I have been dying to try this traditional German Christmas cookie for several years, but have just not gotten around to it. This year my blogging friend from Hungry Little Girl blogged about her family recipe for cinnamon stars, which I also can’t wait to try. So, she probably inspired me to go ahead and make them. I used a different recipe (though I still absolutely must try hers) because I wanted to post it here, and since it is her family recipe, I decided to find one more widely available. The cookies are made with meringue and almond flour – I know you are thinking macarons, but they really are not that similar – and are iced with meringue before baking. These are truly one of the best cookies that I have ever eaten, so if you have not tried them, you definitely should.
I found this recipe at Food Network, and really didn’t change it. I did use purchased almond flour, which made thing move along more quickly, and I had a bag of unblanched almond flour that I had ordered by accident when I needed blanched for macarons that was just begging to be used. And, I did try to make the procedure a bit more clear, because I had several nervous moments when making mine that had me wondering if it was supposed to be that way – turned out it was, but I will try to offer a bit of clarification and there are photos of some of the procedure after the recipe.
Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne)
- 2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, plus a little extra for rolling out the dough
- 15 oz almond flour - or sliced almonds that you have processed to finely ground in the food processor
- 1 1/4 tsps. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 3 egg whites
- sliced almonds for decorating (optional)
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- Line two large cookie sheets with parchment.
- Whisk together 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, almond flour and cinnamon.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until they form firm peaks.
- Gradually beat in remaining confectioners' sugar and continue beating for two minutes to combine thoroughly. Note: As you add the sugar, the egg whites will lose their peaks and become thick and shiny - think school glue.
- Set aside 2/3 cup of the egg white mixture.
- Fold the almond flour/sugar combination and lemon zest into the remaining egg white mixture.
- Dust a large piece of parchment with confectioners' sugar.
- Place dough over the sugar and another piece of parchment on top and roll out the dough between the two pieces until it is about 1/4 inch thick.
- Remove the top piece of parchment and dust the dough well with powdered sugar so that it won't stick.
- Replace the parchment and turn the dough over.
- Cut with star shaped cookie cutters and place on prepared pans.
- Spread remaining egg white mixture over the tops of the cookies and decorate with almonds if desired.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Turn off the oven and open the door, and allow the cookies to sit 10 minutes longer in the oven.
- Remove to parchment to cool completely.