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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.






vegane schokokuesse | seitanismymotor.com

Since my last post I have been experimenting a lot with turning chickpea brine into different kinds of egg white based things. All these years there has been a cheap and easy alternative to eggs and egg replacers and most of us didn’t know about it. I still think this is the most amazing food and baking related thing I ever heard about. So while I was determined to come up with a vegan macaron recipe, a couple of my German readers asked for a recipe for schokokuesse (chocolate kisses). And yes, why not?

A schokokuss is a pile of marshmallow fluff or soft (unbaked) meringue that sits on a thin wafer and is covered in chocolate. They are similar to mallomars, but taller, looking like a bowler hat without the rim. In Denmark a very similar treat is called flødeboller (cream buns). The meringue or marshmallow fluff is piped onto a cookie or a disk of marzipan and then covered in chocolate. In Germany schokokuesse are very popular for children’s birthday parties, where they are used for eating contests: The kids are not allowed to use their hands while eating a schokokuss and the person who eats the fastest wins. The best part of this being the kid’s pictures, of course.

If you have never had a schokokuss or a flødebolle I must warn you though. When I ate one yesterday I was remembered how sweet and rich they are. Even though I have a massive sweet tooth I can’t eat more than one at a time. That’s why I decided to keep the yield reasonable here. The recipe makes about 7-8 schokokuesse, which can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a maximum of two days. Although these meringue treats are usually made with gelatin, I based my recipe on a version that did not call for a gelling agent. It is easier this way but since I was working with chickpea brine instead of egg whites, the result wasn’t as stiff and mousse like as the omni version. They do keep their shape perfectly but the texture of these vegan schokokuesse is a bit softer. It’s like whipped cream that is not perfectly stiff yet. To me it was close enough though, especially because they taste exactly like an egg white and gelatin based version – as far as I can remember. And F can confirm that these treats are perfect for any kind of birthday party eating contest: “Mum, if you eat this, the filling squeezes out and it’s all over your face!” Yup, quite true.

 vegan flødeboller | seitanismymotor.com

 A couple of notes: Usually schokokuesse are made with thin round wafers. I didn’t have those on hand, so I used baking wafers with a diameter of 50 mm. If you cannot find those, you can use any kind of thin wafer or cookie as an alternative.

This recipe uses hot sugar syrup that is poured into the chickpea meringue. Use heatproof equipment (bowl and whisk attachments) and work very carefully so that you don’t burn yourself. I used a handheld mixer for this but if you have a stand mixer, go for it, it’s probably better.

vegane schokokuesse | seitanismymotor.com

Vegan Flødeboller (Soft Marshmallow Treats)

7-8 marshmallow treats


60 ml (1/4 cup) chickpea brine from a can
1/4 teaspoon guar gum
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/8 teaspoon ground vanilla
125 g (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar
1 tablespoon water
7-8 baking wafers or thin round cookies
150 g (5.3 oz) dark chocolate
1 tablespoon refined coconut oil


To make the filling, combine chickpea brine and guar gum in a tall and narrow heatproof bowl and whip with a handheld blender for 2 minutes.

Add cream of tartar or lemon juice and vanilla and whip for another 5 minutes or until them mixture is very stiff.

Set aside.

Combine sugar and water in a small pot and slowly bring to a boil, while stirring constantly. Cook into a syrup over high heat for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat

Briefly whip the chickpea mixture up again.

Now carefully pour the hot sugar syrup in while still whipping. Make sure your bowl is very steady and take care not to burn yourself. (If you have a stand mixer it's probably better for this step than a handheld one.)

Whip until everything is well combined.

Place 7-8 baking wafers or thin cookies (about 50 mm in diameter) on a piece of parchment paper.

Scoop the meringue mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe a generous amount on top of a wafer. (see picture)

To make the chocolate coating, finely chop the chocolate. Combine with the coconut oil and melt in a water bath.

Use a spoon to pour the chocolate over the marshmallow treats. Make sure not to miss a spot.

Let rest for 5 minutes then use a dipping fork or a very thin spatula to transfer to a cookie rack.

Move every 10 minutes or so so that the chocolate doesn't stick to the rack. Let dry completely.


vegan flødeboller | seitanismymotor.com

P.S. Charis from Floral Frosting came up with an amazing looking recipe for vegan macarons. Check it out here!

Mini Coconut Chocolate Cubes

coconut cubes

Our latest addiction is coconut butter. F. loves it stirred into her yoghurt or oatmeal. Or straight from the spoon. I make the butter myself, in a blender and it is fairly easy. I found a great tutorial here. When the butter comes out of the blender, it is rather liquid, but it will become solid at room temperature after a couple of hours.
You can use it like you would use other not butters: stir it into your oatmeal, your smoothie or use it as a sandwich spread. But you can also get very fancy with it, using it in truffles, candies and other confections. These very simple, ffour ingredient coconut cubes are a great last minute holiday present!

Mini Coconut Cubes

400 g (14.1 oz) dried, shredded coconut (divided)
50 g (1/2 cup sifted) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon amaretto or rum
100 g chocolate for coating

Put 200 g (7 oz) shredded coconut in your blender or food processor. Start processing the coconut and scrape down the sides from time to time. Process until the coconut turns into butter. This will take only a minute in a high speed blender, but can take up to 15 minutes in a small food processor. (See the tutorial linked to above.) As already mentioned, mine came out rather liquid. The consistency was more like a sauce.

Transfer the butter to a bowl and add the remaining shredded coconut and the sugar. Stir well. Now add the alcohol. This will change the consistency immediately. It should get firmer as you stir in the alcohol. Now you will be able to shape the mixture into cubes or balls.

I recommend not to skip this ingredient. But:

You could try using water instead. (I haven’t tried this though.) I do not recommend to use non-dairy milk.

Or you do ommit the alcohol and don’t substitute it. Place the prepared coconut mixture in the fridge and wait until the mixture has reached the desired consistency.

Shape into cubes or balls. Melt chocolate and temper it. (Tutorial) Cover half of the cubes with chocolate and let cool completely.

Are you planning to make some treats for your family and friends this year? I already made several batches of Spekulatius, Heidesand, and Double Chocolate Spritz Cookies.

This is going to be my last post for this year. I hope you all have wonderful holidays and a happy new year! See you in 2013.

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