12.15.2008

Christmas Cookies II


Cinnamon Cookies

Source: Lecker Sonderheft 2008 No.1

Ingredients:

250g confectioners` sugar
3 egg whites
salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. lemon zest *
350g ground hazelnuts
flour
freezer bag (or piping bag, if you have one)
parchment paper

Instructions:

1) Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper. Whisk egg whites and a pinch of salt, while slowly sieving in the confectioners`sugar. Fill 6-8 Tblsp. of beaten egg whites in freezer bag and set aside. Mix cinnamon, zest and hazelnuts. Fold in beaten egg whites.

2) Spread some flour on a workbench and roll out the dough to 1 cm thickness (a bit less than 1/2 inch). Cut out cookies. Dip cookie cutter repeatedly in flour. (prevents dough from sticking) Yields about 50.

3) Preheat oven to 150°C / 125°C convection oven / gas mark 1-2. Set cookies on sheet pan. Cut off one corner from freezer bag. Pipe icing on cookies and spread with a knife. Bake for approximately 15 min. Set aside to cool.

* I used the zest from one lemon. This really lets the lemon flavour stand out, but not unpleaaently so. I think 1 tsp. is not enough.

Traditionally these cookies are made with star-shaped cookie cutters. (just do a Google Image search for "Zimtsterne") As this seemed too fussy to me, I decided to just roll small balls and press them onto the parchment paper. The dough is quite sticky and the whole process was more messy than anticipated. So maybe using cookie cutters is the new unfussy? Also I think I`m beginning to see the point of using cookie cutters to achieve some optical variety. I will take this as the take-home lesson for next years Christmas. :) You can increase the messiness and turn your kitchen into a battlefield winter wonderland, if you have a stupidly designed hand mixer like me.
The power switch shifts from zero to the right, linearly increasing the speed via settings marked 1-2-3-4-5. To the left there is just one setting marked M (for "maximum surprise effect" or some such), which equals about 8 on the scale of the right side. As the egg whites stiffened, I lifted the mixer out, letting the whites ooze below it, further lifting and reducing the speed ever...so...gently. WHAM! AFTERBURNER MODE kicks in and sends the sticky, stiff egg whites flying. *sigh* Kitchen appliances designed by someone who probably never ever actually uses them. Don`t you just love it.
The icing should be spread on the cookies. However, due to its stickyness this will leave about half the icing on the knife and only half on the cooky. So I went with the "pointy hat"-approach you can see in the picture above. These are seriously good cookies. They taste great straight from the oven, no need to let them rest for some days. If the combination of cinnamon and lemon
sounds even vaguely attractive to you, you should make a double batch right away.

Coming up next: lemon cookies.

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