Vanillekipferl aren't the only type of very yummy Christmas biscuit that are popular in Germany. If you read the comments, you'll see that Metropolitan Mum has been busy making Zimtsterne (cinnemon stars) (PS: and beat me to posting a recipe as I found out after I'd written this post). I can only agree that Zimtsterne are rather nice, and yesterday it was time to bake them, toddler help and all.
The good thing about Zimtsterne are that they allow you to use up your spare egg whites from making Vanillekipferl. So they kind of go hand in hand. Zimtsterne weren't made in my home when I was wee, and I still have a lot of respect for them. They involve egg snow (I know, in English that's beaten egg white. But honestly, how much cuter is egg snow? It just needs to be introduced to English). Egg snow scares me, because whatever I make with it, it won't work. And I've tried. I know the theory, just somehow it never works in practice.
Still, not to be discouraged, I went ahead and made them, substituting icing sugar with caster sugar (which may not be such a good idea - the biscuits turned out a bit on the crunchy side). The only shape for cutting out that resembled a star was too big really, not that it matters, but Zimtsterne are smallish and mine look huge. Cubling insisted on other shapes, particularly the flower (not in the Christmas spirit yet?), so we've got Zimtblumen as well. This recipe is even easier than Vanillekipferl (apart from the egg snow bit, but that may just be me).
Here it goes:
3 egg whites
250 gr icing sugar
300 gr ground almonds
a teaspoon of cinnemon (I used 2, you can never have enough cinnemon)
a bit of grated lemon and a dash or rum (both optional).
beat the egg white until it becomes very stiff. Add the icing sugar as it becomes stiff, one spoon at a time (Cubling did that).
Add the ground almonds and cinnemon mix slowly and mix carefully.
The dough should be sticky but not runny. If it's runny, add more almonds.
Place the dough on a large piece of food roll, place another piece on top and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 5mm thickness. Remove the top plastic sheet and cut out star shapes, transfer to baking paper line baking tray.
Bake at 150 degrees C for 10-20 minutes (depending on your oven and size of biscuits - with a fan assisted oven and large biscuits it took 13 minutes - the biscuits should be firm from the outside but may still be a tiny bit soft underneath).
If you like, decorate with icing sugar, eithe dry or liquid. Store in an airtight container. Keep for Christmas or give as presents.
This is the half way point of Christmas biscuit baking. Upcoming are Spritzgebaeck and simple, shaped biscuits. Cubling really enjoyed making Zimtsterne, she very delicately cut the shapes and transferred them to the baking tray. Then she finished them off by adding some icing sugar to make them look snowy. I was impressed to say the least. She was better at it with her tiny fingers than me. Above all I'm amazed that she enjoys the baking and is able now to see the whole process through without getting bored.She's growing up, fast.