Last Updated on January 19, 2021
For a long time, I thought baking plant-based cookies like the famous German cinnamon stars and great taste just don't go together. How could they compete with a staggering number of different and mouth-watering traditional Christmas cookies?
Here in Germany, each family has their own favorite Christmas cookie recipes, its own distinctive taste, baking habits, and history. My mother-in-law bakes a huge variety of cookies, while I tend to bake only a few of our very favorites. But so far they were never clean for a good reason.
Especially at Christmas time, I prefer to follow my 80/20 approach to clean eating. The 20% is reserved for seldom indulgences like the seasonal gingerbread, walnut crescents or speculoos. With this relaxed approach to clean eating, baking healthy Christmas cookies never came into my mind.
How to sweeten the cookies
My opinion changed when I learned in a Vegan Masterclass course about the health benefits of date sugar. Since then date sugar (dried dates) including my homemade date paste are for me my sweeteners number one. They are all natural, containing high amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
How to make the sugar icing
If you don't have much time let me assure you…these Christmas stars work perfectly well without sugar coating. For a more authentic cinnamon star however you need a white sweetener for the icing. I have to admit that I haven't found a great plant-based solution yet.
For this recipe I've used Xylitol which is clean eating approved. The best icing concisteny you will get however if you use powdered sugar. With my 80/20 approach to clean eating I switch between the two options according to what I have actually in my pantry.
A super crunchy Christmas treat
What I didn't expect is that these cookies are really super crunchy, so better not to serve to people with weak teeth – don't tell me that I didn't warn you. Isn't the crunchiness something we totally enjoy when nibbling cookies?
A great fiber snack
Most of the ingredients can be called healthy or at least healthier than butter, sugar, white flour etc. you usually find in Christmas cookies.
When you snack on those Xmas treats you get a good portion of good fiber and valuable fats from almonds, you reap the numerous benefits of chia seeds and you profit of fiber-rich date sugar with a low GI that doesn't play havoc with your metabolic system.
Watch to make my recipe
Vegan and gluten-free cinnamon stars
A delicious and clean Christmas treat
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 8
- Total Time: 28
- Category: Cookies
- Cuisine: German
- Diet: Vegan
For the dough:
- 9 oz./250 grams ground almonds
- 3.6 oz./100 grams organic date sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 tablespoons date paste
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
For the icing:
-200 gr Xilitol
-2 tablespoons water
- Use a small bowl and mix chia seeds with 2 tablespoons of water.
- Let the chia mix soak in in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.
- Blend ground almonds, date sugar and cinnamon either in the food processor or with a hand mixer.
- Add date paste and Chia seed mix and blend again until it forms a sticky dough.
- Wrap cookie dough in plastic foil and let it sit in the fridge for approx. 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven at 340 F°/170°C.
- Roll out the dough between two baking papers using a rolling pin, always starting in the middle.
- Continue to roll away from you until it makes a 1/4″ (6 mm) sheet.
- Cut out stars or any other Christmas cookie shape you prefer.
- Place cookies on a baking sheet laid out with baking paper
- Bake for approx. 10 minutes at 340 F°/170°C.
- Watch them closely as they can burn quickly. Better to be on the safe side and remove them when they're slightly underdone.
- Allow to cooling down for 10 minutes before removing from baking sheet
- Transfer them to a cooling rack
- Combine Xilitol and water to a icing
- Cover the cookies with the icing using a toothpick
- To preserve crunchiness store them in airtight cookie containers
- Serving Size: 60
Keywords: cinnamon stars,
Weight loss and other challenges
Please indulge wisely if you are watching your weight. Ok, you save some butter or egg calories but with the almonds, date sugar and date paste these cinnamon stars still remain calorie powerhouses. Be aware that although date sugar is more natural than table sugar, it is similarly high in calorie content as regular sugar.
Still, I'm convinced that if you want to give clean and vegan Christmas treats a try, then this crunchy cookie recipe is a winner.
Alternative sweetener to date sugar
Coconut sugar has a low GI and tends to be a great sugar alternative not only for diabetics. On top of that, it contains small amounts of vitamins, mineral, and phytonutrients offering some health benefits table sugar cannot.
A lower glycemic index combined with a bit lower amounts of fructose turns coconut sugar into an acceptable occasional “proceed with caution” sweetener like honey or maple syrup. But nutrients aside it is only a slightly better alternative to table sugar and can challenge your blood sugar and liver in a similar way.