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Speculoos truffles and gluten-free cinnamon stars {Zimtsterne}

Recently I have been getting a lot of traffic for an old post. An really old post. With terrible pictures and links that don’t work anymore. And while the pictures may be awful, the recipes are great and still two of my favourites. That is why I want to update them today. They are Christmas recipes and I am aware that I am pushing the season very early this year. But you never know what will happen in December. I know me and I’ll probably post the next cookie recipes two days after Christmas. Plus, we already went to see a Christmas movie at the cinema yesterday and my kid is singing “Oh Tannenbaum” 24/7.

The old post I want to brush up here had a recipe for cinnamon stars (cookies) and speculoos truffles based on my recipe for speculoos spread (cookie butter). For this entry, I updated both the recipes and the pictures. There are corners of this blog which are such a building site and a few items definitely need a bit of remodeling.

Speculoos truffles and gluten-free cinnamon stars {Zimtsterne}

These gluten-free cinnamon stars are a very traditional and well-known German Christmas season cookie. They are in a way the elegant version of macaroons, because recipes always call for lots of meringue. The first time I posted this to the blog I winged it somehow. I made flax eggs and added rice syrup. At that time I thought I had ended up with a decent enough result.

That was way before we all discovered the magic baking properties of canned chickpea water aka aquafaba. And of course, if you make these cookies with aquafaba, they turn out absolutely perfect! They aren’t too crispy and even will soften after a day. Which is how I remember the original version. The only trick here is to whip up the aquafaba really thick. It should have almost the same texture as marshmallow fluff. To do this, I always use a pinch of guar gum. In Germany, guar gum is often available at health food stores whereas xanthan gum is much harder to find. If you can only find xanthan, you can use that instead. If you cannot find both of these or don’t want to use them, use half a teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar instead. That should do the trick.

You have to whip up the aquafaba in two steps: First you mix the liquid with guar gum (xanthan etc.) and beat it for 5 minutes until it has stiff peaks. I always use a handheld mixer for this. Then you add about 25 g (1/4 cup) of powdered sugar and whip until the mass is very thick and looks similar to the marshmallow fluff on of the pictures here. It needs a solid texture, so it will hold all the ground nuts you have to mix in later.

The second recipe I am updating today is a chocolate candy made from speculoos spread (biscoff spread or cookie butter). Back in 2009 I was one of the first who made a homemade version for the at that time trending spread. It is easily made at home from the popular Lotus (Biscoff) caramel cookies (speculoos) but I often use traditional German spekulatius cookies.

Speculoos truffles and gluten-free cinnamon stars {Zimtsterne}

When I made this the first time I used traditional ingredients that were quite similar to those found on the package of a jar of speculoos spread. One of the ingredients was refined coconut oil. I still use this fat a lot but I know that some people cannot tolerate it very well. So I do now have an updated version made with nut butter. You should probably try both of today’s recipes, but the speculoos truffles are very addictive. I love to give them as a present, too. Also, if you’re going to watch the US election tomorrow, you might want some food helping you deal with all the stress.

Spekulatiuspralinen | Speculoos Truffles


Cinnamon Stars // Speculoos Truffles

46 cookies and 15 truffles


Cinnamon Stars
60 ml (1/4 cup) aquafaba
1/4 teaspoon guar gum (or xanthan)
225 g (3 cups) ground nuts (almonds or hazelnuts)
25 g (1/4 cup) plus 50 g (1/2 cup) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground clementine peel or lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the frosting:
100 g (1 cup) powdered sugar
5-6 teaspoons lemon juice
Speculoos Truffles
150 g spekulatius cookies (or similar)
1 tablespoon agave nectar
100 g (1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup) cashew or almond butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
150 g melted chocolate for dipping


To make the cinnamon stars

Place aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas) and guar gum in a narrow bowl.

With a handheld mixer whip for 5 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.

Add 25 g powdered sugar and whip for another 2 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture resembles thick marshmallow fluff or very stiff whipped cream.

Place remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Add whipped aquafaba and use a spatula to fold it into the nut mixture. This will take one or two minutes. Your dough will be stiff and sticky.

Preheat the oven to 150°C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the cinnamon star dough out 1/2 cm thick) between two sheets of plastic wrap.

Cut out as many cookies as possible.

Form the dough scraps into a ball, roll out again and cut out more cookies until no dough is left.

Place on a baking sheet. Bake one sheet at a time for 11 minutes or until the bottoms are only slightly browned.

Let cool on a cookie rack.

To make the frosting, place powdered sugar in a small bowl and add lemon juice by the teaspoon. You'll want a stiff frosting that can be spread but will not drip off your cookies.

Dip the cookies upside down into the frosting and let dry on a cookie sheet.

Store in an airtight container. The cookies will soften after a day.

To make the speculoos truffles

Use a food processor to grind your cookies into a very fine meal.

Place in a bowl and add remaining ingredients.

Stir until everything is combined well.

Place in the fridge for about an hour.

Melt your dipping chocolate and have a piece of parchment ready.

Remove your spread from the fridge and use a teaspoon to scoop out a portion of the spread.

You can form it into balls or shape it only roughly.

Dip into the melted chocolate and let dry on a piece of parchment paper.

Store in the fridge.





Hazelnut Raisin Snack Balls

November is finally here which is this years Vegan Month of Food. I decided on a topic I am calling Warming Winter Meals and for my first post I don’t really have a meal.  But a warming snack. It contains dried fruits and nuts, which are both foods I do associate with winter.

These nut and fruit based balls are very, very easy to make. All you have to do is to chop them up in a food processor until they form a sticky mass. We often make this recipe, especially since in its basic version, it is much cheaper than the so called raw fruit snacks that you can find at health food stores.

For this blog post, I decided to dress our basic version up a bit. I have to admit that I was already thinking of holiday season here and the countless hours I spend making truffles every year. This is a really quick alternative. Mind you, it’s not the same as a rich chocolate ball, but if you cover these snacks in two kinds of chocolate and dust them with fancy dried fruit powder, they can make an awesome gift, too.

Hazelnut Raisin Snack Balls #vgnmf16 #vegan

I made two versions: One is covered in my favourite couverture made by the Austrian company Zotter. They have a bar made with powdered soy milk that I love. It has a very unique taste and its sweetness and mouthfeel is comparable to milk chocolate. On top of that chocolate I put some aronia berry powder. For that I simply placed some dried aronia berries in a small coffee grinder and pulverised them. (Substitutes for the aronia berries: dried blueberries.)

dried aronia berries

powdered dried aronia berries

Aronia berries are the German version of acai or whatever the newest superfood craze is called. You’ll find tons and tons of information on how healthy they are. Information that is given to you by the same companies that market those berries. I don’t think they are better than your average berry though. And even if, so what? Plant food is plant food and most of it is good for you. Ignoring all that superfood voodoo aronia berries are still an interesting ingredient, because, although native in Northern America, they grow here in Saxony. These almost black berries are very tart when fresh. And I just love tart berries. If you dry them though, there’s only a hint of their sour flavour left. They pair wonderful with the chocolate I chose for my dried fruit balls.

For the second version, I used a white chocolate coating and powdered, dried strawberries. White chocolate and strawberry is my favourite flavour combination!  I made the strawberry powder myself during summer. And since strawberries are completely out of season right now, you can eather buy freeze-dried strawberries and pulverise them in a coffee grinder. Or you can make your own dried strawberries from frozen fruit.

Hazelnut Raisin Snack Balls #vgnmf16 #vegan

For that you’ll need about 300 g frozen strawberries. Line two baking sheets with parchement paper and preheat the oven to 100°C. Cut the frozen strawberries (don’t thaw them) into 2 mm thick pieces and place them on the baking sheets. Bake them for 1 hour. You don’t want to close the oven door completely during this time, there should be a tiny gap left. For that tuck the handle of a wooden cooking spoon between door and oven. After one hour carefully turn the strawberry slices over and dry them for another hour. After this second hour you should turn them one more time and dry them for another hour. This time you can close the door. Let them cool completely before transferring them to airtight jars. Pulverise when needed.

Hazelnut Raisin Snack Balls


100 g hazelnuts
100 g raisins
50 g desiccated coconut
50 g chestnut spread or apple butter
4 heaping teaspoons powdered strawberries
130 g Zotter soy 40% couverture or semisweet chocolate
120 white chocolate
15 g cocoa butter
aronia berry powder for dusting
strawberry powder for dusting


Place hazelnuts in a food processor and grind into a powder.

Add raisins, coconut, chestnut spread, and strawberry powder.

Process until the raisins are chopped down and the mixture is sticky.

Divide the mixture into 19 small portions, 15 g each and roll into balls.

Melt the soy couverture in a double boiler.

Dip the half of the balls in chocolate.

Use a fork to remove the balls from the chocolate and transfer to a piece of parchment.

Sprinkle with aronia berry powder.

Combine white chocolate and cocoa butter and melt in a double boiler as well.

Dip the remaining balls in white chocolate, transfer to the parchment paper and sprinkle with strawberry powder.

Let cool completely.

Store at room temperature.


If you have melted leftover dipping chocolate, pour it into little ice cube moulds and store for another use.






easy vegan caramels | seitanismymotor.com

Easy vegan caramels

by Mihl

A reader recently asked me, if my dulce de leche recipe could be turned into candy. I told her that I hadn’t tried it and it probably wouldn’t work. The ratio of liquid to sugar is too high. After I got this question I was intrigued and looked up a couple of recipes for vegan caramels. Most of them called for at least one or two ingredients I never have on hand or that are very hard to find in Germany (like corn syrup). Then I found a really simple one for regular caramels made with dairy cream. It only called for three things: sugar, water, and cream. No butter or corn syrup required. It also looked like those regular candies were very easy to veganise. And they were!

homemade vegan marshmallows | seitanismymotor.com

Homemade Vegan Marshmallows

by Mihl

homemade vegan marshmallows | seitanismymotor.com

Edited 4/30/2015: This post now contains an updated version of my recipe. A couple of readers had some trouble with the first version and I made adaptions according to their suggestions. I hope this solves any problems.

It’s been eight years now since I went vegan. It’s also been eight years since I started this blog. That is a reason to celebrate, don’t you think? But technically I am not even allowed to dance today. I am going to do it anyway. And eating a ton of these soft, fluffy, and sticky blog anniversary celebration marshmallows that melt the moment I pop them into my mouth. (After eight years I am allowed to use these clichés, don’t you think?) Anniversary miracle! Oh, wait. This is not a miracle. I cannot claim much of this idea for myself: The recipe is based on chickpea brine used as egg replacer. I found that idea here. I honestly would not have thought that it would be possible to follow a regular marshmallow recipe and simply replace the eggs with chickpea brine and the gelatin with agar. But it worked and so I used David Lebovitz’s recipe and modified it slightly. I also got a lot of helpful tips from this recipe for vegan marshmallows, especially the idea to boil the agar before adding it to the remaining ingredients. (Gelatin is usually soaked but not boiled.)

I have not had many marshmallows in my life. I do like to buy a package of Dandies from time to time though and when I compare my version to the storebought one, the biggest difference is that mine are softer and moister. They have a light and creamy mousse like texture. And still you can cut them into all kinds of shapes. If you have some egg or bunny cutters around, these would make some gorgeous Easter treats as well! And you can toast them.

A couple of recipe notes: 1. For this recipe you have to work with hot sugar syrup. Make sure all your equipment is heat proof. I only have a handheld mixer, but a stand mixer would be easier to work with. The recipe is a bit involved and you have to do a couple of things at the same time, so make sure you have everything in place. If you are new to baking and cooking maybe ask somebody to help you. 2. This recipe calls for syrup. I used a flavoured sugar syrup that is a mixture of inverted sugar syrup and glucose syrup. Golden syrup (lys sirup in Scandinavia) or light corn syrup should be fine, too. Please don’t use agave nectar, coconut nectar, brown rice syrups or similar “natural” syrups. They don’t contain the right amount of glucose. In this case a processed syrup (like corn) is the way to go.

toasted vegan marshmallows | seitanismymotor.com

Homemade Vegan Marshmallows


For the marshmallows
120 ml (1/2 cup) plus 60 ml (1/4 cup) water
2 teaspoons agar powder
200 g (1 cup) sugar
100 g (1/3 cup) syrup (see notes above)
120 ml (1/2 cup) chickpea brine from a can
1/2 teaspoon guar gum (or xanthan)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For dusting
100 g (1 cup) powdered sugar
120 g (1 cup) corn starch


Place 120 ml (1/2 cup) of water in a small saucepan and add agar powder. Dissolve and set aside.

Combine sugar, syrup, and remaining water in another small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer.

Bring to a boil and cook for about 6 minutes over high heat until the mixture reaches 120°C (248°F).

Bring the agar mixture to a boil, cook for one minute while stirring and remove from heat.

While the syrup is still boiling combine chickpea brine, guar gum, and lemon juice in a heatproof bowl. Beat for about two minutes, then add vanilla and beat for another two minutes or until the mixture is very stiff.

Very carefully pour the hot syrup into the chickpea brine mixture while still beating. The mixture should not deflate but stay fluffy.

Continue to beat for two minutes until everything is mixed well.

Add agar mixture and beat for another five minutes or until the bowl has cooled down. The batter should stay fluffy, and beating should produce firmer and firmer ribbons. The mixture should be stiff and keep it's shape if you remove the beaters.

Sift together powdered sugar and starch.

Dust a rectangular pan (18 x 28 cm or 7 x 11 inch - alternatively use a 8 x 8 inch square pan) with one third of the starch and sugar mixture. Make sure the whole bottom is covered.

Carefully pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan.

Let cool for two hours (at room temperature, not in the fridge!) or until set.

Cover with more starch and sugar and cut into small squares or use your favourite cookie cutter.

Generously roll in remaining powdered sugar mixture to avoid stickyness.

Place on a baking sheet and let dry for at least 24 hours. When they are dry on the outside they are ready to be store in an airtight container.


You can also keep them in their pan and only cut off the amount you need. That way they don't get sticky as easily. Make sure to still sprinke the top with a generous amount of powdered sugar and cornstach!


homemade vegan marshmallows | seitanismymotor.com

When I removed the beaters the marshmallow mixture kept its shape exactly like this until I poured it into the pan. This is how yours should look like as well.

homemade vegan marshmallows | seitanismymotor.com

Roll the marshmallows in the sugar and starch mixture and let them air dry for 24 hours. (Place them on a sheet in a single layer.) Then store them in an airtight container. If they are still sticky after 24 hours, dust them with more sugar and starch and dry for another 24 hours.

homemade vegan marshmallows | seitanismymotor.com


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