Some say these tasty cinnamon cookies are originally from southern Germany. Others say they come from the north-east of Switzerland, around St-Gallen. Wherever they are from no Christmas cookies jar is complete without them.
- 350g almonds (I like to start with sliced almonds)
- 3 fresh egg whites (or 90ml – 3x 1/8 cup if you buy egg whites)
- one pinch of salt
- 250g confectioner sugar
- Traditional flavoring is 22.5ml (1-1/2 tbsp) of cinnamon powder and 10 ml (1 tsp) of lemon zest. To get the zest I cut the outer lemon (only the yellow portion of the rind) like peeling an apple and run it in a high speed chopper.
- It is possible to use 7.5ml (1/2 tbs) of lemon juice, but it will affect the egg white stiffness.
- Another alternative is to use 7.5ml (1/2 tbsp) of Kirsch.
- I have not yet tried with tangerine or orange zest. If you find a good variation, please comment on this blog post.
- Grind the almond. I prefer coarse grinding for these cookies.
- Beat the egg whites very stiff.
- Add in the salt toward the end of the beating.
- Amalgamate the sugar into the egg whites and stir to a creamy consistence. Set aside a small quantity (about 0.75dl) for the frosting.
- Mix in the flavoring and the almonds.
- Prepare your baking sheets. Cover them with either a silicone mat (my preference) or baking paper.
- Roll out the dough on a flat and dry surface to approximately 3/8 inch (1cm) thick.
- Use a metal cookie cutter to cut shapes. Dip it into fresh cold water before every cut to prevent sticking. The dough might be liquid – this was the most challenging dough for my apprentice and he’ll have to practice more next year.
- Let the cookies rest / dry for about 6 hours or overnight in a dry place free of draft.
- Brush the cookies with the white frosting set aside previously while pre-heating the oven.
- Bake for 35 minutes at 360°F on the silicone mat or for 30 minutes at 360°F on the baking paper in the middle of the oven (third level from below in my oven). You may need to adjust temperature and time to fit your oven.
- After baking, let the cookies rest for about 30 minutes, then carefully remove. If you used the silicon mat, the cookies may still be wet underneath. Put them upside down to dry for ten minutes before putting them in a cookie jar. If the cookies are too wet underneath, keep them longer in the oven.
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