We have a quirky little gym in our office building complex; and when you go there as much as I do you get to know people really well. The ladies I see everyday, on the gym floor, are no longer just acquaintances but most definitely friends.
We are of course encouraging and supportive of each others fitness goals; but it's not always about working out. When we get into that locker room, we do what girls do best....chat. Yes, we talk about fitness and healthy things but we also, share recipes, talk about favorite restaurants and often times bring in food samples for each other.
That's how I got my first taste of Zimtstern, a traditional German cookie baked during the holiday season. Shaped like stars and topped with a meringue icing, these cookies were so delicious I knew I had to include them in my cookie tray this year.
I was able to get the recipe translated from my gym buddy Iris and immediately saw that there was at least one ingredient I wasn't sure where to buy....vanilla sugar. And although I know I can make almond meal by finely grinding almonds I just didn't want to. Iris, being the kind person she is, brought me in some of hers.
So I ventured out to Whole Foods....my go to place for harder to find ingredients. Instead of wandering aimlessly around the store I decided to go directly to Customer Service to inquire about the vanilla sugar. That's where I met Dan, who suggested I try vanilla powder, mixed with sugar. So I did; and it was perfect. One teaspoon of vanilla powder mixed with one cup of sugar. Kudo's to Dan and Iris for helping put together this recipe.
Check out Whole Foods for those hard to find ingredients on your list. Win a $25 gift card to get you started. Details below.
Zimtstern (Cinnamon Stars)
(courtesy of Iris)
2 egg whites
10.5 oz / 300 gr. ground almonds or almond meal
1 ¾ cups / 7 oz / 200 gr. powdered sugar
1 teaspoon / 4 gr. vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Separate the egg whites from the yolk (save yolks for another recipe) Beat the whites until hard. Slowly add the sifted powdered sugar and continue to beat until you have a nice creamy consistency.
Put 60g (about 5 tablespoons) of the mixture in a separate bowl (this will be your glaze).
Now add the vanilla sugar, cinnamon and almond meal. Depending on how sticky the dough gets you may not need to add ALL of the almond meal. It's best to mix the dough with your dough hooks or hands.
Dust your workspace with powdered sugar and roll out the dough about a third to half inch thick. Cut out the stars place them on a nonstick baking sheet and glaze them.
Bake at 250F for 25 minutes.
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