No chocolate today, but a recipe for Christmas cookies.
Some years ago, after a trip home when I had brought back with me a notebook of Christmas recipes that I had copied out by hand as a teenager, I started the tradition of giving home-baked Christmas cookies as gifts to my in-laws, friends and co-workers.
I tried this recipe for Zimtsterne for the first time last year. Zimtsterne means cinnamon stars, and these are supposed to be traditional Christmas cookies from Switzerland. As you will see in the photo, they didn't turn out quite as they were supposed to, but they were nevertheless delicious, and have been added to my repertoire of Christmas baking favourites. Enjoy.
recipe from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, ca. 1970.
3 T. butter
1 1/2 c. caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg, separated
1 t. lemon juice
2 1/3 c. plain flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/4 t.cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/2 c. walnuts, finely chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 375 F.
Mix the butter, sugar, 2 eggs, 1 egg yolk and the lemon juice and beat until fluffy.
Sift together the flour and the dry ingredients.
Blend the flour mixture into the sugar mixture. Stir in the walnuts.
Roll out one third of the dough at a time to a thickness of 1/16" on a lightly floured board. Cut out cookies with a star cutter.
Beat the remaining egg white until frothy. Brush the tops of the cookies with the beaten egg white.
Bake on well-greased baking sheets for about 8 minutes.
Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
I found that the dough was very sticky, even after being chilled in the refrigerator, and in any case I didn't have a star-shaped cookie cutter. So I decided to make them as drop cookies. I dropped small teaspoonsful of the dough onto the greased cookie sheets and omitted the egg-white glaze.
Be careful when removing the cookies from the baking sheets, they have a tendency to tear or stick to the baking trays on the bottom.
The result was a crisp cookie, essentially a walnut macaroon, with a subtle cinnamon flavor.