Traditional German Christmas Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Star Cookies)

Crunchy, gluten-free, traditional German Cinnamon Star cookies (Zimtsterne) help the holiday season seem even more festive!

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Cookies, Cinnamon Stars (German Zimtsterne)
Traditional German Zimtsterne cookies for Christmas. Family recipe given to me by Bärbel Dittmann.
Course Dessert
Cuisine German
Servings
Ingredients
Meringue
Cookies:
Course Dessert
Cuisine German
Servings
Ingredients
Meringue
Cookies:
Instructions
Meringue:
  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.
Cookies:
  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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Hot German Spiced, Mulled Wine (Glühwein) Recipe

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Authentic German recipe for the famous Glühwein, spicy, mulled wine served hot - a traditional winter treat at the Christmas markets in Europe.

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Mulled Wine (Spiced German Glühwein) Recipe
Glühwein is hot, red wine infused with citrus and spices. This is an authentic German recipe - serve it at your winter holiday parties or enjoy it at home as part of your traditional celebrations.
Cuisine German
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
6-oz cups
Ingredients
Cuisine German
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
6-oz cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Wash the lemon and orange and remove any labels. Cut them in half.
  2. In a 3-quart saucepan combine sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to a low boil and simmer until syrupy.
  3. Squeeze the orange and lemon halves into the pan and drop the empty rinds in as well. Add remaining ingredients.
  4. Lower the heat and continue to cook without boiling or simmering for 15 minutes. Serve hot.
Recipe Notes

For Glühwein use any type of red wine as long as it’s a fairly good one. You can’t dress up a bad wine by adding the spices. A slow-cooker is a good way to keep Glühwein warm on a party buffet table.

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Faschingskrapfen, German Filled Donut Recipe

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The traditional pastry for Germanys Mardi Gras, called Karneval or Fasching, is krapfen, or donuts. Made of yeast dough, they are fried and filled with apricot or rose hip jam. You can make them yourself with this recipe!

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Donuts, German Filled (Faschingskrapfen) for Karneval
Cuisine German
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine German
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Proof the yeast by combining it with the lukewarm milk and about 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix well and place in a warm spot for 20 minutes. The yeast should become active and foam up, becoming what is called a sponge.
  2. While the yeast is doing its thing, combine the rest of the ingredients and whip til fluffy. Combine the yeast sponge with the flour and mix up a little. Add the egg mixture and mix well. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes or use a mixer with dough hooks for 5 minutes.
  3. Form a ball with the dough and leave it in the bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and put in a warm place (about 85 degrees F) to rise for 20 minutes. If your kitchen is cold, warm the oven to 85 degrees F (30 C) and place the dough in there.
  4. Punch the dough down and knead by hand on floured board for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with more flour and work it in by increments if dough sticks to your hand. Add milk by tablespoons if the dough is too dry and hard to knead.
  5. Form a ball and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with the towel and return to the warm spot for 60 minutes to rise a second time.
  6. Turn the dough onto a floured board and punch down again.
  7. Now there are two ways to proceed: One is to form balls with the dough that are about 2 inches in diameter. Roll the balls between your palms to eliminate any seams or folds. Seams and folds "bloom" in the oil and result in a misshapen Krapfen. Two is to press the dough into a flat sheet about 1/2 inch thick. Let it rest for about 10 minutes then use a cookie cutter or rim of a drinking glass to cut 4-inch disks. Reform leftover dough into a flat sheet and cut more disks until most of the dough is used up.
  8. Whether you form ball or disks, place the dough shapes on greased and floured sheets. Cover the dough with the kitchen towel and return to the warm place for another 30 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile bring a pot with 2-3 inches of oil, shortening or lard (old school, German style) to 338 degrees F (170 C). Carefully remove a ball or disk, whatever you decided, turn it over and place gently into the oil, bottom up.
  10. Fry 1-2 minutes then turn the donuts over and fry an equal amount of time on the other side. Properly risen dough should be so light that the donuts float, resulting in a white band around the middle. No white band means dense, overcooked donuts.
  11. Remove from oil to a plate lined with paper towels.
  12. There are two ways to glaze the Krapfen: One, roll the still-warm Krapfen in a plate of sugar. Two, sprinkle with powdered sugar, BUT WAIT UNTIL AFTER YOU FILL THEM.
  13. To fill: Load a baking syringe with jam and inject each donut with about 2 teaspoons of the sweet stuff. Then sprinkle with powdered sugar on both sides if you waited for that.
  14. Serve warm. Strong coffee goes well!
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Käsekuchen (German Cheesecake) Recipe

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This authentic German family recipe for cheesecake uses the European Quark instead of cream cheese for a moist, delicious dessert that is much lighter than American cheesecakes.

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Cheesecake (German Käsekuchen) Recipe
Course Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine German
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 60-70 minutes
Servings
cheesecake
Ingredients
Filling
Course Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine German
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 60-70 minutes
Servings
cheesecake
Ingredients
Filling
Instructions
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease a 10-inch (25 cm) springform pan with butter and coat with breadcrumbs.
  2. Slightly beat the egg. Cut it into ½ cup (113 g) butter and 2/3 cup (130g) sugar in a bowl.
  3. Put the flour in a separate bowl and pour the wet mixture over it. Combine well with your hands. Dough should be rather dry and form a ball.
  4. Press dough evenly into pan on bottom and around sides to ¼ inch (0.5 cm) thick.
Filling and Baking
  1. Beat all filling ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Pour filling into prepared crust. It’s fine if the batter rises above the crust on the sides of the pan.
  3. Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
  4. Let cool and release from pan. Serve warm or chilled.
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Pretzels (German Laugenbrez’n) Recipe

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Complete recipe for making authentic Bavarian soft pretzels - direct from Germany. Bake up a batch for your next beer fest!

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Pretzels (German Laugenbrez'n) Recipe
Course Bread
Cuisine German
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 18-19 minutes
Servings
pretzels
Ingredients
Course Bread
Cuisine German
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 18-19 minutes
Servings
pretzels
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Proof the yeast by dissolving it and the brown sugar in the 1/8 cup of water. Wait a few minutes until the yeast starts to foam.
  2. Stir in the rest of the warm water, salt and flour. Knead the dough until very smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If the dough is sticky, add more flour by tablespoons until it no longer sticks to your hands.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C) and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Bring the 7 cups of water to a slow boil in a large saucepan. Add the baking soda and stir. [If you're interested in the lye method, after suiting up in your safety gear, dissolve 2 tablespoons (30 g) of food-grade lye in a quart (1liter) of water. DO NOT HEAT the lye solution. Use the lye bath the same as the baking soda bath.]
  5. Divide the dough into eight equal portions and roll each into a long whip about 2 1/2 feet long.
  6. Form each whip into a pretzel shape. The pretzels will be about six inches in diameter.
  7. Using two slotted spoons or spatulas, place each formed pretzel in turn into the baking soda bath for 10 - 15 seconds. Hold it under the surface to get good coverage. The pretzels will puff up a little. Remove from the bath and let drip a couple of seconds before transferring to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Immediately after placing it on the baking sheet, slit the "belly" of each pretzel with a sharp knife and sprinkle liberally with salt while it is still wet.
  9. Bake 18-19 minutes until crispy brown. They will not rise further in the oven. Remove to a cooling rack immediately after baking.
  10. Serve warm with Weißwurst (Munich's famous mild, white, veal sausage), sweet Bavarian mustard (Händlmaier's is the de facto standard in Bavaria) and a tall German beer.
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Vanilla-Lemon Cake Recipe in a Lamb Mold for Easter

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Light, sweet lemon-vanilla cake for Easter or spring celebrations, baked up in a lamb-shaped mold for the occasion. Smaller portion of batter to fit lamb mold.

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Cake, Vanilla-Lemon in a Lamb Mold for Easter Recipe
Traditional European Easter delicacy baked in a lamb mold.
Course Dessert
Cuisine German
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
small cake
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Cuisine German
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
small cake
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
  2. Generously coat cake mold with butter or oil and dust with flour.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together with hand mixer. Mix in eggs, vanilla, milk, zest and lemon juice.
  4. Combine flour and baking powder in separate bowl; mix well.
  5. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and beat thoroughly.
  6. Pour batter into mold, filling nooks and crannies. Bump filled mold on countertop to dislodge any air bubbles.
  7. Bake 40 minutes.
  8. Let cake cool in mold on rack for 30 minutes.
  9. Shake mold firmly then carefully remove one half of mold from top of cake. Loosen edges of cake left in other half of mold with a knife. Carefully remove cake from other half of mold. Let cool completely.
  10. Dust cake with powdered sugar just before serving. Serve for Easter breakfast or brunch.
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Spätzle (German Egg Noodles) Recipe

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Learn to make little homemade egg noodles: Spätzle. A specialty of Swabia in Bavaria and Austria. This recipe is an authentic Swabian family recipe. Serve them with stew or bake with cheese and onions for "German Mac and Cheese".

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Spätzle (German Egg Noodles) Recipe
Course Side Dish
Cuisine German
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Cuisine German
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine flour, salt and eggs in a large bowl and mix with dough hooks or hands. Add water 1/4-cup at a time, mixing well between additions, until proper consistency is reached. You probably don't need all the water. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl and be very wet and elastic and “come heavy off the spoon”: soll schwer vom Löffel reißen.
  2. Heat a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Place the Spätzle plane on top of the pot. Drop large spoonfuls of dough into the receptacle on the plane until it’s almost full.
  3. Hold the plane by the handle and move the receptacle back and forth across the top of the boiling water so it scrapes the dough back and forth. In the process, dough will be forced through the holes of the plane and drop in strands into the boiling water below.
  4. Cook one receptacle full of dough at a time. If the water stops boiling, allow it to come to a boil again before proceeding.
  5. The noodles are done when they come to the top and float for a minute or so. Remove from the pot with a large slotted spoon or mesh spider to a colander. Stir the colander occasionally to keep them from sticking while you finish cooking the rest of the dough.
  6. Serve warm immediately as a side dish or freeze.
Recipe Notes

Don't let your prep bowls and equipment dry out with the dough on them. The dough dries into a cement-like substance! Soak them while you eat and they will be easier to clean later.

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Hirschgulasch: Bavarian Venison Goulash/Stew Recipe

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Recipe for authentic Bavarian venison stew, or Hirschgulasch. My dear German friend not only gave me her mother's family recipe, but she also gave me a hands-on tutorial on how to do it. Delicious!

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Stew: Hirschgulasch (Bavarian Venison Goulash) Recipe
Delicious, rich authentic Bavarian venison stew.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine German
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine German
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cut venison into large, uniform cubes; if the cubes are too small the meat will be dry and chewy.
  2. Dice the onions.
  3. Brown the venison in a large, heavy pot/Dutch oven with a little olive oil over medium-high heat on top the stove in small batches. Remove each batch to a bowl. Once it’s all browned, add all the venison back into the pot.
  4. Stir in the onions and tomato paste with a wooden spoon. Deglaze the pan by scraping the flavor bits off the bottom of the pan while stirring. The onions provide the moisture for the deglazing.
  5. Add thyme, marjoram, stock, juniper berries, bay leaves, lingonberry preserves and wine, stirring after adding each ingredient.
  6. After all the ingredients come to temperature, the stew should be gently simmering. Adjust the temperature to achieve this. Cover the pot and let simmer for one hour. If the simmer is just right, you should not have to stir the pot for the entire hour.
  7. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Dice the bacon and slice the mushrooms. Render the bacon in the skillet until crispy and brown. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are soft. Remove from heat.
  8. Fifteen minutes before the goulash is finished simmering (45 minutes after it started), stir the bacon and mushrooms into the pot. Replace the cover and continue simmering for 15 more minutes.
  9. Turn off the heat and add the crème fraîche to the goulash. Stir well. Taste and add salt, pepper or more lingonberry preserves, if necessary.
  10. Serve warm with noodles or Spätzle and a spoonful of lingonberry preserves on the side.
Recipe Notes

Juniper berries (Wacholderbeeren in German) are a staple of Bavarian cuisine, but if you can’t find them use a sprig of fresh rosemary, a shot of gin, or 2 extra bay leaves instead. Or simply omit the juniper berries entirely.

Use sour cream instead of crème fraîche, but sour cream is not as rich and is more tangy. Sour cream tends to curdle over heat, so be sure to remove goulash from the heat first before you add the sour cream.

Goulash is self-thickening, but if you want it thicker, add a slurry of 2 tablespoons flour mixed with ¾ cup water to the pot a few minutes before it’s done, while it’s still simmering. Cook it long enough afterward so that there is no floury taste.

This stew is tailored for venison, but you can use stew beef or chicken, too.

Serve over Spatzle noodles.

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