Cinnamon Star Cookies (Zimtsterne)
I make these delicious cookies every year and they are always a hit at my Christmas Cookie Exchange. My mother is German and gave me this recipe years ago and it is now a staple over the holidays, she had to translate the recipe (Zimt = Cinnamon, Sterne = Stars) hence the name of the cookies Zimtsterne = Cinnamon Stars! Making these cookies always puts me in the holiday mood, and the end result is just so gorgeous, hope you enjoy making them.
- 2¼ cups confectioners' sugar, plus more for rolling
- 15 ounces sliced almonds, with skin (about 4 cups)
- 1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
- Sift the confectioners' sugar. And set aside in a bowl.
- Put ½ cup of the sifted confectioners' sugar, (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 (will resemble a coarse powdery looking mixture.)
- Whip the egg whites in a large, clean bowl (bowl must be clean or else this will not work) with an electric mixer on high speed until they hold soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the remaining confectioners' sugar while whipping, until the whites are thick, creamy and somewhat stiff, about 2 minutes more. Set aside ⅔ cup of this meringue for topping the cookies.
- Fold the ground almond mixture and the lemon zest into the remaining meringue to make a stiff dough.
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Lay a sheet of parchment or waxed paper on the work surface and lightly dust with confectioners' 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 ¼-inch thick. Flip the dough over and gently peel off a 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.
- Cut cookies with a 1-inch star cutter (or whatever size cutter you have that is star or snowflake shaped) and place about 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets (the cookies don't expand too much). Excess dough can be rerolled. Use a small spoon, to spread the reserved meringue over the top of each cookie, taking care not to let the meringue drip over the sides (this part takes a while- I ended up using a butter knife to frost them.)
- Bake cookies until bottoms are light golden brown and meringue is set and crisp, about 20-30 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the oven door to release heat and dry cookies out in the oven for 10 more minutes. These cookies get softer as the days go by! Ok to store in an airtight container or tin for up to 2 weeks!
And another picture of the cookies…they’re just SO adorable!