For me Christmas is all about lights, festive decoration and the smell of freshly baked Christmas treats filling the house. For most people Christmas will probably be a little different this year and it’s the small things that will make it special since big family gatherings won’t be possible. So let’s light some candles, put your favourite music on and start baking! These white chocolate coated cinnamon stars taste as Christmassy as it gets – in my house they definitely won’t survive until the 25th, but since the kids love baking just as much as I do we’ll just make them over and over again..
What you need:
100g ground hazelnuts
4 tbsp date sugar (dried, ground dates*, alternatively use brown sugar) – sieved
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
70ml aquafaba (the liquid you get in a tin of chickpeas, chose an organic brand with no added salt or preservatives) – whipped (whips exactly like egg white)
50g vegan white chocolate – melted
How you do it:
Start by mixing all the dry ingredients in a bowl – hazelnuts, date sugar, cinnamon and salt.
Whip the aquafaba until stiff and gently stir it into the hazelnut mix.
Once everything is well combined put the dough into the freezer until very cold but not frozen, this will make it easier to roll it flat with a rolling pin.
It can still be a little sticky so roll it straight onto baking paper, you can place a second sheet of baking paper on top and roll it through that.
Preheat the oven at gas mark 5 (180C).
Get the star cookie cutters out and let the kids do the work (although you might want to stay nearby as leftovers will need re-rolling and transferring the stars onto a lined baking tray might require the helping hand of an adult).
Bake your stars for 25-30mins or until firm but not hard (they can still be a little soft in the middle, they’ll get firmer while cooling down).
While you leave them to cool melt your white chocolate – I find this works best if I boil a little water in a pan, then place a bowl containing the chocolate in the hot water pan (you can turn the hob off now, the water should come halfway up the bowl) and stir it gently until it starts to melt. I have tried to melt it in the microwave, but when white chocolate gets too hot it separates into oil and solid sugar. It should be soft and creamy, a bit like margarine.
Once the cinnamon stars have cooled down completely you can spread the white chocolate ‘cream’ on top using a teaspoon, a butter knife, your finger or all the three options together if you ask my kids.
Carefully place the stars on a plate or back on the baking tray and refrigerate (or freeze) until the chocolate has hardened.
For a quicker and easier finish you can always leave the white chocolate away and simply dust the stars with a little icing sugar before serving them.
*Date sugar is made of whole dates, which have been dried and ground into what looks like brown sugar. It is therefore a more nutritious and less processed sweetener than sugar. Dates provide a whole range of essential nutrients and are a good source of dietary potassium as well as fibre and trace elements including boron, cobalt, fluorine, magnesium selenium, manganese and zinc.