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Joined: Jul 17, 2006
Posted to Thread #21199 at 2:16 am on Dec 16, 2011
Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Stars) Cookies
I'm posting these with this word of warning:
These are extremely difficult to make, but if you make them, they are heavenly. This is the most popular of the approximately 2 dozen varieties of Christmas cookies I make each year.
White-glazed cinnamon stars appear in all the Germanic lands at Christmas time. They are made from a flourless dough of ground almonds, meringue, cinnamon, and sugar. They have different flavorings depending on where they come from: Kirsch in Switzerland, Lemon zest in Austria. The dough has the texture of fluffy clouds and is extremely difficult to work with, so be warned!
Zimtsterne improve with age and should be made at least 1 month before you need them. They will keep in airtight tins for 3 months, and be quite tasty if they ever last that long.
Zimtsterne (pro: Tsimt-shtair-nuh)
(Makes about 35 3/8 inch thick stars, 1 1/2 inches in diameter)
2 cups finely ground unblanched almonds, plus
1/2 cup more as needed
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 large egg whites
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
Granulated sugar for rolling out
1 1/2 inch 5 or 6 point star cookie cutter
(with straight sides and edges, no fancy flutes or anything, because it will make things more difficult)
Butter and flour several baking sheets and set aside.
Combine the 2 cups of almonds with the cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy and slightly thickened. Beat the powdered sugar into egg whites, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well between each addition. When all the sugar has been added, beat the mixture 5 more minutes.
Remove approximately two thirds of the egg white mixture and blend it together with the almonds. Cover the remaining egg white mixture with a damp cloth. Add the lemon juice and zest to the almond mixture and use your hand to blend all the ingredients together to form a cohesive mass. Allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes.
To test the consistency, try rolling out (it is more like "patting" out) a small piece on a board dusted with granulated sugar (the dough itself can also be sprinkled with a small amount of sugar). If it is too sticky to handle (probably will be), add more ground almonds, by the tablespoon, until it is manageable. If the dough crumbles or falls apart, add a few drops of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the reserved egg whites.
When the dough has reached the proper consistency, dust a pastry board lightly with granulated sugar. Shape the dough into a flat round and dust the surface lightly with sugar. Pat the dough out into a rectangle 3/8 inch thick. Remove the cloth from the reserved egg whites. Use a metal spatula to smooth an even coating of the glaze over the entire surface of the rectangle, just enough to cover it completely with white. To smooth the surface further, dip the spatula in hot water ad run it across the glaze. Make sure you have not used up all the egg whites as you will need a small amount to glaze the scraps after they have been rerolled after you make your first cuts. Cover the egg whites again with the damp towel to prevent them from drying out.
Fill a cup with hot water. Dip your star cutter into the hot water each time you cut, leaving as little space between stars as possible. Place the stars on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 3/4 inch between each. Knead the scraps together, adding additional ground almonds so that the dough can be rolled out. Roll out, glaze, and cut as before. Allow to dry at room temperature, on the baking sheets, overnight.
Preheat the oven to 275F. Bake ONE sheet at a time in the middle of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the stars are firm and the glaze has dried. Do not allow them to color. If they are browning, prop the oven door open with the handle of a wooden spoon. Remove the stars to a wire rack to cool completely before storing, at least 1 month, in airtight tins.
Be prepared for an incredible taste experience when you sample your first Zimtsterne.
Other messages in this thread:
- 21199. Does anyone have a link to the old Cookie Forum at Gail's? - Richard in Cincy - 3:12pm on 12/15/11 (26)
- Here you go, Richard. - ErininNY - 3:58pm on 12/15/11
- Argh! Of course I forgot to link those. :( More espresso. - ErininNY - 3:59pm on 12/15/11
- Erin, thanks, but I'm just getting "the way back machine" page with the link and constant reloading [NT] - Richard in Cincy - 4:33pm on 12/15/11
- Sorry--it was loading fine for me. Hope this helps for copy and paste purposes! [NT] - ErininNY - 4:41pm on 12/15/11
- It loaded for me but took a looong time. So happy to see all those - thanks! [NT] - MariaDNoCA - 7:55pm on 12/15/11
- You're welcome! :) [NT] - ErininNY - 12:42am on 12/17/11
- Chocolate Pfeffernusse (text) - ErininNY - 4:36pm on 12/15/11
- Viennese Kipferl (Crescents) (text) - ErininNY - 4:37pm on 12/15/11
- Lebkuchen (text) - ErininNY - 4:37pm on 12/15/11
- Vanilla Kipferl (Crescents) (text) - ErininNY - 4:38pm on 12/15/11
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookie. (Just for the heck of it, since it was in with the others.) ;) - ErininNY - 4:40pm on 12/15/11
- Erin, I can get to the link and see the forums with the search option, but the search fails. - MarilynFL - 5:04pm on 12/15/11
- Marilyn, the search didn't work for me, either. - ErininNY - 6:01pm on 12/15/11
- in our T& T, Sandi copied most of the post [NT] [LINK] - AngAk1 - 7:15pm on 12/15/11
- The Zimtsterne are in there, but I didn't see the others... [NT] - ErininNY - 7:21pm on 12/15/11
- Zimtsterne (text) - ErininNY - 2:16am on 12/16/11
- One of the posts implied there was a great Cranberry & Lemon Cookie at 197.7, but I go to that post - wigs - 6:04pm on 12/16/11
- Wigs, maybe this is it--the provenance is Gail's Swap. [LINK] - ErininNY - 9:40pm on 12/16/11
- Thanks Erin!!! [NT] - Richard in Cincy - 5:19pm on 12/15/11
- Bitteschön! [NT] - ErininNY - 6:44pm on 12/15/11
- another great cookie thread is posted in T&T great threads [NT] [LINK] - AngAk1 - 7:22pm on 12/15/11
- If you know the names you can do a g**gle search for them... - MariaDNoCA - 7:41pm on 12/15/11
- I clicked on "impatient" and that brings up the cookie recipes quickly by the numbers. So you have - elaine - 4:36am on 12/16/11
- I bumped up that old thread over on EPI. [NT] [LINK] - AngAk1 - 7:00pm on 12/16/11