Friday, December 20, 2013

Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Star Cookies) Recipe

 I took German in high school, then the summer after my senior year was fortunate enough to visit Germany via a class trip. Ever since then, I have had a special place in my heart for German culture and cuisine. So it seemed appropriate to end this series with a traditional German Christmas cookie. 

Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Star Cookies) Recipe
originally found here
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar, plus more for rolling
15 ounces sliced almonds, with skin (about 4 1/2 cups)
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1. Sift the powdered sugar. Put 1/2 cup of the sifted powdered sugar, 10 ounces (3 heaping cups) of the almonds and all the cinnamon in a food processor. Process until the nuts are finely ground, with just a few larger pieces.

2. Whip the egg whites in the bowl of an electric stand mixer on high speed (about speed 6) until they hold soft peaks, about 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining powdered sugar while whipping, until the whites are thick, creamy and somewhat stiff, about 2 minutes more. Set aside 2/3 cup of this meringue for topping the cookies.

3. Fold the ground almond mixture and the lemon zest into the remaining meringue to make a stiff dough.

4. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Lay a sheet of parchment or waxed paper on the work surface and lightly dust with powdered sugar. Turn the dough out onto the dusted paper, flatten and dust with more sugar as needed, and then lay another sheet of parchment or waxed paper on top. Roll the dough between the papers until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Flip the dough over and gently peel off the top sheet of the paper. For ease when cutting, lay the paper back on the dough, flip again and gently pull off the other side of the paper so that the dough is fully released from it.

6. Cut cookies with a 3-inch star cutter and place about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Reroll excess dough using process from step 5 until you have used all of it. 
Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Star Cookies) Recipe
7. Use a small spoon to spread the reserved meringue (about 1 tsp per cookies) over the top of each cookie, taking care not to let the meringue drip over the sides. 

Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Star Cookies) Recipe
8. Press or sprinkle remaining sliced almonds in a decorative pattern into the meringue. 
Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Star Cookies) Recipe

9. Bake cookies until bottoms are light golden brown and meringue is set and crisp, about 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the oven door to release heat and dry cookies out in the oven for 10 more minutes.
Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Star Cookies) Recipe

Normally, I take care to get pictures of the entire process. I am a visual learner, and I appreciate when recipes show in-process photos so that I know what I'm doing looks right. This time, I did the recipe in two parts: I made the meringue and the dough, then went to pick E up from school, then finished the recipe. So I completely spaced on taking photos of the making of the meringue and the dough. I hope you can forgive me. ;) 

On the plus side, making this recipe in two parts is totally an option. You can make the meringue, then set aside what you'll need for the topping in an airtight container in the fridge. Then you make the dough, roll it out between the parchment paper, and store it in the fridge. It can stay that way for about 12 hours if need be. 

On the other plus side, these cookies are delicious-- sweet, but not too much, and very nutty and spicy. They are very different from anything I've ever made before, but remind me a bit of macaroons. Bonus: they're gluten-free!

I've had a lot of fun with this series, and I hope you have, too! My house is just the way I like it: completely overrun with delicious cookies. 

As always, don't forget to check I do deClaire for Laura's recipe, too! How amazing do these sound?

1 comment:

  1. These sound delicious! It's always nice to have a gluten free option when you are baking. They turned out so pretty, too!


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