It's time for some very special keto Christmas cookies! Cinnamon Stars AKA Zimtsterne are traditional gluten free German Christmas cookies. This version is low carb, sugar free and diabetic-friendly.
This recipe has been on my website for many years. I've updated it in December 2020 with new images and step by step instructions!
That time of year has arrived again.
The festive spirit has been going strong in the shop windows since Halloween's been over, so I should have seen it coming. But I have to admit, December always creeps up on me.
I admire the people that have a Christmas spreadsheet and schedule all tasks so it's done by the first of December (yes, they exist!).
When I fight my way through the crowds on Oxford Street and queue for the last turkey at the butchers', they can sit back, admire their beautifully decorated Christmas tree and sip mulled wine.
There's one thing though I never forget about. Cinnamon Stars, my favourite out of all German Christmas cookies.
We used to eat them every year when I grew up in Germany. And even though I have now lived in the UK for over 25 years, Christmas wouldn't be the same without "Zimtsterne" (which simply means "cinnamon stars").
Sugar Free Christmas cookies
"Zimtsterne" are perhaps the most traditional Christmas cookies in Germany. They are the Mince Pies of Deutschland; the ultimate festive baked good. Plus, they taste absolutely delicious.
The original recipe requires ground almonds (that's almond flour in the US), which makes these German Christmas cookies gluten free. So far, so good.
Unfortunately though, regular cinnamon stars are packed with icing sugar, which erases all the benefits of using nuts as opposed to wheat flour.
I remade our favourite family recipe using powdered erythritol and turned them into rather delicious sugar free Christmas cookies.
Some people like to bake these until they're crunchy, but I actually prefer them when the inside is still moist and they taste almost like marzipan.
The thicker you roll them out, the softer the inside will be!
How to make keto cinnamon stars
Start by beating the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Slowly mix in the powdered sweetener until the mixture is stiff.
Add the almond flour and spices and stir until combined.
Form a dough ball and roll it out around ½ to 1 centimetre thick between 2 sheets of baking paper.
Place in the freezer to chill for around 15 minutes. This is an important step - it makes cutting out the dough much easier.
Remove from the freezer, lift the top baking paper sheet and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 150 Celsius / 300 Fahrenheit for about 12-15 minutes.
Let cool completely, then ice with sugar free icing - ½ cup powdered sweetener mixed with 1 tbsp water.
You can use an icing bag with a tiny nozzle for a "professional" finish. Alternatively, simply use a brush.
I'm using ground almonds (regular almond flour) for my keto christmas cookies. For a more rustic cookie, almond meal (ground almonds with the skins) would work well.
For a flavour variation, replace half the almond flour with hazelnut flour. You can grind this at home from roasted hazelnuts.
Sugar free sweetener
I used powdered erythritol for this recipe. You could use powdered xylitol or powdered allulose as well.
If you only have granulated sweetener to hand, powder it at home in a food processor. I do that all the time. Just wait a minute or 2 before you open the lid of the food processor so the mini snowstorm inside can settle.
Sugar free icing
Traditional cinnamon stars are topped with a meringue that is baked rather than icing. Basically, you hold back some of the egg white and sugar mix, which you then brush over the cookies before baking.
In my original recipe this is what I did using the egg white and sweetener.
I have made super yummy sugar free meringues using sugar free sweetener. However, I found it tricky though to keep the meringue topping from separating from the cookies after baking. Erythritol just does not have the same sticking power as sugar!
That's why I have now changed the recipe to sugar free icing, which I'm adding after the cookies are baked.
Cinnamon is a must for these sugar free Christmas cookies. Add a 3rd teaspoon if you LOVE the taste - there's room for it!
I used proper ground filter coffee for this recipe, but a sprinkle of powdered instant coffee granules should also work.
Some traditional recipes add lemon zest, so that's an option. I'm also a huge fan of nutmeg (¼ tsp) and cardamom (¼ tsp), so if you're up for a different flavour, those would work too!
My cookies never last longer than 1 week. However, I think they should be fine for a minimum of 2 weeks at room temperature in a cookie jar.
You can even freeze them! I recently remade this recipe because I added it to my Keto Cookies Cookbook, and we did freeze them after our taste test.
We're a family of 4, so you can imagine that we cannot eat 35 cookie batches one after the other, keto or not!
A great edible gift
These Keto Christmas cookies make a lovely homemade gift. So make a bumper portion and share the sugar free love 🙂
And here is one of the original images I used for this blog post:
More sugar free Christmas recipes:
- Low Carb Christmas Pudding
- Low Carb Gingerbread Cupcakes (Sugar Free)
- Sugar Free Dried Cranberries
- Keto Sugar Free Mince Pies
- Keto Biscotti
- Keto Sugar Cookies (Low Carb, Sugar Free)
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Keto Cinnamon Stars (German Christmas Cookies)
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Sugar Free Icing
- ½ cup / 90g powdered sweetener (So Nourished) plus 1 tbsp water
- Preheat the oven to 150 Celsius / 300 Fahrenheit.
- Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Slowly mix in the powdered sweetener until the mixture is stiff.
- Add the almond flour and spices and stir until combined.
- Form a dough ball and roll it out around ½ to 1 centimetre thick between 2 sheets of baking paper.
- Place in the freezer to chill for around 15 minutes. This is an important step - it makes cutting out the dough much easier.
- Remove from the freezer, lift the top baking paper sheet and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Place on a baking tray line with parchment paper.
- Bake for about 12-15 minutes.
- Let cool completely, then ice with sugar free icing - ½ cup powdered sweetener mixed with 1 tbsp water.
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