Andover Cooks Share Favorites: Zimtsterne (German Cinnamon Stars)

Recipe from The New German Cookbook

By Pecco Beaufays, Highland Lake Inn
Zimtsterne, or German Cinnamon stars, are a Christmas favorite made with ground nuts and holiday spices. The lemony glaze complements and enhances the overall taste. Photo: Shelley Geoghegan

This recipe for Zimtsterne, German for Cinnamon Stars, is from The New German Cookbook written in the 1980s by my long-time best friend, Hedy Wuerz, who sadly left us many years ago. Hedy was the Director Public Relations for the German National Tourism Office in New York City during the 1980s and 1990s. She developed this book in cooperation with Jean Anderson, a renowned cookbook author from North Carolina, and many Michelin Star Chefs in Germany, and Harper Collins Publisher who published the book in 1993. Also included in the book are family recipes collected by Hedy.

recipe for about 48 cookies
1.5 stick unsalted butter
2/3rd cup granulated sugar
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
One and 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 extra-large egg yolks
1 cup finely ground blanched almonds
1 cup finely ground Walnuts
1 2/3rd cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups unsifted confectioner’s sugar blended with 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice for the glaze

Cream the butter, granulated sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large electric mixer bowl at high speed for about two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.
Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the egg yolks and beat for one minute. Add the almonds, walnuts, and the flour and beat at lowest mixer speed just enough to combine.

Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a ball, then flatten into a six inch circle. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours, or, better yet, overnight.

When ready to proceed, preheat the oven to 350 F

Roll each half of the dough to a thickness of 1/8 of an inch between sheets of lightly flowered wax paper. Slide the papers of dough onto a baking sheet, set in the freezer, and chill for five minutes so that the dough will be easier to cut. Very gently peel off the top sheet of wax paper. Using a lightly floured 2 3/4 inch star cutter, cut into cookies right on the bottom sheet of wax paper, then, using a lightly floured spatula, carefully transfer the cookies to lightly greased baking sheets, spacing one inch apart.

Bake the cookies in the middle of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on wire racks for eight minutes.

Glazing the cookies:
1 1/2 cups unsifted confectioner’s sugar blended with 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice for the glaze

Using a pastry brush, brush the still warm cookies with a thin wash of glaze. let the glaze harden and apply a second thin layer. Once the glaze has hardened, layer the cookies between sheets of wax paper and store in an airtight container.