Zimtsterne (cinnamon stars) are maybe THE traditional German Christmas cookies. Everyone loves these little treats. But many don't like to make them, because the sticky dough can be a bit tricky while cutting the stars. But if you take the time to make them, it is more than worthwhile all the work. They are heavenly. If you have tasted the first you can't stop eating them. And christmas without Zimtsterne? NEVER! They are a must.
- In a bowl mix dry ingredients for dough.
- Add egg whites and knead until a still sticky dough is formed.
- Wrap into cling film and put into the fridge for at least one hour. I always leave it in the fridge for 2 - 4 hours.
- Near the end of cooling time preaheat oven (170 C) and make meringue glaze.
- For meringue glaze beat egg white with salt until stiff. While still beating add caster sugar by and by to make meringue.
- The meringue should have a consistency that you can spread it with a brush onto the dough later. It should have a more creamy consistency, so that it will stick on the dough and not running down.
- Add just a little milk to get the right consistency. Depending on the egg white you may need about 1 to 3 tablespoons.
- Line out baking trays with parchment paper.
- Get the dough out of the fridge and roll it out between two layers of parchment papers or cling film. The dough sould be a bout 1 cm thick.
- Method ONE for making cinnamon stars (easy way): Using a star cutter cut out the stars and place them on the baking tray. With a brush spread meringue glaze on the cookies.
- Method TWO for making cinnamon stars (tricky way): After you have rolled out the dough spread a thin layer of the meringue glaze on the dough. Now you need a star cutter which can be opened. These are available in Germany. When you can open the cookie cutter you avoid touching the glaze, because the dough has the tendency to stick to the cutter. Put the stars on the tray. Knead the rest of the dough again and add some grounded almonds, so that the dough is not too sticky. Repeat the steps of making the stars.
- Bake the cookies for about 10 - 12 minutes. Watch them carefully, because the meringue should not be browned.
- Take them out and let cool completely. Store them in airtight container. The cookies get better and better, because the flavours blended over time, but I you have to find a good hidout.
- NOTE on egg size: egg size is important here, because it determines the stickyness. My recipe is based on an egg size of 54 - 63 g per egg.
- Custom yield is a guess.
- Time to make does NOT include cooling time.
This was one of the first cookies I ever made. I saw it in an issue of "Shere" magazine in the mid-seventies. I've been seeking the recipe for years. When I first made them I was advised to dust the board with powdered sugar (caster sugar) rather than flour. The icing step can be tricky! Use less than you think you should and an off-set spatula is the best tool. These cookies are some of the best I've ever eaten. Though a bit of trouble the results are transformative. This cookie helped me to become a better baker at the age of eleven. I made batches of them and was so proud of my result when I presented them as gifts.
5 stars for the almond cookie on its own but the meringue was far too persnickety for my tastes and the end result was not a combination I enjoyed. Next time I will make bigger stars (I used tiny ones and it really tried my patience) and cover with a sugar icing or maybe even a cream cheese frosting.