Friday, February 11, 2011

Zimtsterne: Dairy & Wheat-free Almond Cinnamon Cookies

These cookies were another great travel companion, back when I went to Seattle in November. I knew one of my hosts was allergic to dairy, so I decided to take a variety of goods with me, including this dairy- and wheat-free option.

Since it was nearing the holidays, this cinnamon almond cookie looked cozy to me, and the star shape happy (hence the Swiss German name: Cinnamon Stars). I was pleased to find that the result was chewy but not overly dense, despite being made of almond powder.

If you're wary of raw eggs, you could replace the egg white in the glaze with milk/soy milk, but I had no problem with the egg I used.

When I think of these cookies, I feel comforted and warm - give 'em a try, whether you're dairy-/wheat-free or not!

Cinnamon Stars, from David Lebovitz' Ready for Dessert

3 C (240 g) sliced almonds, preferably unblanched
1 C powdered sugar, plus more for rolling cookies out
1 T plus 1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 T honey
1 large egg white

1 1/3 C powdered sugar, or more if needed
1 large egg white
1 tsp kirsch or other clear brandy, or lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare a baking sheet.

Pulverize the almonds in a food processor with 1 C powdered sugar, the cinnamon, and salt until the almonds are finely ground. Add the honey and egg white and process until smooth. If it's dry and cracking, add a tiny bit of water and process until dough comes together (if using a blender, add the honey and egg white to the mixture in a bowl and knead by hand until smooth).

Dust a work surface with powdered sugar and roll out the dough 1/3 inch thick (no thinner). With a 6-point star cookie cutter about 2 inches in diameter (or other shape), cut out stars, and arrange them, evenly spaced, on the prepared baking sheet. Reroll the dough scraps, cut out as many cookies as you can, and place them on the baking sheet. Repeat until all dough is used.

Bake, rotating the baking sheet midway during baking, until the cookies are very lightly browned, about 12 minutes. They should be soft; don't overbake them. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.

To make the glaze, in a small bowl, mix together the 1 1/3 C powdered sugar and the egg white until smooth, then mix in the kirsch. The glaze should be quite thick, opaque, and almost hard to stir. If necessary, stir in additional powdered sugar to thicken.

Spread the glaze on the surface of each cookie. Sweep off some of the excess, but leave a layer just thick enough so that you can't see the cookie through it. Let the cookies rest until the glaze is completely dry.

These cookies will keep for at least 3 months in an airtight container.

And a little heart for Valentine's Day :).

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