Zimtsterne – Cinnamon Star Cookies

Zimtsterne - traditional German cookies for the holiday season

Zimtsterne – traditional German cookies for the holiday season

Christmas is a time of traditions and our family holiday would not be complete without plates piled high with cookies. We also have the tradition of dedicating one day to a “project”. This year we combined the two traditions: I pulled out the baking book, that still has my grandmothers bookmarks in it, and set to baking together with my little nieces.  These cinnamon stars were a great hit – especially with the youngest. They are wonderfully chewy and soft with a lovely almond and cinnamon flavour.

I have to be honest though: I took me two attempts to get the icing right. I had to learn the hard way that you should whisk icing as briefly as possible. If you beat it too much, it dries all foamy and brittle.

The cookies are very quick to make. Only icing them costs a little time. But although it is not quite traditional they also taste good without any icing.

Ingredients
(recipe from ‘Das grosse Dr. Oetker Backbuch’)

3 egg white
250g icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
275-335g ground almonds (not the white kind, but ground with skin on)

Recipe
1. Whisk the egg whites until just stiff. Sift and add the icing sugar. Reserve 1/3 of the icing.
2. Mix the remaining egg whites with the vanilla sugar and cinnamon.
3. Make a dough by adding the almond meal; start with about half of the almonds and add just enough until the dough is hardly sticky.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 130C.
5. Turn the dough onto a clean work surface and flatten using your hands until it is about 1/2 cm thick. Use a rolling pin to even the surface.
6. Cut out cookies using a star shaped cookie cutter.
7. Brush each cookie with icing.
8. Bake for about 8-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the cookies as the icing should not brown.
9. Store them in a cardboard box.

Tips & Variations
• Should the icing be too thick to spread easily, water can be added
• You could replace some of the ground almonds with hazelnut

This year the fourth generation cooked from this recipe book that used to belong to my grandmother'

This year the fourth generation cooked from this recipe book that used to belong to my grandmother’

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