These cinnamon stars are usually a German Christmas or Jewish Yom Kippur recipe, but why not make some stars for Fourth of July? Frosted with red and blue as well as white, they’d be a great spicy addition to any celebration! I found out about these from a German friend.
Servings: Makes about thirty-six 2-inch cookies.
These nut meringues are also called erstesternen (“first stars”), a reference to the heavenly signs indicating the end of a fast day. They are traditionally served by German Jews at the meal following Yom Kippur.
1 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) hazelnuts or blanched almonds, finely ground
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup egg whites (about 2 large)
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
About 1/2 cup additional confectioners’ sugar for rolling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Combine the nuts, cinnamon, and zest. Beat the egg whites on low speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Add the salt, increase the speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until stiff and glossy, 5 to 8 minutes. Reserve one-third of the meringue (about 1/3 cup) and fold the nut mixture into the remaining meringue.
Place a large piece of waxed paper on a flat surface and sprinkle with additional confectioners’ sugar. Place the nut mixture on the sugar, lightly sprinkle with more confectioners’ sugar, top with a second piece of waxed paper, and roll out 1/4 inch thick. Remove the top piece of waxed paper. Using a cookie cutter dipped in water, cut into 2-inch star shapes or use a sharp knife to cut into diamonds. Reroll and cut any scraps. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Spread the reserved meringue over the top of the cookies and bake until the tops are lightly colored, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool. Zimtsternen taste best if allowed to stand for 24 hours. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.