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« Sweet November: Seasonal Flavors at Trophy Cupcakes | Main | Sweet Love: A Bakery Crush on BunnieCakes »

Seeing Stars: Cinnamon Star Holiday Cookie Recipe from Bredenbeck's Bakery of Philadelphia

Cinnamon Stars from Bredenbeck's Bakery, Philadelphia
When I used to work at a greeting card company, we had to work on our Christmas designs as early as February or March. Sometimes, to get ourselves in the mood, we'd bring in Christmas cookies--which tasted just as good in the spring as they had just a few months before. And with that in mind, let me say that I definitely don't consider pre-Thanksgiving too early to break out some delicious cookie recipes. So let's bring it on, starting with this spicy, moist and chewy cinnamon cookie--a recipe for the best-selling holiday cookie at Philadelphia's Bredenbeck's Bakery:

Cinnamon Stars


  • 1 1/2 cups (about 8 oz.) hazelnuts or blanched almonds, finely ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp lemon zest, grated
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (about 2 large)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • About 1/2 cup additional confectioner’s sugar for rolling

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Combine the nuts, cinnamon, and zest. Beat the egg whites at high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Add the salt, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form, one to two minutes. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar and beat until stiff and glossy, five to eight minutes. Reserve about 1/3 cup of the meringue and fold the nut mixture into the remaining meringue.
  2. Place a large sheet of waxed paper on a flat surface, and cover with additional confectioner’s sugar. Place the nut mixture on the sugar, lightly sprinkle with more confectioner’s sugar, top with a second piece of waxed paper, and roll out one-quarter-inch thick. Remove the top piece of waxed paper. Using a cookie cutter dipped in water, cut into two-inch star shapes, or use a knife to cut into diamonds. Re-roll and cut any scraps. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Spread the reserved meringue over the top of the cookies and bake until the tops are lightly colored, about five minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to three weeks. Makes about 36 two-inch cookies.

Care to hear more about the bakery? OK! Here's the 411:  Located in the heart of Chestnut Hill, Bredenbeck’s is famous for its delicious butter cookies, fancy miniatures and gourmet wedding cakes, all baked on premises. The historic shop is located at 8126 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 215-247-7374 or online at bredenbecks.com.

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Reader Comments (17)

Dear CS,
Those sound like they will be the rock-stars of my cookie plate this season. I'll have to try'em! I always gasp when I see christmas decorations going on sale at Hobby Lobby mid-July but if it means more holiday cooking... It's okay by me.

P.S. Thank you for your comment over at my blog. That was very sweet of you. I guess "sweetness" is what you DO though, isn't it?

November 10 | Unregistered CommenterRae

Is it me or are these chock full of gluten-free goodness? AWESOME!!! cookies for me!

November 10 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay

I love these little fat stars...they look so delicious!

November 10 | Unregistered CommenterNutmeg Nanny

YUM! Christmas all year-round would be just fine by me :)

November 10 | Unregistered CommenterDeanna

Those are so adorable!

November 10 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

I live in hazelnut country (filberts to Oregonians) so am compelled to try this recipe. There's no reason to wait till Christmas. That's some bakery, by the way.

November 10 | Unregistered CommenterCathy

Great cookie recipe! Those stars look puffy and delicous!

November 11 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

These are on my cookie-baking list this year! I make them (un-iced) at Thanksgiving and let them "age" in a tin until Christmas. The spices are phenomenal then. :)

November 11 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

I will begin my Holiday Cookie Baking Bonanza (as I call it) this weekend, if all goes the way I plan! No, this is not too early. In fact, if I don't start now I will never get them all baked in time!

I'm trying to figure this out...
Is the meringue on the bottom, and royal icing on the top?

November 11 | Unregistered CommenterCaliGirl

Cali: A denser, nuttier mixture on the bottom, topped with meringue on top. Does that make sense? I had to look at the recipe twice before I got it :-)

November 12 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

Zimtsterne! My Swizz husband will love these.

Cinnamon stars-- Zimtsterne-- are a traditional Christmas cookie there. It's serious business, with the baking starting weeks in advance.

Perhaps you can post some more Swiss cookie recipes? Brunsli and chraebeli are also favorites (that are lacking recipes in my home!).

November 16 | Unregistered Commenterolivetree

these did not turn out for me :(

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I will begin my Holiday Cookie Baking Bonanza (as I call it) this weekend, if all goes the way I plan! No, this is not too early. In fact, if I don't start now I will never get them all baked in time!
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September 27 | Unregistered Commentermens watches
I tried these tonight, it was a disaster. I am not sure what I did wrong - the first batch of meringue was runny, the second batch didn't have enough sugar (because the more sugar I added, the runnier the mixture became). Any suggestions? I am so disappointed.
December 13 | Unregistered CommenterJenna

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