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Vegan cinnamon stars


Makes about 40

Inspired by a recent trip to Berlin, these cinnamon stars or Zimtsterne are a German Christmas tradition. The recipe has been veganised from the Konditor and Cook recipe book.

Ingredients

about 150ml of aqua faba (the water from one tin of cooked chickpeas, unsalted)

pinch of salt

1 tbsp lemon juice

250g icing sugar

grated zest of a half a lemon (unwaxed)

175g ground almonds, plus extra

75g mixed peel, very finely chopped or whizzed up in a food processor

2 tsp ground cinnamon

pinch of cloves

Place the aqua faba in a small saucepan and simmer until it has reduced to 70ml. Pour it into a very clean metal or glass mixing bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to cool. Refrigerate overnight.

Add the salt and lemon juice to the reduced aqua faba and start beating with an electric whisk. Gradually add the icing sugar, beating until you have a thick meringue. Transfer about a third of the meringue into a separate bowl and set aside.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the remaining meringue and mix to form a firm dough. Place a sheet of baking parchment on your work surface and dust with ground almonds. Roll out the dough to about 8mm thickness and using a palette knife spread some of the reserved meringue on top in a thin layer. Place the baking parchment and dough onto a baking sheet and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Remove the tray from the freezer and cut out stars with a small star-shaped cutter or a 5cm klipp-klapp cutter. It helps if you dip the cutter in water, then shake off excess water, each time you cut a star. Remove each star from the cutter by pushing it up and out, taking care not to touch the wet meringue. If you have a klipp-klapp cutter, the hinge will release the star for you. Place the stars on a baking tray lined with baking parchment.

Gather up the offcuts and add some more ground almonds as the dough will now be wetter. Roll this out, cover with more reserved meringue, chill and cut out more stars until you have used up all the dough. If there is no more meringue to go on top, bake them plain and decorate with chocolate or chocolate icing (recipe below).

Heat the oven to 200oC and put the stars on the lowest shelf. Bake for about 7 minutes – the meringue should stay white with a little browning around the edges. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray. These will keep in an airtight tin for several weeks.

Chocolate icing (optional)

75g icing sugar

4 tsp cocoa powder

10g coconut butter (this is different from coconut oil)

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of hot water. Mix to a smooth paste. Melt the coconut better and mix into the icing. If it is too stiff to dip the cookies into, add a little more hot water.

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