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blazedog
11-07-2005, 12:39 PM
I saved this recipe from yesterday's LA Times It was from a spread on Hans ROckenwagner's potato party and when I glanced at the ingredients I thought hmm why not -- nuts etc. -- what could be bad.

When I looked at it more closely, it calls for creating a merengue and then rolling it out -- I have never seen this kind of preparation. I have enough trouble rolling normal cookie cutter type dough out. Generally I think of merengue and folded in nuts as producing a merengue which is dropped or piped.

So what do you real cookie experts think -- impossible recipe?

Cinnamon Stars

Makes about 50 cookies

4 medium-size egg whites
9 ounces powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 ounces finely ground almonds
9 ounces finely ground hazelnuts

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Whip the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer until frothy. Add the powdered sugar little by little until combined. Add the salt, lemon juice and cinnamon. Whip until soft peaks form. Set aside 1/3 of the egg white mixture. Fold the nuts into the remaining 2/3 of the egg white mixture and let sit for 5 minutes. Cover and chill for 15 minutes. Take a small amount of the mixture out of the refrigerator and place between two well-floured pieces of parchment paper. Roll it out to no thicker than 1/4 inch. Cut out with a star-shaped cookie cutter and place on a nonstick baking sheet or a Silpat-lined baking sheet. Apply a thin layer of the remaining egg white mixture over each cookie with a pastry brush. Bake for about 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.

donleyk
11-07-2005, 01:05 PM
Roll it out to no thicker than 1/4 inch. Cut out with a star-shaped cookie cutter and place on a nonstick baking sheet or a Silpat-lined baking sheet. Apply a thin layer of the remaining egg white mixture over each cookie with a pastry brush. Bake for about 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.

As I am no expert, this seems contradicting, doesn't it? I wonder why they don't have you just pipe it out into star shapes anyway, like you mentioned.

I think if I did try the recipe and the dough would pipe I would just do that.

Was there a photo with the article?

Edited....
Ohhhhh, okay, I see now where you do set aside 1/3 of the mix....

grill_friend
11-07-2005, 10:43 PM
Why not contact the LA Times? I contacted the LA times directly once and they gave me an answer to my question. If there is a lot of confusion with a recipe I have seen them re-print it with a correction.

Beth
11-07-2005, 10:50 PM
Never seen that kind of technique, but if the instructions are correct, I am thinking that you have enough sugar in with those egg whites to make a pretty thick.stable meringue. You chill it, which will further stabalize it. Rolling it seems to flatten what you just whipped -- not what you ould think of, but I bet you get a very different texture than you would by piping. I would expect it to be light, but less airy -- possibly crisy, possibly chewy. I have to wonder if this was discovered by accident or just a search for something different. I find it very intriguing. I think one of us has to try it. ;)

blazedog
11-08-2005, 09:30 AM
Never seen that kind of technique, but if the instructions are correct, I am thinking that you have enough sugar in with those egg whites to make a pretty thick.stable meringue. You chill it, which will further stabalize it. Rolling it seems to flatten what you just whipped -- not what you ould think of, but I bet you get a very different texture than you would by piping. I would expect it to be light, but less airy -- possibly crisy, possibly chewy. I have to wonder if this was discovered by accident or just a search for something different. I find it very intriguing. I think one of us has to try it. ;)

My rolling skills are so "challenged" that I just don't think I'm the appropriate test pilot. I only work with classic type cutter dough and even then I need all the help I can get. :D

Kathy B
11-08-2005, 10:46 AM
For this "rolling", though, you put the dough between two pieces of floured parchment paper. I think that would make it pretty simple as you wouldn't have to shift the dough around or have it sticking to the rolling pin. You are more or less just flattening it out to "no more than" 1/4 inch thickness. Should make it easier, even for dough-rolling imparied cooks. ;)

blazedog
11-08-2005, 10:57 AM
For this "rolling", though, you put the dough between two pieces of floured parchment paper. I think that would make it pretty simple as you wouldn't have to shift the dough around or have it sticking to the rolling pin. You are more or less just flattening it out to "no more than" 1/4 inch thickness. Should make it easier, even for dough-rolling imparied cooks. ;)

For those of us who are rolling impaired, even rolling between parchment paper is difficult. :D I tried it last Christmas complete with my silicone rolling pan and (at least for me :D ) the reality was more difficult than it appeared on paper -- the parchment paper creased, rumpled and wrinkled to start with and I recall some actual rips -- I am also pie dough impaired - and cutting cakes in layers impaired -- I could go on. :D

Kathy B
11-08-2005, 11:06 AM
Maybe you could join the BB cookies swap, and ask your swap partner to make them! :p

Beth
11-08-2005, 12:17 PM
My rolling skills are so "challenged" that I just don't think I'm the appropriate test pilot. I only work with classic type cutter dough and even then I need all the help I can get. :D

You're taunting me, aren't you? ;)

hAndyman
11-08-2005, 03:41 PM
The recipe you have, blazedog, is one for a traditional Christmas cookie from Germany and/or Switzerland and/or that region. Here's a similar tried & true version that is my wife's favourite Christmas cookie - and indeed it is excellent. The method is somewhat different than the one in your recipe but it does work, and the results are a cinnamon-lover's dream. The Swiss student who lived with us for a year was familiar with them and loved this version.

Zimt Stars (Cinnamon Stars)

- a recipe from Silvia's mother, who came to Canada from Switzerland and likely got the recipe from her mother who still lives there.
- my equivalent Imperial measures and substitutes are given in (brackets)

3 egg whites, at room temperature
300 g white sugar (about 1-1/2 cups)
350 g ground almonds (about 4 cups)
15 g cinnamon (about 2 Tbs)
1 Tbs kirsch (or rye, brandy, cherry brandy, Cointreau, etc.)

Icing:
100 g icing sugar
1 egg white

Beat egg whites in a large bowl until stiff. Mix sugar, almonds and cinnamon in a medium or large bowl. Add kirsch or other liquor to egg whites and mix in, then add dry ingredients and mix until the dough is well-combined. Spread a pastry board with granulated sugar and roll dough out on the sugar to about 3/16" or 4/16" (1/4") thickness (that's the traditional method; icing sugar can also be used to roll the dough). Cut into stars (or any other shape) and place on parchment-lined baking sheets (or buttered and floured sheets), fairly close together as they don't spread much when cooking. Allow to dry 3 to 6 hours (or overnight) at room temperature, uncovered. When ready to bake, mix icing: beat egg white and icing sugar together. Brush cookies with the icing; then bake at 375 for 8 to 12 (or more) minutes, depending on size, thickness and shape (rounds take longer than equal-sized stars, for instance). The finished cookie will be fairly hard and may have a slight chewyness to it.
Makes about 56 - 3" stars.

blazedog
11-08-2005, 03:54 PM
You're taunting me, aren't you? ;)

Yo rolling pin wears army boots. :D

blazedog
11-08-2005, 03:55 PM
The recipe you have, blazedog, is one for a traditional Christmas cookie from Germany and/or Switzerland and/or that region. Here's a similar tried & true version that is my wife's favourite Christmas cookie - and indeed it is excellent. The method is somewhat different than the one in your recipe but it does work, and the results are a cinnamon-lover's dream. The Swiss student who lived with us for a year was familiar with them and loved this version.

Zimt Stars (Cinnamon Stars)

- a recipe from Silvia's mother, who came to Canada from Switzerland and likely got the recipe from her mother who still lives there.
- my equivalent Imperial measures and substitutes are given in (brackets)

3 egg whites, at room temperature
300 g white sugar (about 1-1/2 cups)
350 g ground almonds (about 4 cups)
15 g cinnamon (about 2 Tbs)
1 Tbs kirsch (or rye, brandy, cherry brandy, Cointreau, etc.)

Icing:
100 g icing sugar
1 egg white

Beat egg whites in a large bowl until stiff. Mix sugar, almonds and cinnamon in a medium or large bowl. Add kirsch or other liquor to egg whites and mix in, then add dry ingredients and mix until the dough is well-combined. Spread a pastry board with granulated sugar and roll dough out on the sugar to about 3/16" or 4/16" (1/4") thickness (that's the traditional method; icing sugar can also be used to roll the dough). Cut into stars (or any other shape) and place on parchment-lined baking sheets (or buttered and floured sheets), fairly close together as they don't spread much when cooking. Allow to dry 3 to 6 hours (or overnight) at room temperature, uncovered. When ready to bake, mix icing: beat egg white and icing sugar together. Brush cookies with the icing; then bake at 375 for 8 to 12 (or more) minutes, depending on size, thickness and shape (rounds take longer than equal-sized stars, for instance). The finished cookie will be fairly hard and may have a slight chewyness to it.
Makes about 56 - 3" stars.

Andy -- Since it appears you've actually baked these, what is the consistency of the dough - I just can't picture any merengue I've worked with being rollable -- what am I missing?

hAndyman
11-08-2005, 08:41 PM
It's a very thick and workable dough, not too difficult to roll, though a bit sticky with all the sugar and egg whites. We use lots of sugar when rolling them. They're not at all like you are thinking, not at all like meringue after adding all the sugar and ground nuts. There is no other liquid and no fat (other than what's in the almonds of course) so the eggwhite holds it all together but is basically lost to the eye, if you get my drift.
The cookies themselves are crispy and chewy and become crispier and harder over the weeks if left that long (and remain quite good, I might add). A very European Christmas cookie!
If you do decide to try your recipe (or mine) I wish you good luck, happy eating, and do share some of your good fortune with some friends!

Beth
11-09-2005, 12:16 AM
Thanks Andy. I was thinking I might make these with almonds and sub foe the hazlenuts, ao Maybe I;ll just try the one you posted. I am going o have to try them.

hAndyman
11-09-2005, 12:05 PM
You're welcome, Beth. If you make them I hope you enjoy them - they are quite different from what we North Americans think of as Christmas cookies, are really good, and are gluten free (as long as starch-free icing (confectioner's) sugar is used) - another plus for some people.