Can someone pinch me, please? Christmas season really is behind us already? There are just about a couple more weeks until Valentine’s Day!!
This must be a sign of me getting old(er). I remember a few years back, when my husband and I were still dating (long distance), the time between Christmas and Valentine’s Day seemed to stretch out forever.
You see, Konrad usually came to visit me in Kelowna over the Christmas holidays and I went to visit him the week around Valentine’s Day because it always fell together with reading break in university.
I almost feel nostalgic looking back but I wouldn’t wish these years back – being apart from the someone you are madly in love with is never fun.
This winter I kind of missed out on a lot of Christmassy stuff. I was too busy running to the nearest bathroom with morning sickness that Christmas baking didn’t even happen. I wasn’t going to let the same happen for Valentine’s Day. Cookie baking is on!
These cookies are derived from the German Christmas cookies called Zimtsterne. It literally means ‘cinnamon stars‘. So you can guess that I am deviating from tradition by making them in heart shapes for Valentine’s Day. Woahh… I feel rebellious!
The traditional recipe is naturally gluten free as it uses only almond flour with a healthy punch of cinnamon. And it is also dairy-free since there is no butter or any other added fat.
These cookies have a wonderfully chewy texture in the center with crisp edges and a beautiful meringue crunch on top. Of course the star shaped Christmas cookies don’t usually have pink tops.
Coloring the meringue pink is just another way I am deviating and rebelling to make these cookies fit for Valentine’s Day. I even sprinkled some edible heart glitter on a few of the cookies.
I remember making Zimtsterne as a child in Germany and they were kind of difficult to make, because the dough was so sticky.
To my surprise I didn’t have any of these issues with this recipe that I found on the Seaside Baker’s blog. I think the key is to use only as much of the meringue mixture as is needed to hold the dough together.
By the way – I should put a disclaimer in right now. These cookies are by no means fast to make. First the rolled dough has to be chilled before cutting out shapes. Then the cut cookies are brushed with or dipped in the meringue (I found dipping easier and cleaner).
Now the biggest bummer: the cut and dipped cookies have to dry anywhere from 3 hours to overnight before you can bake them.
Please, don’t let that keep you from making these gluten free Almond Cinnamon Heart Cookies. They are entirely and totally worth it!!
- Beat the egg white with an electric mixer until stiff. Slowly add the powdered sugar on low speed until incorporated and meringue is glossy.
- Set ¾ of the meringue aside and cover. Fold the almond flour, cinnamon and almond extract into remaining meringue. If the mixture seems too dry, add more meringue one tablespoon at a time until a smooth dough ball forms.
- Roll the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper about ¼ - ½ inch thick. Refrigerate dough disk for 1 hour.
- Cut out small heart (or other) shapes and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Clean cookie cutter if it starts to stick.
- Colour the remaining meringue with a little red or pink food coloring. Either brush the meringue over the cookies or dip the cookies into the meringue and tap off excess. Dry cookies at room temperature from 3 hours to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 340 F and bake cookies for 7 minutes.
Recipe adapted from The Seaside Baker