Thursday, May 04, 2006

Cinnamon Stars

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 ts salt
  • 1 1/4 c powdered sugar
  • 5-6 c finely ground almonds
  • 2 ts cinnamon
  • 1 ts lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Beat the egg whites until frothy, add salt and continue beating to soft peaks. Gradually sift in the sugar while continuing to beat until stiff and shiny. Reserve 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the mixture for topping. Fold in 5 cups of almonds, the cinnamon and lemon juice to the remainder, adding more almonds if the dough is sticky. Chill for 5 min.

Sift powdered sugar onto the rolling surface. Roll the dough out to 5/8 inch thickness. Cut out cookies with a 2-inch star shaped cookie cutter. Place on cookie sheets and let rest for 2 hours at room temperature. Bake in a 200 F oven for 30 to 35 minutes. The top should remain white and the inside a little sticky.

Spekulatius cookies

Spekulatius

  • 375 g flour
  • 200 g butter
  • 150 g sugar
  • 100 g finely ground almonds
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt, cloves, nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Chill all ingredients then kneed all ingredients into a smooth dough. Refridgerate for 1 hour. Roll out in a thin dough and cut out cookies. Dough can be rolled out on sliced almonds as well. Bake until crispy and slightly browned.

Spekulatius

This traditional German Christmas cookie is actually named after St. Nikolaus. His surname or title "speculator" is the Latin term for "overseer", i.e. bishop. The German Rhineland as well as the Netherlands claim to have originated the spiced cookie. Traditionally it is cut with relic shaped cookie cutters and imprinted with the image of a saint or a series of pictures that tell the story of St. Nikolaus. It is supposed to be baked on December 6th to aid in telling the Legend of St. Nikolaus in honor of the saint's name day.

The most important ingredients in Spekulatius are almonds and the spices, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. All of the ingredients must be chilled well before preparing the dough, making it a convenient winter treat. In modern times baking powder is used in the recipe. Originally Spekulatius was baked without the help of any rising agents, as is the case with these cookies.