Ginger Orange Christmas Cookies
by eat in my kitchen
There is a very popular Christmas cookie in Germany called Zimtstern, meaning cinnamon star. They are a tiny bit chewy inside, soft and juicy. The dough is made without flour and butter but with lots of ground almonds or hazelnuts and egg whites which gives it its typical texture. This sweet is a classic which you can find on every German Christmas cookie platter and I have faithfully baked them for years. It has always been one of the recipes that I look forward to with excitement, these cookies bring out the best of my beloved cinnamon!
As so often when I follow a tradition with such consistency, at one point I need a little change or at least a variation, which is the substitution of spices in this case. I took out the cinnamon and replaced it with lots of freshly grated ginger, orange zest and cloves. The result is an extremely aromatic cookie with the same texture as the Zimtstern, they are equally soft and chewy inside. I covered them in a thin layer of orange glaze to give them a glowing festive look. As I had already broken with the tradition I thought I might as well give them different shapes. When I took out my cookie cutters I went straight for the sausage dog, reindeer and squirrel apart from the classic trees and stars!
I wish you a happy Advent!
If you’re looking for some more baking inspiration for the next days, here are my Espresso Meringue Cookies with Cardamom Ganache, a Chocolate and Orange Panettone, Vanilla Kipferl, Chocolate and Apricot Jam Sandwich Cookies, Bittersweet Spice Cookies, Maltese Lemon Cookies, German Spitzbuben Cookies and Elisenlebkuchen with Bittersweet Chocolate.
Ginger Orange Christmas Cookies
For about 60 cookies you need
ground hazelnuts and/ or almonds 320g / 11.5 ounces
(I used 100g / 3.5 ounces hazelnuts and 220g / 8 ounces almonds)
organic egg whites 2
a pinch of salt
sieved icing sugar 250g / 9 ounces plus 100g / 3.5 ounces for the glaze
freshly grated ginger 20g / 3/4 ounce (about 3 teaspoons)
grated zest of 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons)
cloves, crushed in a mortar, 20 (about 1 teaspoon)
freshly squeezed orange juice, about 6 teaspoons, for the glaze
granulated sugar, to roll out the dough
Set the oven to 160°C / 320°F (fan-assisted oven) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the ground nuts with the ginger, zest and cloves. Spread and rub the ginger with your fingers into the nuts until well combined.
Whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff and mix in the icing sugar (gradually). Mix in the nuts and spice mixture with a wooden spoon until well combined. Scrape the dough onto cling film, form a ball and keep in the fridge for about 2 hours.
Roll out the dough between sugared cling film, it should be about 1/2cm / 1/4″ thick. Dip the cookie cutters in sugar and cut out cookies, spread them on a baking sheet with a little space in between them and bake for 11-12 minutes or until golden. They should still feel a bit soft. Let them cool for a few minutes before you put them on a wire rack.
For the glaze, mix 100g / 3.5 ounces of icing sugar with 5 teaspoons of orange juice, the mixture should be very thick and slightly runny. Add a few more drops of the juice if necessary, mix until smooth and brush the cookies with the glaze.