Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stelle alla cannella or Cinnamon Stars

Having shared my all-time favourite Christmas carol list with you, as well as my Glühwein recipe and the Grittbänz having been eaten by now, I would like to let you in on my absolute favourite biscuits of all times. Cinnamon stars!
Switzerland has a very strong tradition of making Christmas biscuits and there is a vast varitey of them. Today’s Christmas cookies can trace their history to recipes from Medieval Europe biscuits, which when many modern ingredients such as cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, almonds and dried fruit were introduced into the west. By the 16th century Christmas biscuits had become popular across Europe
It is a treat and a great deal of fun to prepare these every year with my children. Of course, they think the best part is licking the kitchen utensils and bowls once the biscuits are in the oven. Ideally you would invite a friend and her kids to bake along with you....the more, the merrier!!!!
3 egg whites
1 pinch of salt
250gr powder sugar
1,5 tbsp cinnamon
350 gr ground almonds
0.5 tbsp Kirsch (Swiss cherry schnapps)
Beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff. 
Mix in the powder sugar.
Put aside and cover about 1dl of the above mixture for icing later.
Mix cinnamon and ground almonds, add Kirsch and combine with the remaining egg whites/sugar mixture until you obtain a dough-like texture.
Roll out the dough on a plastic bag or on a sugar-covered base. The thickness of the dough should be about 1cm.
Cut out the stars carefully with a cookie cutter which you dip into sugar before every use.
Lay out the cookies on an oven tray covered with baking paper.  
Glazing / drying:  Dip a little glaze onto the middle of each star, pull the icing towards the star tips with a wooden toothpick.
Let the cookies dry at room temperature for about 6 hours or overnight.
Bake: approx. 5 min. in the middle of a preheated oven at 250°C. 
Take out and let cool on a cookie rack.

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