A classic German cookie, Zimsterne, or cinnamon stars, are a must for your holiday cookie trays. Similar to a macaroon, these cut out cookies are made with almonds, egg whites, sugar, and cinnamon. Plus, they're gluten and dairy free.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form (about 1-2 minutes). Add confectioner's sugar and beat until fully incorporated and glossy (about 2 minutes).
Reserve ⅓ cup of the egg white mixture (meringue) and set aside. This will be used to frost your cookies in a later step.
Add ground almonds, cinnamon, vanilla sugar, and salt to the meringue. Gently fold to incorporate ingredients. Mixture will be sticky. If it's too sticky to work with, add more ground nuts and confectioner's sugar.
Lay out a sheet of parchment paper (or use a clean surface) and dust with confectioner's sugar. Roll out dough to about ¼ inch thickness. If dough is sticky or difficult to roll, dust rolling pin and top of dough with more confectioner's sugar.
Cut with a star cookie cutter, or slice into diamond shapes with a knife. If cookie cutter is sticking, dip in water before cutting dough. Excess dough can be rerolled multiple times.
Transfer cookies to a parchment lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart, then brush the tops with the reserved meringue frosting.
Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned and the meringue topping is set and lightly browned.
Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before storing.
*If you do not have vanilla sugar and do not want to make your own, it can simply be omitted from this recipe.
Vanilla sugar can be purchased on Amazon, or you can make your own using vanilla extract.
How to make vanilla sugar: In a food processor, combine ¼ cup of granulated sugar with ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Spread it out to dry. Once dried, the sugar will be clumpy. Transfer back to the food processor and pulse until you have a sugar consistency again.
One packet of vanillezucker/vanillinzucker contains about 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla sugar. To make 24 cookies with this recipe, you will need 1 packet of vanilla sugar.