Everyone has their holiday traditions. It’s so fun to find new ones to fold into your own events. These recipes that Lotta of MINT DESIGN shared are perfect to celebrate the season with, we think. She teamed up with Mariel Hannah Photography to share her family’s German tradition of baking + sipping: In a traditional German home, the holidays revolve much around baking, drinking and entertaining. All of my relatives live in Germany and Sweden making it hard to see them during the holidays. So during Christmas time, we pretend we are in Germany by busting out the baking supplies, gathering the vino and spices, and we bake the night away!
The German Cinnamon Stars are yummiest dunked into something hot such as mulled wine. Lotta says that many Scandinavian and German speaking countries make mulled wine every night during December. Mm!
As promised, the recipes…
German Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Stars)
• 1 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) hazelnuts or blanched almonds, finely ground
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
• 1/4 cup egg whites (about 2 large)
• Pinch of salt
• 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
• About 1/2 cup additional confectioners’ sugar for rolling
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
2. Combine the nuts, cinnamon, and zest. Beat the egg whites on low speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Add the salt, increase the speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until stiff and glossy, 5 to 8 minutes. Reserve one-third of the meringue (about 1/3 cup) and fold the nut mixture into the remaining meringue.
3. Place a large piece of waxed paper on a flat surface and sprinkle with additional confectioners’ sugar. Place the nut mixture on the sugar, lightly sprinkle with more confectioners’ sugar, top with a second piece of waxed paper, and roll out 1/4 inch thick. Remove the top piece of waxed paper. Using a cookie cutter dipped in water, cut into 2-inch star shapes or use a sharp knife to cut into diamonds. Reroll and cut any scraps. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
4. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Spread the reserved meringue over the top of the cookies and bake until the tops are lightly colored, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool. Zimtsterne taste best if allowed to stand for 24 hours. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
And now the wine…
Glühwein (Mulled Wine)
• 2 medium lemons
• 2 medium oranges
• 10 whole cloves
• 5 cardamom pods
• 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
• 1 1/4 cups water
• 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
• 2 (750-milliliter) bottles dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Beaujolais Nouveau
• 1/2 cup brandy
• Butcher’s twine
1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the lemons and oranges in wide strips, avoiding the white pith; place the zest in a large saucepan. Juice the lemons and oranges and add the juice to the pan.
2. Place the cloves and cardamom in a small piece of cheesecloth, tie it tightly with butcher’s twine, and add the bundle to the saucepan.
3. Add the sugar, water, and cinnamon sticks, place the pan over high heat, and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced by about one-third, about 20 minutes.
4. Add the red wine and brandy, stir to combine, and bring just to a simmer (don’t let it boil). Remove from the heat and remove and discard the spice bundle before serving.
Thanks to Lotta for sharing these delicious holiday treats with us! Cheers!
Photographer: Mariel Hannah Photography / Creative Direction & Styling: MINT DESIGN / Paper Products: Matinae Design Studio