Made with chocolate, coffee, and a hazelnut-mascarpone filling, these mocha crinkle cookie sandwiches are the ultimate Christmas treat. They have been deemed a “more dank Oreo”, if that’s your thing.
Perfect for holiday parties and potlucks, these pumpkin whoopie pies are made with pillow-y pumpkin cookies and a spicy Masala chai buttercream. Oh, and they take less than an hour to make!
I’m just going to start off this entire post with the disclaimer that this recipe for zimtsterne is absolutely not traditional. I’ve been known around these parts to bastardize traditional recipes, such as when I baked a “New York” cheesecake with mascarpone + amaretto or when I made tater tot poutine. And if there’s one thing I’ve noticed about the internet, it’s that people get actually upset when you don’t make a recipe exactly like their recipe. It’s the precise reason that I probably will never post a recipe for goulash or huevos rancheros, and why I keep disclaimers on these posts in the first place. But I digress…this is about cookies.
Ever since I went to Germany, I’ve been obsessed with Germany. Like, all I think of is Five Elephant and eating schnitzel with fries + mayo. And then yesterday, I went to a local bakery in town, Bavarian World, and honest to god it’s probably one of my favorite places in Reno. On one side, there’s a bakery/market that has absolutely the best baklava and pretzel rolls, and pecan cakes. And then on the other side is a restaurant that I’ve never eaten at, but I have secret dreams of going on a date there Fast Times at Ridgemont High style. While I was in line waiting to buy my pretzel rolls and roast beef for Christmas-day lunch, I saw a package of zimtsterne, a star-shaped cinnamon cookie, which I had never heard of before, but then I got really excited (!!!) because I literally stayed up the night before trying to think of a cookie I could make with pistachios. And even though zimtsterne is usually made with almonds, I am having a love affair with pistachios almost always, so I figured I could add those too. Yay Bavarian World!!!
This past week, I’ve had approximately three or four different Christmas parties to attend, and I am partied tf out. I have spent two too many mornings hugging a Gatorade and popping Ibeuprofen for my headache after an evening of Moscow Mules and late-night tacos. Which is why I spent my Friday night listening to She & Him Christmas albums and making this cookie dough. And it was perfect, because it has to chill for at least a few hours, and it was perfectly chilly by the time I woke up to bake them this morning! Traditionally these cookies are made with a meringue, but there are two ways you can go about things:
1. If you’re a sinner, you can just add the egg whites straight to the dough (hi), which yields a denser, chewier cookie.
2. If you’re a traditionalist, you can whip up a meringue and fold the nut mixture into the meringue which will result in a cookie reminiscent of a macaron.
Out of sheer laziness, and because the last time I whipped egg whites ended in an epic failure, I went with the “adding the egg whites” option, and I love that the texture is somewhat biscuit-y and chewy. However, next time I’m going to try it the meringue way, because I also love airy cookies.
Now, if I can just somehow get myself back to Germany ASAP I promise to try real-life, traditional, Christmasy zimtsterne. Scout’s honor.
Makes 28 two-inch cookies
100 g ground, unsalted pistachios (about 1 c. whole)
200 g ground, unsalted almonds (about 2 c. whole)
100 g (about 1/2 c.) powdered sugar
50 g (1/3 c.) flour
2.5 g (1 tsp.) cinnamon
Zest of 1/2 orange
4.2 g (1 tsp.) vanilla extract
2 egg whites
200 g (about 1 c.) powdered sugar
30 g (2 Tbs.) orange juice
30 g (2 Tbs.) milk
2 g (1/2 tsp.) vanilla extract
In a food processor, combine pistachios and almonds. Pulse until they are finely ground, but be careful not to grind them too much, or they’ll turn into a nut butter! In a bowl, combine the ground nuts, powdered sugar, flour, cinnamon, and orange zest. Stir in the vanilla extract and egg whites until a crumbly dough forms*. Using your hands, knead until everything is mixed together and the dough forms. Flatten, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill at least an hour, but you can make it up to 2 days in advance.
Preheat oven to 350* F (170* C). After the dough has chilled, roll it on a powdered-sugar surface until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Using a star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out about 28 cookies, re-rolling as necessary. I like to dip the cookie cutter in powdered sugar before cutting, because it prevents sticking. Line on a greased baking sheet. They can be pretty close together, because they don’t puff up much. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the edges are very lightly browned. Let cool completely.
*Alternatively, for airy cookies, you can whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the dry mixture into the egg whites, add the vanilla, and finish the recipe as directed.
While the cookies are baking, combine the remaining powdered sugar with the orange juice, milk, and vanilla. I start with 1 Tbs. each of orange juice and milk and add more liquid to get my desired consistency of icing. After the cookies have cooled, dip each one in the glaze. Add sprinkles if desired! Let harden, and keep stored in tupperware.
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: I’ll Be Home for Christmas by She & Him
Every once in a while, I actually get my life together enough to provide a seasonal recipe before the season actually ends. Most of time, I end up making the recipe, taking about half the pictures, running out of time to finish taking the rest of the pictures, and decide I will keep them around until the next year when I can post that recipe. And by the time the season rolls around again, I a. forget about it completely, b. have decided the recipe needs to be improved, or c. hate the pictures I’ve taken from the year before.
And the cycle continues.
But! This year, I was actually responsible and got it all done, and now we have a springtime cookie recipe! Eeee! Also, not even kidding, I was able to get a couple of branches of the springtime cherry trees flowering a mere two. days. before they turned into dark purple leaves. It was meant to be.
These cherry macaroons were loosely inspired by smitten kitchen’s raspberry macaroons, which are 10/10, but I was looking for something a little different that had more of a “spring” vibe. I always think of cherries when spring rolls around, because the cherry trees bloom like crazy around Reno once it hits March. We also have these absolutely gorgeous trees that bloom little white flowers (as seen in a post from last year), and I absolutely loooove them, except I just learnt a dirty little nickname for them (prompted by a certain smell they give off) that I will keep off my
family-friendly PG-13 blog, but let’s just say it rhymes with sum-trees *insert blushing-face emoji*. If you really need more information, there’s a very entertaining article about it here.
The more you know. I guess that’s what they mean when they say “Spring is in the air!”. Thanks internet!
But anyways, is this really a topic we should be discussing in the presence of innocent, delicate, spring-time cookies that summon images of blossoms, bunnies, and little chickies popping out of eggs? No. But it is me after all, and this is just the kind of thing we can expect on SSL.
One of my favorite aspects of these macaroons is that they are not quite as crackly as most macaroons I have tried in the past. Luckily for us, Cooks Illustrated solved all of our coconuty-problems with one simple solution: just puree the coconut in a food processor! Yay! Also, I loooove that I don’t have to whip egg whites for 20 minutes, which is traditional in most macaroon recipes. so. much. easier!
Lastly, while I think this is the perfect recipe for Easter-fun, I also just discovered that this is a kosher-approved cookie for my friendies celebrating Passover! Macaroons for all!
Oh wait, P.S. I highly recommend drizzling some of these with chocolate and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios. I used semi-sweet, but white chocolate or milk chocolate would work too!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: The Next Time Around by Little Joy
I’ve spent the last couple of days not even realizing that it’s September. Mentally, I have been completely checked out, which has been rudely unhelpful considering I just started my senior year of college this past Monday. The most surprising aspect of this scenario is that a mere 2 1/2ish months ago, I was in complete denial that I was almost done with the college portion of my life. Where did the time go?! Wasn’t I supposed to cherish this more? Get more involved? How are my 20s going this fast? SOS.
However, the closer I get to graduation, the more I realize the wonderful things ahead of me. Traveling around Europe. Getting a dog. Interviewing for my first big girl job. Getting said big girl job. Buying my first house. Opening up my coffee shop. Hopefully eventually getting married, which I’ve heard can sometimes be fun. Putting things into those perspectives can be really enlightening, especially when they’re looked at from a broad, futuristic viewpoint. It’s not that I necessarily expect every single one of those things to happen (or at least when I expect them to), but I love having future accomplishments or events to look forward to. Because, as far as I’m concerned, every Millennials’ goal should be to plan, plan, plan – but also, be flexible. Plan that trip to Thailand! Take that class on how to make perfect bread! Finish writing all those songs you’ve been stumbling over for months! And yes, while these are things that I would like to do, everyone should have their own goals, and hopefully with time, everything uncontrollable will fall into place.
And if I am totally wrong about all of this, please do not tell me, because I like to be
If I have not yet mentioned this a thousand times in the past, baking is one of many outlets I use to help relieve stress when I’m in the midst of school and work busyness. Along with playing instruments, I’m usually baking if I have a day off on the weekend. Sometimes, I tackle more difficult or time consuming projects like cinnamon rolls or strawberry galettes with homemade crust, but other times, I like to stick to something that can be made super easily! Usually in those times, I make my favorite 15 minute brownie recipe or chocolate chip cookies.
Chocolate chip cookies are one of my favorites, which is pretty much a given, because they’re essentially everyones’ favorite. Since they’re everyones’ favorite, everyone also has their favorite recipe. If you scour the internet, it’s filled to the brim with a million “Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever” recipes. That market is saturated, folks. However, this recipe is one that I have adapted from the original Nestle Tollhouse recipe, and I think it’s absolutely perfect. If you watch Friends, you know what I mean.
As for the butterscotch chips, I’m not sure when I really became obsessed. I don’t know that I’ve necessarily had anything that was true “butterscotch” flavor, but one time I had some butterscotch chip cookies, and I thought they were amazing. With that said, I always love classic chocolate chip cookies the best. Sometimes, I just want a little bit more fun, and that’s when butterscotch gets added to the mix (literally). As for my recipe, I have made slight adjustments that fit with my taste preferences over the years , but you can use the original Nestle recipe if you prefer. You can also use all chocolate chips in my adjusted recipe if you like that better than butterscotch!
*Recipe Notes: 1. I live at a higher altitude, so I use 2 1/2 c. of flour to stabilize the cookie dough a little more. If you live at sea-level, you can use 2 1/4 c. like the original recipe, or you can use 2 1/2 for a little bit of a thicker, chewier cookie. The rest of the ingredients will work at both sea-level and high-altitude. 2. I add the cornstarch, which makes the cookies a little bit softer, but it is not necessary if you do not have it at home.
Have a beautiful weekend ♥
XO Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: Will I Come by King Krule
Picking a Valentine’s Day recipe was more of a debacle then I ever thought imaginable. To a normal person that doesn’t spend their days thinking about food or clothes, this sounds absolutely crazy, but for me, that’s pretty much my life. Valentine’s Day recipes to me is creme brulee, chocolate lava cakes, maybe macarons if you want to get cute. Valentine’s Day to Pinterest=pink, pink, pink, sprinkles, pink. Since I was wanting to make something for my friends, I decided creme brulee might be a little too romantic, but I also don’t want to poison my friends with 1/4 cup of pink food coloring. Then I thought of chocolate covered strawberries, because they’re probably one of my favorite things ever, but strawberries aren’t in season yet.
Being an adult is hard )-:
All of a sudden, I realized I was completely overthinking every decision in my life (the usual), when I came across a picture of M&M cookies while paging through recipes. And then I found a bag of V-day colored M&Ms while strolling through the grocery store. Game over.
I think, in the end, my ultimate goal was just to go back to elementary school V-Days, because those were fun as hell. What happened to tissue boxes covered in crepe paper and cupid stickers that your friends would put little cards and candies in? That was the coolest. Since now I’m old enough to safely use an oven (debatable), I can make cute little cookies for Galentine’s Day and still celebrate the friendship aspect of the holiday.
Valentine’s Day has always been something that I thought was incredibly over done in movies and TV shows (seriously, have you seen the movie Valentine’s Day? I accidentally saw it last night, and it was the worst), but I love fun, laid-back, romantic V-Days with my SO ♥♥♥ I think everyone gets so busy that they sometimes forget to appreciate their loved ones, but it’s totally important to take time for a date-night (or family night, or friends night) whether it’s on Valentine’s Day or any other day of the year.
I hope you have a super cool V-Day with your special human, family, friends, fur babies, and/or yourself.
*Song of the Day: I’ll Try Anything Once by The Strokes*
Times my family uses my great grandmother’s china: 1. When I’m in town and pull it out of the cabinet with the upmost precision so I can take pretty, feminine pictures of cookies delicately sprinkled with powdered sugar. 2. For a holiday about once ever four years when my mom doesn’t talk herself out of using the plates, because they have to be handwashed. Other than that, they essentially sit in little boxes, covered in bubbly plastic wrap stacked neatly on top of one another. I’d like to think that someday I will have a fancy Alice in Wonderland themed tea party or host an extravagant ball that requires black ties and antique, fragile plates laced with gold. But for now, they’re the host of my grandma’s crumbly butter cookies that are filled with walnuts and literally melt while you eat them.
I love these cookies, because they’re extra easy, only six ingredients, and it makes lots of cookies to gift to your neighbors and coworkers. My family has been making these cookies for as long as I can remember, although, if we’re being honest, I got all creative and added the almond extract. I really think it adds extra flavor to these cookies, but you can also leave it out if you want simpler, more vanilla-flavored cookies or if you just don’t have almond extract laying around.
On the other hand, you could also go crazy with these cookies and add whatever you have laying around your kitchen. Dried fruits, nuts, citrus zest, cocoa powder, vanilla bean, etc. The cookies are so versatile that you could get extra creative and add some matcha powder or lavender buds or even dip them in chocolate. If you don’t have time to bake, these cookies are the effortless, buttery, icebox cookies your kitchen needs right now.
Song of the Day: Everlasting Arms by Vampire Weekend
Merry Christmas Eve my lovely readers!
I hope your Christmas Eve (and Christmas) are beautiful and I hope you get to drink lots of wine. Or eggnog if that’s your thing.
I really recommend the wine…
These cookies are really special ♥
They have tons of cranberries and white chocolate in them, and I promise you, they do not taste like raisins.
Raisins=no but craisins=yes.
Especially with white chocolate in oatmeal cookies.
When I was really little, and my mom and one of her best friends (whose recipe this is) would make the oatmeal cookies around Christmas time. And I would watch. And color my coloring books. And help when they would let me. These cookies were always one of my favorites, but my dad’s favorite is chocolate chip, and he would normally win the cookie battle when my mom asked, “What kind of cookies should I make?”. Anyway, this year I decided to make them and add the white chocolate and cranberries, since it’s Christmas and all.
I’ll be taking a blogging break tomorrow, but I want to leave you with a few more recipes in case you want to make some last minute cookies tomorrow, or even After Christmas cookies!
(After Christmas cookies are definitely a thing).
1 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar–packed
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
3 1/2 c. oats
1 c. white chocolate chips
1/2 c. dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 375* F. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Cream butter, sugars, and pudding together in a separate bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in oats, white chocolate chips, and cranberries. Scoop in to 1 inch balls and bake for 10-12 minutes. They will seem very soft, so let them cool slightly on the baking sheet before removing. Enjoy!
I just love how pretty and festive they are, plus they’re sooo good.
Have a beautiful, wonderful, amazing Christmas.
Song of the Day: I’ll Be Home for Christmas–She & Him
This is the first time I have left the kitchen all day. Literally, I have been in the kitchen since I woke up this morning.
(Granted, I slept in til 10:30, but that is irrelevant).
Every single year my mom makes this whole big deal about how “we’re not doing any holiday baking this year!”
And then I say, “Hahaha okay, if you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen baking cookies” (Because baking around the holidays is just a thing. It’s the only time you can eat as much as you want and blame it on a holiday…?!?!)
We then proceed to make about 100 more baked goods, because once you start, you can’t stop. Luckily, we have a good compilation of holiday recipes going on.
These orange cookies are one of my family’s favorite recipes. It’s my grandma’s recipe, and the family always gets excited when these are around. We make them for all occasions, but I thought they’d be good for Christmas since oranges are a winter fruit (although I always associate them as summer-y?)
They pretty much taste just like cupcake tops with sticky, melty icing, which would normally be my worst nightmare, but when something is this good, exceptions can be made.
Thanks to Grandma for passing this recipe along.
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 c. shortening
1 c. buttermilk
1 scant tsp. baking soda, dissolved in buttermilk
1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Grated rind of 1 orange
Juice of 1/2-1 orange (about 1/2 cup)
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350* F. Cream the shortening and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in buttermilk, orange rind, orange juice, and vanilla. Add flour, salt, and baking powder until smooth. Drop by the spoonful on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. They will seem too soft and will dent if you press them in, but they will be done and slightly browned on the bottom. Frost with icing.
3 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 Tbs. butter, softened
3 Tbs. orange juice
1 Tbs. orange rind
1-2 Tbs. milk, or enough to desired consistency
Mix ingredients together with a mixer until desired consistency. Frost slightly warm cookies with icing and let it harden before stacking and storing!
To make them more Christmas-y you could even add dried cranberries! That might be my project next year…
Keep an eye out for more holiday recipes in the next few days!
Song of the Day: This Girl’s in Love with You (cover)–She & Him