These little Xmas biscuits are one of my annual german festive bakes - a tradition which goes back as far as I can remember. There would always be a frenzy of baking around December in our household producing a variety of very traditional and some new biscuits and cakes, and always a double nut and spice bill at the supermarket !
It was always such a treat to have a stack of tins and containers in the cupboard, full of biscuits to choose from right into January..
These are an adaptation of the more traditional cinnamon star, with an Aussie twist of macadamia nuts for delicious taste and texture and a little pinch of white pepper for extra kick.
165g raw caster sugar
2 egg whites (large)
200g whole almonds
50g macadamia nuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch of white pepper (ground)
1/2 teaspoon concentrated vanilla essence
a good pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup pure icing sugar
Star shaped cookie cutters. You can use one or a variety of sizes
Preheat the oven to 120 degrees Celsius, fan forced.
Grind the almonds with their skins on and the macadamia nuts, leaving the macadamia nuts a little coarser. I use the small bowl of a food processor to do this.
In a small bowl, mix together the nuts, cinnamon, white pepper, salt and vanilla.
Place the sugar and egg whites in a clean, dry heat proof mixing bowl. Whisk them over a saucepan of boiling water which has been set a low heat until quite warm to touch and the sugar has largely dissolved. Make sure the water doesn’t boil or the mixture doesn’t become hot. Also make sure no water gets into the mix.
Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer or use a hand held beater and whisk until a thick meringue has formed. Keep whisking until the mixture has cooled down.
Remove two tablespoons of meringue from the bowl and set aside in a smaller bowl.
Empty the nut and spice mix into the remaining meringue and mix until all combined and a ball of dough has formed. It will be a-bit sticky but should all come together.
Sift a good quantity of icing sugar onto a bench. Roll out the dough to around 1/2 cm thick, sprinkling on more icing sugar over the top of the dough if it starts to stick to the rolling pin.
Cut out star shapes and place the biscuits onto a lined or non stick baking tray. You will need two trays.
Mix about a teaspoon of cold water into the reserved meringue until you have a runny, spreadable meringue mixture. It needs to be runny enough to spread, but not so runny that dribbles over the edge of the biscuits.
Use a teaspoon to spread a thin layer of meringue onto each biscuit. Try and get to the edges if possible. This does take a-bit of time, but the icing part is then done !
Bake the biscuits for 25 minutes or until they have just become crisp up with a little give when pressed in the base. If they are starting to brown, turn the oven down by 10-20 degrees celsius.
Cool the biscuits on a wire cooling rack then either serve or store in an airtight container.
These biscuits store well and will continue to develop in flavour over time.