Bellagio Christmas Decorations in Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada!

posted in: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA | 0

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas, a happy whatever-you-celebrate, and a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year! Thanks for reading my blog and going along on my adventures with me.

Recently I found myself, on rather short notice, in Las Vegas for a long weekend. While there, I was able to see the wonderful holiday decorations at the Bellagio. These were under the glass roof of the hotel’s Conservatory and Botanical Garden, which is right off the registration desk. The centerpiece was a giant coach and horses, all made of glittery Styrofoam and decked out with holiday finery. So realistic!

They change the decorations often, depending on what holiday or time of year it is. It’s always spectacular.

The other scenes:

I loved the way this all looked under the night sky you could see through the glass. And they even had snowflakes projected onto the floor:

Who is that handsome elf?

I think my favorite part of the display, judging from the number of pictures I took of it, was the crescent moon over the polar bear playground:

Here’s a closeup of the double/triple/quadruple poinsettias everywhere:After seeing this wonderful fairyland, we went outside and saw the fountains dancing to Christmas music on a beautiful, clear Las Vegas night. I recommend it!

Now for my holiday gift to you: a recipe for traditional German Zimtsterne. The name means “Cinnamon Stars”. These uber-crunchy cookies are traditional Christmas fare in Germany. I got the recipe from one of my students there who lives near Stuttgart.

I made them from ground hazelnuts this first time. Next time I’ll try the almond flour. They have no wheat flour, so they are gluten-free. A little work, but totally worth it. Leave me a message and let me know if you tried them!

Print Recipe
Cookies, Cinnamon Stars (German Zimtsterne)
Traditional German Zimtsterne cookies for Christmas. Family recipe given to me by Bärbel Dittmann.
Course Dessert
Cuisine German
Course Dessert
Cuisine German
  1. Sift powdered sugar. Set aside.
  2. Beat egg whites until foamy. Continue beating and add sifted powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until sugar is completely incorporated. Continue beating for about 10 minutes until the mixture becomes very stiff. Consistency will be somewhat like marshmallow fluff.
  3. Beat in vanilla extract.
  4. Set aside ½ cup of the meringue to use for icing later. Cover it to prevent it from drying out.
  1. Preheat oven to 250 F (120 C).
  2. Set aside ½ cup of the ground nuts or nut flour.
  3. Mix almond extract, cinnamon, lemon juice, optional cardamom, and the remaining 3 ½ cups of the ground nuts or nut flour into the egg white mixture with a wooden spoon or your hands. Consistency should be like a moist cookie dough. If it’s too sticky, add more ground nuts or nut flour, a teaspoon at a time, until proper consistency is reached.
  4. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for one hour.
  5. Line your work surface with a sheet of parchment paper.
  6. Sprinkle the reserved ½ cup of ground nuts or nut flour on the parchment.
  7. Place the rested dough on top of the nuts. Place a sheet of waxed paper over the dough. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin on top of the waxed paper to ¼ inch thick (½ cm). Remove waxed paper.
  8. Cut out cookies with a star-shaped cutter, leaving about 1 inch between each cookie.
  9. Remove dough between cookies, leaving cutouts on the parchment paper.
  10. Carefully transfer the parchment paper with the cutouts to a baking sheet. The cookies will be very soft, so leaving them on the parchment is an easy way to keep them from becoming deformed while transferring them to the baking sheet.
  11. Re-roll dough as many times as necessary to use it all for cookies. Because there is no flour, the dough will maintain its consistency.
  12. Using a pastry brush or a clean artist paintbrush, ice each cookie with reserved meringue.
  13. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Meringue will be set, and cookie edges will be just turning a light gold.
  14. Let cool completely on baking sheet.
Recipe Notes

Using a stand mixer is helpful because of the lengthy beating time.

Cookies are super crunchy!

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