Day 2 of my 5-Day Christmas Bake-a-thon and I am starting to feeling it.
Like I said, I did not have time so far to think about Christmas at all. Well, the only little accomplishment I mastered was to plaster the windows with some lights after switching into Tomb Raider mode when trying to find the ever so mysteriously disappearing boxes full of decorations in the basement. It's never where I could have sworn it was and it's never in the condition I thought I have left it (I am looking at you, weird ravel that is supposed to be Christmas lights! Must be the same effect that applies to headphones or any kind of cable, really...).
Oh yeah, to stick with the theme of bringing you traditional German Christmas Goodies, here is some random trivia: Did you know that decking the Christmas tree with candles originated in 17th century Germany? It only really became a tradition in the Early Modern Period and was established in the UK during Queen Victoria's reign and spread through emigration to North America and Australia (Wikipedia is so clever, innit?).
I doubt that Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Stars) have been around for so long, but who knows. These pretty little things originally come from Swabia, a region in South Germany yet are known in the whole country today. Making them can be quite a sticky business, but laying out the surface with ground hazelnuts like in this recipe really helps. However, you know what I just do? I just flatten the dough with my hands and only use a rolling pin to even it out a little afterwards but for the
less barbaric more traditional people among us, I've heard that laying the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper works wonders! And just for stating the obvious, you will need a star-shaped biscuit/cookie cutter, duh. But technically, any shape will do and I can even imagine them looking nice just cut into diamonds.
Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Stars)
Note: While the recipe is not exactly mine, it has been in my family for quite a while with the source unknown. This is one of those recipes that friends and neighbours pass around on hand-written notes.
- 190g (6.7 oz) Icing/powdered sugar
- 100 (3.5 oz) Almonds, finely ground
- 200g (7 oz) Hazelnuts, finely ground
- 2 Egg whites
- 1 TS of Cinnamon
- 1 Dash of Lemon Juice
- Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).
- Either with a food processor or a hand mixer, beat together egg whites and icing sugar into a nice and firm, sticky glaze (this can take a little while). Set 1/3 of it aside.
- Add 100g (3.5 oz) hazelnuts as well as the other ingredients to the remaining 2/3 and knead it in first with a spoon, then with your hands.
- Cover a flat surface with remaining hazelnuts and roll out dough (or whatever method floats your boat). It should be about 8-10mm (0.3-0.4 inches) thick.
- Cut out biscuits and put them on a baking tray laid out with parchment paper. Generously spread biscuits with egg white glaze.
- Bake on centre rack for 10-12 minutes, sticking a wooden spoon between oven door after 8.
They should still be a bit chewy but speaking from experience, crunchy is not exactly a failure, either. :)