In nearly every German home kitchen, there is frantic and almost competitive baking going on during the lead-up to Christmas to produce the prettiest, tastiest and largest selection of Christmas goodies (or "Weihnachts-Plaetzchen"). The cinnamon star is kind of the Rolls Royce of the Christmas goodies platter as it looks very elegant with its shiny white coating and it is utterly delicious, but also a bit tricky and fiddly to make. However, we think it's well worth the effort and are so pleased that our diners liked them so much. Find the recipe and a few tips and tricks below.
- 200g almonds with their skin on
- 30g marzipan (optional)
- 150g icing sugar
- 2 egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon, or slightly more if you like a strong cinnamon flavour
- 1tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp rum (optional)
Now comes the tricky part as the dough is very sticky and fragile.
Roll out the dough between clingfilm or baking paper to a thickness of about 1 cm. Using a shaped cutter, cut out star shapes and carefully place them on a baking sheet line with baking paper. Carry on until all the dough has been used. Using a palette knife or the back of a teaspoon, spread a good layer of the reserved meringue onto each star, making sure all spikes are covered. Leave to dry in a cool airy place for 12h. Bake the stars in a medium oven (160°C) for 5-8 min but watch them as they darken very easily. Leave to cool completely.
A few tips:
- Use almonds with their skins. This is important for the flavour but also to create the dark colour of the dough, which contrasts so well with the white meringue icing.
- Adding marzipan and rum gives the star that extra-bit of luxury, however they are equally tasty without.
- Covering the stars with baking paper while baking may be required to prevent the icing from colouring.
- Why not try different shapes? Hearts are much more straight-forward to cut out and just as pretty.
- Finally, when stored in an air-tight container, these goodies last for several weeks (if they make it that far). Ours didn't...