Thursday, December 19, 2013
German cinnamon stars
I guess I'm a little behind this year when it comes to cookie baking. I have my list ready of the ones I want to make and these German cinnamon stars (Zimtsterne) were at the top. I found them in The German Cookbook and when I did a little research, it looks like they are very popular in Germany. These cookies only use a few ingredients and are gluten-free and don't contain any butter. About halfway through the process, I really thought I was going to be throwing away the batter, because it just wasn't coming together. I kept adding more and more almond meal and it was still too sticky. Just when I was about to give up, I added another 1/4 cup and the dough came together. I had to adjust the cooking time because they were getting too dark. However, once I worked out all the bugs, they turned out to be some neat cookies. If you like meringue, you will like these as each cookie is spread with a meringue topping before baking. The topping comes out crisp with a chewy cookie.
All in all, I don't think I'll be adding these to my regular Christmas baking rotation, but every few years, I will make these. My adapted recipe is below and it will make about 30 cookies using about a 3-inch star cookie cutter.
German cinnamon stars
3 large egg whites
2 cups icing sugar
2-1/4 - 3 cups almond flour/meal
pinch of fine sea salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer. When they begin to turn foamy, gradually beat in the icing sugar. Continue beating until the mixture forms very stiff peaks (This will take a while, but it will happen). Set aside 1/2 cup of the meringue.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour starting with 2 cups, salt, and cinnamon. Then sprinkle it into the meringue mixture. Stir together until combined. If the dough is still sticky, stir in more almond flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough it heavy, fairly solid, and holds it shape.
Roll out about 1/4 of the dough at a time placing it between two pieces of parchment (dust with some more almond flour, if needed) to 1/4" thickness. Cut into star shapes and transfer to the baking sheets placing the cookies about 1/2" apart.
Spread a thin layer of the reserved meringue onto each cookie before baking. Bake for about 13-15 minutes, until the bottoms and sides are lightly golden and the meringue is firm, but not colored. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough and store the cooled cookies in an airtight container.
What was I cooking one year ago?: honey-cinnamon coconut snowballs
Two years ago?: eggnog-glazed nutmeg sugar cookies
Three?: chocolate peppermint crinkle cookies
4?: cranberry-clementine cornmeal thumbprints