Christmas cookie recipe: Cinnamon Stars, or Zimtsterne – Santa Cruz Sentinel

In her new cookbook, “Advent: Festive German Bakes to Celebrate the Coming of Christmas (Quadrille, $35), food writer Anja Dunk says that Zimtsterne, or cinnamon star-shaped cookies, belong to the classic trio of biscuits that best sum up Adventsgebäck (Lebkuchen and Vanillekipferl are the other two). These classic cookies are baked at least once a week in her house during the lead up to Christmas. If her boys had their way, she would bake them every day.
Makes about 30
2 egg whites
1¼ cups powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 2⁄3 cups ground almonds (almond flour)
1 egg white
Scant 3⁄4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the 1¼ cups powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time, whisking all the while. Add the cinnamon and give it a final few seconds of whisking before folding in the ground almonds with a spatula, bringing all the ingredients together into a sticky dough.
Dust the work surface with powdered sugar and roll the dough out to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out star shapes with a cookie cutter and gently transfer them over to the baking sheet, leaving 3/8 inch between each to allow for a little spreading. Re-roll the dough offcuts into more biscuits.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until just golden on top and firm to the touch. They should still be soft inside. Allow to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the icing, whisk the egg white to stiff peaks using a hand-held electric whisk or an old-fashioned double whisk with a cranking handle (my preferred choice; one egg white is too small an amount to whisk in a free-standing kitchen machine). Fold the ¾ cup powdered sugar into the stiff egg white until a thick, glossy icing is formed.
Spoon small amounts of icing onto each cooled biscuit and, using the tip of a knife, drag the icing out to the pointed ends of the star, ensuring the entire top of the cookie is covered. Let air dry for 8 hours (overnight is ideal).
Stored in an airtight container, these will keep well for a month or more.
From Anja Dunk’s “Advent: German Bakes Festive German Bakes to Celebrate the Coming of Christmas” (Quadrille, $35)
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