Chai and Cinnamon Stars

Every friday, after the 10am class, and after every Yin Yoga class, we sit for a precious little while and share some Chai. And each and every time someone asks me for the recipe. So – finally, as promised – here it is!

Slice about 1 inch of fresh Ginger thinly

Crush about 10 cardamon pods

Add them to a pot of water (about the amount of a large teapot)

Add 4 – 5 cloves

Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

If you like, experiment a little – fennel seeds, black pepper corns, aniseed will also work well.

Bring it to boil, then turn the heat off.

Add the content of 3 teabags, or – if you want to avoid black tea – try some lemon balm or roibush instead.

Let it steep for a while, then strain and add milk (about 3 parts water, 1 part milk) – any milk is good (I love Oatmilk, but you can use Almond, Coconut, Cowsmilk, Goats milk….)

If you like it sweet, add some coconut sugar or jaggery or whole cane sugar.

This makes a really nice after lunch drink – with the warming, digestive spices helping to stir up you digestive fire – or a relaxing afternoon to share with friends or family, maybe accompanied by a freshly made christmas cookie – or three, perfect to celebrate the dark time of the year, when the nights are long, the days are cold and wet and the christmas preparations are in full swing.

During this time it is all too easy sometimes to let ourselves get swept away with the tide of consumerism and stress in the weeks and days leading up to the biggest celebration of the year

but let‘s remember for just a moment that we are each of us free to choose. We have the power to decide what part of the tradition we like and which part are in need of revision.

There are so many ways christmas can be celebrated without it becoming a crazy, earth polluting, debt creating, health devastating rush into utter madness.

Personally – I love christmas. I have many fond childhood memories of spending the whole month of December making christmas cookies, decorations, gifts and music. I have not been brought up in a religious house hold and have never been to church during my childhood but christmas was always one of the best times of the year, celebrating love, family, winter, darkness and all the magic that comes with it.

Every weekend we would make hundreds of christmas cookies which, in German tradition, are kept on hand for any visitor who comes to the door, from our best friends and neighbours to the post man and bin collectors.

I remember aunts and grandmothers competing with each other for the sheer amount and variety of cookies, which they displayed on a plate in the middle of the table, free for anyone to take.

There were jam filled cookies, chocolate covered ones, elaborately stacked wafer constructions, macaroons, aniseed bisquits, gingerbread and of course the very traditional Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Stars), which are probably my favorites of them all to this day.

They also happen to be very easy to prepare, are gluten free, dairy free, and can very easily be made vegan without any change to taste or consistency.

Kids are always happy to help too!

So, if you‘re mouth is watering by now, here is the recipe, have fun making them!

Cinnamon Stars

400 g Hazelnuts or Almonds or a mix of both (walnuts can be added too), ground

250 g Coconut Sugar or Whole Cane Sugar (or any other sugar you like)

3 Egg White (or the juice from 1 can of chickpeas)

2 tsp cinnamon

Some powdered sugar for the glaze

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees

Beat the eggwhite or Aquafaba (Chickpea juice) until it forms a peak

Mix nuts, cinnamon and sugar

Add the egg white or Aquafaba but leave some for the glaze (add enough to make a dough that is not too sticky to be rolled out)

Roll out the dough and cut out stars (or any other shapes) and place them on a greased baking sheet (or line with baking paper)

Mix the remaining eggwhite with powdered sugar until it is quite thick but still a bit runny

Cover the stars with the glaze

Bake for 25 min.

The amount will fill a large cookie tin.

They make great gifts (put in decorated jars) but you might just want to keep them for yourself – they go really well with some delicious hot chai 🙂

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