I Wasn't Expecting That

Food, glorious food! Hot sausage and mustard!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Cinnamon Stars...


Cinnamon Stars... Handmade gifts..

Makes 12 large stars or 30-40 smaller ones.


These stars, packed in crinkly cellophane, tied with some ribbon or raffia and given a pretty label, have got the whole ‘jingle bell rocks’ thing going on. They take a little time to make, as you need to rest the dough at a couple of stages, but you can use this time to deck the hall with boughs of holly. And you don’t need to stick to star shapes – anything Christmassy or even little hearts will go down well.


Ingredients
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 350g icing sugar, plus more to dust
  • 300-350g ground almonds (depending on egg size)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, plus more to dust 
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Method:

1.) Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl with a pinch of salt and the lemon juice. Slowly add the icing sugar while continuing to whisk until stiff and glossy. Put one third of the mixture in a separate bowl for the topping, cover and refrigerate until needed.

2.) Add 250g of the ground almonds (300g if you’re using large egg whites), the cinnamon and the lemon zest to the remaining meringue. Fold in with a spatula until well blended (at this stage it’s quite a wet mix). Cover with cling film and chill for 45 minutes.

3.) Sprinkle the remaining 50g of ground almonds on a clean dry work surface and tip the chilled mixture on top. Knead for a couple of minutes to form a sticky dough and then roll out to a thickness of half a centimetre. Spread the remaining meringue mixture across the top with a palette knife and leave to dry for an hour.

4.) Preheat the oven to 180oC/160oC fan /gas mark 4.

5.) Dip your star cutter in cold water to minimize sticking and cut out as many star shapes as you can and place them on baking sheets. In order to avoid wasting the off-cuts (which can’t be re-rolled because of the meringue topping), you can always bake them too, either just as they are or put together in patchwork shapes. They won’t be pretty enough to package up as gifts – but they taste just as good. Bake for 8–10 minutes on the lowest shelf of the oven. They are ready when the biscuit is brown and the meringue is slightly golden. Remove the cooked stars from the oven, place on a wire rack and leave them to cool.

6.) Once they are cool, dust with a little icing sugar and/or cinnamon to decorate and to stop them sticking together when packaged. Then you can store them in a tin till you need them or bag them up straight away. Clear cellophane and lots of ribbon look lovely, especially if you have some edible stardust to sprinkle into the bag. Or a pretty box lined with some coloured tissue paper also works well.


Guest post credits: Bills Restaurant.

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