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Austrian Cinnamon Stars

Cinnamon stars perfume the kitchen. They are favorites in Germany as well as Austria.

3 whites of large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups rolled oats
3 cups ground almonds
2 tablespoons cinnamon

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add about a third of the sugar and whisk it in. When the mixture looks glossy, add another third of the sugar and whisk it in until the mixture is glossy again. Whisk in the final third of the sugar, then the lemon juice and almond extract. Remove 3/4 cup of this meringue and put it in the refrigerator.

Put the rolled oats in a food processor and process briefly until they look like coarse meal. (If you don't have a food processor, use the oats as they are.) Fold them into the egg mixture along with the ground almonds and cinnamon. Stir the mixture into a stiff dough, form it into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with baking parchment. Place another sheet of parchment or wax paper on a counter, place the dough on it, and cover with another sheet. Roll out the dough between the sheets of parchment until it is 1/3 inch thick. Cut with a star-shape cookie cutter and transfer to the prepared cookie sheets with a spatula. With a small spatula or a flexible knife blade, spread about a teaspoonful of the reserved meringue on each star. Bake for 25 minutes.

Makes 48 to 60 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.

By Claire Hopley, Globe Correspondent

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