I goofed these up this year. I did. Me, myself. I would love to say I don't know what happened, or blame it on oh, weak protein strands in the egg whites or something, but that would be lying, and I can't do that.
Everything was fine at first.
I measured out my almonds, hazelnuts and zest-of-one-lemon and ran them all through the food processor together.
And then I whipped up my egg whites. I even added a pinch of cream of tartar this year to stabilize the meringue. A LOT OF GOOD THAT DID ME! But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Nearly as pretty as snow, huh? Egg whites and powdered sugar.
And then…like magic…meringue.
And then it's just a matter of folding in the ground nut mixture…
and then into the fridge to chill for a bit.
And there's where I caused the ruin of this year's almond stars. I didn't just leave the batter/dough/whatever you'd call it in the fridge for a bit. Or even overnight, which is acceptable. No, I left it in there for two nights. And I think, during that time, the strength and structure of my meringue got tired and gave out. The mixture still looked fine, but it just wasn't right. It seemed…wetter…when I rolled it out. And when I tried to place the stars onto a cookie sheet, they didn't hold their shape – they just became mushy blobs.
But again, I am leaping ahead.
To roll these out (when you don't leave them in the fridge too long), you sprinkle granulated sugar down on your counter instead of flour.
And then, working with small amounts at a time, you gently roll out the meringue dough to about a quarter of an inch thick and then cut your stars out and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
That's the plan, anyway. And then you lightly brush them with an egg white wash before baking.
But when you're me, and you do something stupid like leaving the mixture in the fridge for two days, then you switch gears and just spoon dollops of meringue onto your parchment and bake little almond…moons, I guess.
Let these cookies (whatever shape they are) cool on the parchment completely, and then, to remove them, carefully pull the parchment over the edge of the pan to loosen them and keep pulling slowly until you can successfully remove the cookie without breaking it.
Here's what they look like on the back, in case you're interested.
They taste just fine – nutty and light and crispy with a little bit of chewy center. They just look incorrect. You can eat them as-is, or you could sandwich two together with some melted chocolate. Or nutella, maybe.
Whatever you do, though, use the dough sooner than I did, so you actually get stars, like you're supposed to.
If you'd like to see last year's post, in which I didn't do so well either, but I did better than this year, plus at the very end there's a picture of the PREVIOUS (2006) year's cookies which were amazingly done CORRECTLY, then click here.
And if you want a printable version of this recipe, so you can attempt these yourself and do better than I've done and then write to me and LAUGH AND LAUGH AND LAUGH…then click here.