This week in Paris we had our first snowfall. I was at the dentist, and when I came out, the sidewalks were damp from the wet rain that had fallen while I’d had my semi-annual detartrage.
Then, as I walked up the rue Montorgueil, the annoying rain turned to little icy bits, then to large snowflakes, dusting everything, from the brick sidewalks, then coating my arms and shoulders. It was so blinding that it drove the communists distributing leaflets back into their headquarters. (And those people are pretty tough…or so they’d like us to believe.) As for me, those snowflakes drove me right into Stohrer, Paris’ oldest pastry shop, because this time of the year—and only this time of the year—they make my favorite little treat: Zimtsterne.
I can’t tell you how much I love Zimtsterne. (Well, I could, but it would take up too much bandwidth.) There’s just something about these chewy little stars, spiced with lots of cinnamon, then brushed with a glaze of royal icing that provides just the right bit of creamy sweetness in contrast to the chewy cookie below.
Unable to get enough, I usually go back to Stohrer several times during the holiday season, until that final visit, when they sadly tell me that they’re finished making them for the year. I tried making a similar recipe one year, Basler leckerli, from a recipe that a Swiss friend gave me, but one bite into the rock-hard little rectangles nearly sent me running back to le dentiste.
So I wait, semi-impatiently, for each December, when the little spiced cookies start to cascade down all around me again. And I thank my lucky stars, that it’s winter, and they’re back.