Alsatian Christmas Cinnamon Stars

Himmelgestirn

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Preparation info

  • Makes about

    7 dozen

    cookies
    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Classic Home Desserts

By Richard Sax

Published 1994

  • About

From Jean Joho, chef of Chicago’s Everest restaurant, an Alsatian specialty served on Christmas Eve. After a big family dinner and then midnight Mass, the family gathers back at home for warm mulled spiced wine and these cookies, the name of which means “little stars from the sky.”

These are very fine cookies, buttery but light. This recipe makes a lot; you can wrap and freeze half of the dough and then roll it out and bake the rest of the cookies at another time.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • cups ground blanched or unblanched almonds
  • 1 large egg
  • teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons minced candied orange peel or the grated zest of 1 orange
  • Grated zest of ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup kirsch, dark rum or brandy
  • 3⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten, for glaze

    Method

    1. With an electric mixer at medium speed, cream the butter with the sugar just until well combined. Add the almonds and egg and beat until light. Add the cinnamon, candied orange peel or orange zest, lemon zest and kirsch or other spirit; beat until smooth.
    2. In a small bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Add to the butter mixture and mix just until combined, no longer. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until quite firm, at least 1 hour.
    3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 2 or 3 baking sheets; set aside.
    4. Working with about ¼ of the dough at a time and keeping the remainder refrigerated, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of slightly less than ¼ inch. With a cutter, cut out stars or other shapes. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about ½ inch apart; roll out the remaining dough, including the scraps, and cut out cookies.
    5. Brush the cookies lightly with the egg glaze. Bake until lightly golden, usually 10 to 12 minutes.
    6. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to the rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.