Oh, Dr. Oetker, what would I do without you and your simple but trustworthy recipes? Every year, for the last three years, I’ve tried making Zimtsterne (literally “cinnamon stars” in English) — almond-meal cookies with cinnamon and meringue tops — as a lactose-free cookie that my mom could enjoy. (Here’s last year’s attempt.) Unfortunately, each time I’ve tried, it never turns out well. They’ve always been too wet. After consulting with Sofie, the German Foodie, last year, I learned two things: 1. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator to get rid of some of the moisture. 2. Use the Dr. Oetker recipe. And I took both pieces of advice to heart this year. And guess what: I succeeded!
But I also figured a few things out on my own. The most important is the egg to almond ratio. I used 3 American-size large eggs. After I incorporated the almonds into the egg/sugar mixture my dough wasn’t dough at all. It was sticky and it wasn’t coming together. I added more almonds, above the original 400g the Dr. Oetker recipe calls for. I’d say this is the most important aspect to keep note of, at least in my experience. Add the ground almonds until the dough comes together and isn’t too sticky. I can’t stress that enough.
Also, depending on how much glaze you put aside for putting on top of the cookies determines how much almond flour you have to add. Keep that in mind. I found two tablespoons of glaze to not be enough for me and had to “cheat” and make up a secondary batch to finish the cookies.
Soundtrack: Brian Eno’s “Here Come The Warm Jets,” Tom Waits “Rain Dogs,” Monster Magnet’s “Dopes to Infinity,” Fu Manchu’s “The Action Is Go,” Zeke’s “Kicked In The Teeth,” Reagan Youth’s “A Collection of Pop Classics”
adapted from Dr. Oetker (translated from the German)
Makes about 40 pieces.
- 3 medium-sized egg whites
- 250 g powdered sugar
- 1 packet of Dr. Oetker vanilla sugar or 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
- about 500 g of ground almonds or hazelnuts
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 285°F.
- Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl with the mixer on the highest speed until they are very stiff. Sift the powdered sugar and then fold into the egg whites. For the spread that will go on top of the cookies, set two to three heaping tablespoons of the mix aside for later. Carefully fold the vanilla sugar, cinnamon and half of the almonds or hazelnuts into the mixing bowl of egg whites and powdered sugar. The knead the rest of the almonds or hazelnuts as needed into the mix so that a dough forms. The dough shouldn’t be too sticky.
- Refrigerate the dough for an hour.
- Spread powdered sugar over the work surface and roll the dough out to about 1 cm thick. Cut out stars.
- Lay the stars on a baking sheet and spoon some of the egg white/powdered sugar glaze that was set aside onto each cookie. Bake the cookies for about 20 to 25 minutes.