People serve many kinds of cookies and candies to guests on Chinese New Year. Walnut cookies are often included.
Among my German friends, there may be no Christmas cookie more popular than the beautiful Zimtsterne: thick and chewy star-shaped cookies topped with a drift of white meringue that shatters under your teeth. Just the mention of them never fails to elicit deep longing sighs and a faraway look in people’s eyes. Flavored only with cinnamon and the naturally toasty flavor of roasted almonds, Zimtsterne are a study in what is possible with simple ingredients and a little elbow grease. Making Zimtsterne requires some stamina. The dough is sticky, fine motor skills are required for painting on the meringue, and you need lots of counter space to let them dry overnight before baking them. But the effort is all worthwhile. There is much debate about how to bake Zimtsterne so that the cookie stays soft and chewy and the meringue as white as possible. I’ve tried every method out there, but find that drying the cookies overnight and then baking them briefly is the best way.
Once fully cooled, Springerle must be stored in airtight containers, where they will keep for months. Do not eat them right away; they need time to develop their flavor and, more important, their texture. When they are freshly made, in the first few weeks or so, they will be crunchy on the outside but, when pressed, their crust will shatter slightly, giving way to a soft interior. As time goes on, they will get harder and harder, eventually getting so hard that you’ll be able to eat them only after dunking them in hot tea. I prefer Springerle when they get this hard, but others prefer to keep them soft. To do so, store the cookies with a piece of bread or a chunk of apple, which will supply them with moisture and keep them soft (replace the bread or apple every few days) .
Dorie Greenspan: "What I know for sure is that everyone who has these cookies smiles and smiles are pretty powerful."
It’s hard to decide what’s best about this cookie. The texture’s a definite attention-grabber: It has a slight flakiness at first and then it’s all melt. The flavors of the rosemary and Parmesan, one of those meant-to-be matches, are front and center.
Never underestimate the pleasures of meringue. Simple to the point of plain, meringue delivers delight with every messy bite. As neat as you may be, it’s impossible to eat a meringue without producing a pile of shards and crumbs, and that’s part of the cookie’s charm.
A mix of toasted and untoasted coconut makes this cookie’s texture both crisp and chewy. There is so much lime zest that the cookie reminds some people of a piña colada.
This recipe was inspired by my first batch of smoked fig leaf sugar, a creation born of playful experimentation. That sugar ended up in all sorts of places: chocolate cakes and glazed roots, simple syrup, and macaroons. Yet it was this simple, coarse-crumbled cookie that best presented the seductive and subtle notes of incense, musk, and mint.
I was making chocolate chip cookies to take to a friend’s baby shower and I got the idea to throw crumbled potato chips in the cookie dough.
I love snacking on packaged Middle Eastern sesame bars, which are very hard and crunchy. These florentines are much chewier, but their sesame flavor reminds me of those.