Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Stars) CM's

They taste good fresh, but even better with age. Make them and stick them in a tin for a bit. They'll keep for at least 2 months. Also, don't be intimidated by the length of the directions, they're really not that hard.

2-3 cups finely ground almonds
1 1/2 Tbs. cinnamon
4 egg whites
4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice or kirsch
Granulated sugar for rolling out the dough

Line several baking sheets with parchment as set aside.

Combine 2 cups of the almonds with the cinnamon and set aside.

Beat the egg whites until frothy. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar and continue beating until stiff.

Stir about 2/3 of the egg whites into the almonds Add the lemon juice or kirsch to the almond-egg white mixture and stir to incorporate. Cover the remaining egg whites with a damp cloth so they don't dry out (though if it's a humid day this step is probably not strictly necessary :-)

Allow the almond dough to rest 10 minutes. After 10 minutes touch the surface and test it. You want it to be thick enough to roll out, but still slightly tacky to the touch. If it's too soft add a bit more ground almonds.

Sprinkle your work surface with granulated sugar and turn the dough out onto it. Pat and/or roll it until it is about 3/8 of an inch thick. Spread a thin layer of egg whites on top (do not use all the whites!), and cut into shapes with a star-shaped cookie cutter. I find dipping the cutter in cold water periodically helps prevent sticking. Place the stars on the prepared cookie sheets.

Gather up scraps, add enough ground almonds to make a stiff enough dough, then repeat. I usually wind up rolling the dough out 3 times before I run out of whites.

Allow the stars to air dry at room temperature overnight.

Preheat the oven to 275F and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the stars are firm and the glaze is dry. Do not let the glaze brown.