Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Cookie Swap Reveal

Last month I joined a blog Christmas Cookie Swap - the rules were easy - sign up, get a partner, mail a recipe, get one back and make the cookies to share today.  

My friend, Deb, at Cooking on the Front Burner co-hosted the swap with White Lights on Wednesday blog.  I received my recipe in an email instead of snail mail, but it didn't matter to me!

I received my recipe to make from Jutta at Hungry Little Girl.  Here's what she had to say about the recipe and the cookies:
"This recipe for my German Cinnamon Stars is the original recipe from my grandpa - and he got it from his mother! So we are talking about an authentic, original piece of family history!

These cookies melt in your mouth and I am pretty much begging you to bake them, because they are so unbelievably amazing. They literally melt in your mouth, the seconds you start eating them! 

The cookies will come out very soft, but that is normal, so don't worry ;) 
You will be so surprised how those 5 ingredients turn into THE BEST Christmas cookies you will ever have! "

There were a few things I wasn't sure about in her recipe instructions, so hopefully Jutta will weigh-in and clarify the questions.

You need 7 ounces of ground walnuts.  (Here's the first question.... 7 ounces before grinding, or after?)  It's a huge difference!

I used my food processor to grind the first batch...

Then, just for the fun of it, I tried grinding them in my BlendTec too.
For the record, there wasn't any difference in the results.

To the ground walnuts you add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.

Next combine and beat 2 egg whites with 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar until fluffy.
My mixture didn't seem very fluffy even after beating it with my Kitchen-Aid for several minutes.
I'm not sure what "fluffy" should have looked like in this recipe, and wondered if I should have beat the egg whites til they were frothy and gradually add the sugar would make a difference.

So, I tried beating the egg whites first.

I didn't notice much of a difference with the final product.

Next I combined the nut mixture with 2/3 of the egg white mixture.
The recipe says to "knead" the mixture til combined.  My mixture was waaay too sticky to knead.

This mixture goes into the fridge for an hour before baking.

No pictures of the following steps because my fingers/hands were very messy!

After chilling, the dough gets patted/pressed into a 1/2 inch thick pad of dough.  I had to use a good deal of powdered sugar to "flour" my counter and added it to the dough to keep it from being too sticky.

Cutting the star shapes worked fine once I got the dough to the right consistency, but I feared it would alter the recipe too much.

With a pastry brush, I added the "icing" from the remaining egg white mixture to the stars and baked.
Recipe instructs to bake for 12 minutes, but open the oven with a wood spoon in stuck in door after 8 minutes.  I was conflicted on whether to shut off the oven at this point, or just keep it on for the remaining 4 minutes.

The finished product was VERY good, though I'm not sure they are the exact consistency they should be.
I have a recipe for German Chocolate pie that has a crust made about the same way and it is very light and fluffy, these were a little more dense.

Being of German descent, I was very intrigued with this recipe.  I will probably make it again, but want to be sure I do it right!  If I hear from Jutta, I'll pass on the information!

Thanks for hosting the swap Deb!
Jutta ... would love to have your input on my questions!

Here's a link to Almond Glazed Sugar Cookies it's a family favorite, and what I submitted to the swap.  We made them for our daughter's wedding.


  1. My grandmother made this every year. I miss her crazy German shenanigans in the kitchen! Aren't they delicious!?

  2. well... they DO look good, but I can see how parts of the recipe were confusing. I look forward to seeing if Jutta chimes in and answers your questions.

  3. They do look good - what recipe did you send to someone...the person I sent to did not make them :-(

    1. I sent the almond glazed sugar cookies. We had them at Cara's wedding.

  4. Anonymous12:36 PM CST

    I love those almond glazed sugar cookies Cheri! Would you share that recipe with your favorite sister-in-law? ; )

  5. Anonymous12:01 PM CST

    What temperature is the oven supposed to be?

    1. 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes total. Here's a link I found to a similar recipe

  6. Anonymous10:45 PM CDT

    Having made German cookies many times with my Grandmother, I think you will find "fluffy" in this instance means beating the egg whites stiff before gradually adding the sugar. I have also seen this batter accomplished by mixing the sugar in with the nut mixture, beating the egg whites stiff, and then folding the egg whites gently into the nut mixture just until combined. I hope this helps you.


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