soon.

  2. I'm trying to make these Zimtsterne but I can't find two identical recipes... I think I'm just gonna try several solutions and see which one is the best ! Thank you for the recipe !

  3. Yes, there are many different recipes! You'll just have to test a few anch choose the one you prefer... I hope you'll like this one!

  4. I've never hard of these before, but I love anything cinnamon, especially the sweets. Thanks for the post.

  5. Hello -
    My Swiss husband and I are definitely going to make a few of your recipes for our 1st of August -- especially happy to have found your Gateux (Salee) a la Creme -- which I LOVED while living in Switzerland.

    A few tips I've learned over the past 20 years for Zimtsterne baking.
    1) The dough is often quite sticky. After gently mixing the dough, we form it into a balland chill it in the refrigerator for at least an hour. It helps to make the rolling out easier.
    2) Lay a fresh sheet of plastic on top of the chilled dough ball and roll the dough out onto a parchment-covered cookie sheet. This makes it a lot easier to roll out without sticking to the rolling pin.
    3) Dip your star cookie cutter (this should be a small 5 pointed star as it's a small cookie) into sugar before cutting out - sticks less.
    4) Parchment is essential or these bite-sized beauties will stick something fierce to your sheet.

    Enjoy! Happy 1st of August!

  6. ANONYMOUS: Hello!
    Thanks for your comment and interest in my blog. I hope you'll enjoy my recipes.
    Thanks for the tips! Very useful