I have two very close German friends and I wanted to make them something special for Christmas. So I decided to try something German. I search online and found many different versions of this cookies. What I loved about this cookie idea is that for me it sounds like baked marzipan. And I adore Marzipan. Also, since one of my friend moved back home, these hard cookies will be good for awhile and hopefully will hold in the mail. since there are so many versions, I decided to start with my own marzipan recipe and added more almonds to form the right dough constancy so it can be rolled and cut. They are wonderful and beautiful, this is important since my other friend cannot eat nuts, but she can definitely use them as Christmas decorations. Gorgeous, tasty and great make ahead, what do you need more in holiday cookies?! So good...
about 30 cookies
3 cups lightly toasted blanched almonds
2 cups powdered sugar + more for rolling the dough
Put the almonds and half a cup of sugar in the food processor and process until completely grounded like almond mill.
Whip the egg whites and the pinch of salt until it just starts to form picks. Add the rest of the sugar (1.5 cups) and continue whipping until it forms stiff picks.
Form the dough: mix the almond mixture with the vanilla, zest and 2 tablespoons of flour. Add 2/3 of the whipped egg white mixture and mix well to form stiff but very sticky dough. If the dough is not stiff enough to role add a tablespoon of flour.
Roll the dough in thirds: take two sheet of parchment paper and spray them with a little oil and dust them well with powdered sugar. Roll the dough between the sheets (keep adding powdered sugar if it looks like it stick to the paper too much) until about 1/2 centimeter thick. Peel the top sheet and add a bit more sugar, then flip the sheets with the dough and peel the other sheet.
Spread 1/3 of the egg white leftovers on top of the dough and then cut cookies with a 2.5" star shaped cookie cutter. Remove each cookie carefully and slowly from the cutter to a baking sheet covered with lightly oiled parchment paper (let them gently slip out of the cutter to not ruin the frosting, but if you have to touch it, touch the frosting in the middle since it will be covered in slices of almonds).
Decorate each cookie with slices of almonds.
Bake for 20 minutes in the middle rack until the frosting is dry and the cookies start to harden a bit do not color much. Take the cookies out and let them cool and harden in the baking sheet and then move to a rack to cool completely. They will harden and will become hard cookies.