Friday 24 December 2010

Cinnamon Stars for Christmas

I felt very Christmassy last Sunday. I made Christmas biscuits while Sylvia ate breakfast. We headed down to Geelong to help decorate my parents’ Christmas tree with my family and then back to Melbourne for a Christmas potluck at Lisa’s. These biscuits were easy to whip up at the start of a busy day. Exactly what I needed.

Life just doesn’t seem to slow down at the moment. I hope I have made my last trip (of many) to the shops this morning. The tree is twinkling thanks to Sylvia who keeps demanding we “turn on” the lights. The pudding is in the fridge. I made fruit mince and panforte yesterday but still need to make more mince tarts and, of course, my Christmas nut roast. There are presents to wrap and packing to do before we go to Geelong tomorrow.

We helped to decorate mum and dad’s Christmas tree on the weekend. It was the usual chaos with ladders and tinsel and a lost star. Mum made pizzas and mince tarts and Nigella’s guiness gingerbread. Sylvia ate her first mince tart – one of my mum’s home made ones. She got three-quarters of the way through it, which was a pretty good effort for a first one.

We came home and had a little time to try (unsuccessfully) to feed Sylvia before heading out to Lisa’s Christmas Potluck. There was an overwhelming amount of dishes to fill my plate with. The savoury food that I tasted included Lisa’s cauliflower pie, Thai curry, fried rice, lentil slice, Toby’s mushroom tarragon pate (that I foolishly thought was eggplant in a moment of confused tastebuds), chilli non carne, roast potatoes (which Sylvia loved), mango rice salad. I have probably missed out on a few but it was a glorious spread.

When the desserts came, I was a bit more restrained and kept going back as I saw others enjoying or recommending treats. We had Cindy’s cute Christmas pudding bites, the GF pumpkin muffins, Anika’s white Christmas, chocolate crackles, and of course Sylvia had to have bikkies. I didn’t have the blue jelly or the vegan pav but now regret it as when will I next get the chance to eat such food. Sigh! I did try Kristy’s candy cane fudge. E was raving about it as we went home and I had a dream about it that night so it made quite an impact.

It was a lovely relaxed gathering. Veganator brought along a CD of Bob Dylan Christmas song to help us feel that little bit festive. Sylvia was scared to tears by Lisa’s little dog, Kimba, coming too near but was quite fascinated to watch Kimba bark ferociously (as only a tiny dog can) at guest dog Stumpy. I was quite glad to be at a vegan gathering rather than at home with the neighbour cooking meat on the barbecue, and Lisa’s is a nice short walk away!

But going home, we caught the start of the rain and were happy to be in watching the Midsomer Murder Christmas Special on the telly by the time it got really heavy. It has been an unseasonally cold December. Probably not cold compared to the snowy Northern Hemisphere but not the warm weather we expect in a Melbourne summer. However the sun is finally showing its face and we are headed for a pleasant Christmas Day of 28 C.

If you want a last minute Christmas gf vegan biscuit (or cookie) recipe, I could highly recommend these biscuits. The dough was surprisingly easy to handle and didn’t need to sit in the fridge. The final bikkies tasted like marzipan – not surprising given that the mixture was mainly ground almonds and sugar. Too sweet for my liking so I would reduce the sugar next time I make them but they were delicious.

Sylvia loved them and I confess that despite all the sugar, I have given them to her once or twice when I feel she hasn’t had much protein in her meal. They are from a German recipe so the proper name is Zimsterne. I made quite a few with my gingerbread cutter which is my smallest and appeals to Sylvia. I wondered if these might be called Zimherren.

Well I must push on and get myself organized for Christmas tomorrow. Wishing you a) Merry Christmas, b) all the best for the solistice and the coming of longer or shorter days, depending on which side of the equator you live, c) happy and healthy holidays, or d) all of the above.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Festive roast and punch
This time two years ago: Christmas Pudding – more lessons from a novice
This time three years ago: Christmas dinner for two

Cinnamon Stars (Zimsterne)
From Seitan is my Motor (in 2008)
makes about 30 cookies

1 tbsp ground linseed (flax seed)
2 tbsp water
1⅓ cups ground almonds
¾ cup icing sugar (confectioners or powdered sugar)
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp wheat flour or rice flour or gluten free flour mix
½ tbsp brown rice syrup (I used maple syrup)

Mix linseed (or flax seed) with water and set aside. Place dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Add brown rice syrup and linseed mixture. Mix until it comes together in a ball. It doesn’t look like much liquid but if you persevere, it will come together into very malleable pastry. Roll out the pastry thinly on a lightly floured board and cut out shapes. My gingerbread cutter is smaller than my star cutter so I made more gingerbread men to make it go further. Bake at 160 C for about 8 minutes or until just turning golden brown. Cool on tray.

UPDATE November 2016 - Also check out the updated recipe on Seitan is My Motor for these stars with aqua faba instead of linseed/flax.

On the stereo:
White Christmas: Bing Crosby


  1. Ahhh, so Sylvia and I have finally diverged in our tastes! No mince es for me, thank you very much :)

    Am definitely bookmarking this cookie recipe, though, as I love marzipan! Hopefully I'll remember to make it in tho post Christmas fug...

  2. I loved the cinnamon stars, such a great idea!

    Glad you and E enjoyed the fudge. I should have given you some to take home, it's wasting away in my fridge.

  3. wishing you a very happy christmas Johanna and a peaceful start to 2011 x

  4. They look lovely and I love the sound of candy cane fudge too! Merry Christmas and I hope that you have a festive and fun break :D

  5. Cinnamon Stars for Christmas sound lovely indeed. Do hope you all have a really good Christmas.

  6. These cookies were very delicious! Nice and chewy. I loved the stars the best!

  7. Sounds like such a great party! And I love your passing comment that it will be 28C on Christmas! (Actually, it already IS Christmas where you are--hope you had a great morning and got lots of wonderful presents!). Merry Christmas to you, E, Sylvia and Zinc. :) xo

  8. Merry Christmas! Sounds like you've had some lovely festivities already and more to come, I'm sure! These cookies look delicious...I love anything marzipan-flavored!

  9. Candy cane fudge? Yumm. Wish I had some of that today.

  10. Merry Christmas to you and your family Johanna.

  11. Hope you had a great Xmas Johanna. It's good to have a GF recipe for cinnamon biscuits tucked away in my memory for when it's needed, and these look superb. Your Xmas spread sounds superb. Hope Santa was good to you this year.

  12. Thanks Everyone for your Christmas greetings - hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too

    Thanks Hannah - would you consider mince pies if they didn't have peel or orange juice - mine don't have peel although there is some juice - but they have too much whiskey for sylvia! Enjoy the cookie recipe - it is ridiculously easy

    Thanks K - shame we couldn't help you out with your fudge but hope your family was able to

    Thanks Nic - festive greetings to you to

    Thanks Lorraine - keep the candy cane fudge for next year - it is excellent

    Thanks Choclette - maybe you could do a chocolate version of the stars :-)

    Thanks Lisa - I have bought a new smaller star cutter so maybe the next batch will be all stars

    Thanks Ricki - it didn't even reach 28 C so it is just as well we were eating inside

    Thanks Joanne - always love some ongoing festivities - and I am finding I am quite partial to marzipan too

    Thanks Maris - I could do with a piece now too

    Thanks Mangocheeks - merry christmas to you and family too

    Thanks Cakelaw - these bikkies are definitely a great gf treat - I think they would last well for presents too

  13. What an interesting cookie with no added fat! I like the little gingerbread men. I like the advent calendar you have! I haven't seen one like that before.


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