Alsatian Christmas Stars

Makes about 60 cookies

Jacquy Pfeiffer is an award-winning pastry chef, culinary teacher, and co-owner of the French Pastry School in Chicago. He is from the Alsace region of France, and this is his mother’s recipe. These Christmas stars, made with cinnamon-scented almond butter dough that is rolled out, cut into star shapes, and topped with an egg glaze before being baked, are popular throughout Alsace and Germany. They keep well, so they are a good choice to make ahead for the holidays.

Cinnamon cookies:

Picture of Alsatian Christmas Cookies

Alsatian Christmas Cookie

  • 1 ½ cups blanched almonds
  • 2 ¾ cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg

Glaze:

  • 1 large egg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons coarse or granulated sugar

Special equipment: 3 “ star shaped cookie cutter (measured from one point to an opposite point)

Place the almonds, cake flour, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until the nuts are finely ground, about 30 seconds.

In an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until well blended, about two minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the egg. At low speed, add the dry ingredients one-third at a time and mix just until blended. Scrape the dough out onto a work surface and shape into two disks. Wrap each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until chilled (or up to 3 days).

Position two racks near the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 3000 F. Lightly grease two baking sheets.

Lightly flour a work surface. Remove one of the disks of dough from the refrigerator. It will be very firm. Pound it a few times with a rolling pin to soften it, then roll it out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Using a 3 inch star shaped cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible from the dough. Carefully transfer the cookies to one of the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Gather the scraps of the dough together, flatten them into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to roll out. Reroll the scraps one time only to make more cookies. Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the remaining dough.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and salt until blended. Using a pastry brush, brush the cookies with the glaze. Sprinkle with the sugar.

Bake the cookies, two sheets at a time for 17 to 22 minutes or until they are set and their bottoms are evenly golden brown; switch the positions of the baking sheets halfway through for even baking. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on wire racks for about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the racks and cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

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