Recipe 5 of the Christmas Cookies Around the World Holiday Project for Kids: German Zimtsterne Cookie Recipe
Baking cookies is one of the most popular Christmas traditions, and not just a tradition in America. Countries all over the world celebrate the holiday season by baking cookies that are unique to where they live. If you are looking for a fun way to introduce your children to other cultures, this Cookies Around the World series is perfect! This cookie series is a great way for your kids to learn about Christmas around the world and what different countries do for Christmas during the holiday season.
The Christmas Cookies Around the World series is a fun way to introduce children to:
- World geography
- Holiday traditions
- Popular cookies from various cultures and parts of the world
This cookie recipe series is a great way to emphasize togetherness while also learning about the traditions and popular recipes from other places around the world. It is also designed to encourage togetherness through baking and kindness through sharing with others. In addition to this packet, there is a full series of additional articles with tips and baking videos available here on the Christmas Cookies Around the World main page.
BRIEF HISTORY OF GERMAN ZIMTSTERNE
Zimtsterne cookies date all the way back to 1538 in Germany. This is when the earliest written history of Zimtsterne was first recorded. Today Zimtsterne continues to be an Advent staple in Germany and Switzerland.
Zimtsterne are also called Cinnamon Stars. Authentic Zimtsterne cookies are made in a 6-pointed star shape. We used these cookie cutters to make ours.
What you may be wondering is how to pronounce Zimtsterne. There are various examples for kids to listen to if they’re having trouble figuring out how to pronounce Zimtsterne.
Fun Facts About Germany’s Christmas Traditions
- St Nicholas Day is a favorite holiday with German children. On the night of December 5, children clean and polish their boots and leave them outside the door before going to sleep. Next morning, they find their shoes filled with nuts, candy, and small gifts from St Nicholas.
- A big part of the Christmas celebrations in Germany is Advent. Several different types of Advent calendars are used in German homes.
- Many families in Germany put an Advent wreath on the living room table the fourth Sunday before Christmas.
- Christmas preparations in Germany begin from 1st of December as people bake spiced cakes, gingerbread houses and cookies, make gifts and start holiday decorations.
- Dresden claims to host the oldest Christmas market in Germany, which first took place in 1434.
- Many Germans display a traditional wooden Christmas pyramid in their living room.
- The Christmas tree in the living room is put up usually only on the morning of Christmas Eve.
- Krampus the devil is sort of a sidekick of St Nicholas. He is believed to accompany St Nicholas to teach naughty children a hard lesson.
VIDEOS ABOUT CHRISTMAS IN GERMANY
Learn all about the German Christmas market and listen to some fun German music.
Learn all about what it’s like to celebrate Christmas in Germany with this video.
Get excited about the Christmas season using this helpful video about different Christmas traditions in Germany.
Learn about everything that Germans savor during the Christmas season in this video.
Learn all about the different German Christmas food traditions in this video.
Additional Resources for Teaching Children About Germany
Learn about what it’s like to live in Germany during the holiday season with the help of this travel guide.
Learn about how and why Germans celebrate their different Christmas traditions in this helpful resource.
BOOKS ABOUT CHRISTMAS IN GERMANY
Cobweb Christmas: The Tradition of Tinsel by Shirley Climo
Learn about the warmth and wonder of Christmas as well as the origin of tinsel on trees in this fantastic and beautiful picture book.
Christmas in Germany (Christmas around the World) by Jack Manning
Come explore many of Germany’s Christmas traditions when it comes to how they celebrate the Christmas season.
Germany For Kids: People, Places and Cultures by Baby Professor
Explore Germany without needing a passport in this interactive storybook that takes you all throughout Germany.
Germany: A Book of Opposites by Ashley Evanson
This board book pairs learning concepts with colorful illustrations of Germany that both your children and you will love!
GERMAN ZIMTSTERNE COOKIE RECIPE
This simple recipe is excellent to bake with kids. Watch this short video will show you just how easy they are to make!
- Cookie Cutter: 2-inch star-shaped
- 1/2 Cup Butter room temp
- 1/2 Cup Shortening
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 2 Large Eggs
- 3 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Melted and Cooled
- 2 3/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 8 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- Prepare your ingredients
- Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in a bowl over a boiling saucepan of water. Set aside to cool but do not let it get too cool. You should still be to stir it easily.
- Using a stand mixer or in a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs and the chocolate.
- In a medium bowl combine the flour and the cinnamon. Add this gradually to your mixture.
- Divide dough into two discs and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 min or until easy to roll.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Use a small amount of flour and white sugar on your work surface to roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thickness. Cut with a floured or sugared 2-inch star shaped cookie cutter.
- Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Chill and reroll scraps if desired.
- Bake at 350 F for 9-11 or until edges are firm. Cool on wire racks.
Get Your FREE Christmas Cookies Around the World Taste Test Recording Sheet
Use the taste test recording sheet to have kids record information about the cookie(s) they tasted and rate how well they liked the cookies. Individual pages can be compiled into a taste test booklet for all the cookies you try in the series, or you can choose to have kids record only their favorite cookie if you prefer.
Save paper by printing two or four to a page if preferred.
Get the entire 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Around the World project
For those interested in expanding the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Around the World project into a class or family project we’ve created a 50+ page activity guide to make it super easy for you.
Inside you’ll find:
- Quick Reference List of Cookies and Countries
- Generic Cookie Taste Test Recording Sheet
- Cookie Taste Test Recording Table
- Class Graphing Header and Voting Cards
- Christmas Cookies Around the World Passport (three versions)
- Taste Test Journal
- Cookie Recipe Cookbook
- Editable Cookie Recipe Page to add in additional family and multi-cultural options
- Gift Tags
- My Family’s Favorite Cookie Recipe (two versions)
- Editable Parent Letter (two versions)
- Ingredient List by Cookie
The project is designed for use in the classroom, at home, or in community programs. Suggestions and modifications for each setting are included in the resource.
Get your Christmas Cookies Around the World Project
This project is also available on Teachers Pay Teachers.