Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Stars)

A light and lovely nutty meringue cookie. Adapted from germanfoods.org. Note: zimtsterne taste best the day after baking.

1½ c blanched almonds, finely ground
1 t ground cinnamon
¾ t grated lemon zest
¼ c egg whites (about 2 large)
pinch salt
1½ c icing sugar
about ½ cup additional icing sugar for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine nuts, cinnamon, and zest. Beat the egg whites on low until foamy, about 30 seconds. Add salt, increase the speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually and beat until stiff and glossy, 5 to 8 minutes. Reserve one-third of the meringue (about ⅓ cup) and fold the nut mixture into the remaining meringue.

Prepare a clean work surface with a large piece of waxed paper and sprinkle with some of the reserved sugar. Place dough on the paper, sprinkle with a bit more sugar, them top with a second piece of waxed paper. Roll out dough to approx ¼-inch thick. Remove the top piece of waxed paper and cut out cookies using a star-shaped cookie cutter. Dip the cutter into water when it becomes sticky. Reroll and cut any scraps. Place on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Spread the reserved meringue on top of the cookies and bake until the tops are very lightly coloured, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool. Store in a cookie tin for up to 3 weeks.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.