Hearts full of Cinnamon

This traditional Christmas Cookie is usually shaped into stars, but I personally think you can make them into any shape and then you have an excuse to make them anytime of the year and they will continue to wow the crowds. 

Cinnamon has been a huge staple in kitchens across the world for many years. In the early discovery of cinnamon it was used a currency as well as traded for many years. It is also humored that it was this herb that propelled many to world exploration. Egyptians even included it in their embalming mixtures. 

We have come to mostly use it in our delicious baking creations and flavor filled scents in candles or oils. 

This herb is in most of our kitchens without thinking how it is harvested or grown. Travel with me to the tropical climate of Sri Lanka or southwest India to a forest of trees from 6 feet to 40 feet tall. The process is so fascinating, cinnamon is a small tender evergreen tree, that’s leaves blossom a stunning red and as they mature the leaves turn green. As the tree turns the ripe old age of two, it is time for harvesting the cinnamon. They cut the tree down with three to four inches above the ground left for the next seasons harvest. Once the tree is cut the stump is covered with soil and it continues to grow, in two years time, the process is repeated. 

From there the tree trunks are taken and stripped of there outer bark, don’t try this at home, there is a thin cinnamon layer in between the outer bark and the wood. Which can be very easily mistaken as the outer bark and then you have to wait another two years for the next harvest.  The cinnamon layer is scored and scraped off and then dried, the curl occurs as the cinnamon is in the drying process. 

So the next time you purchase or use cinnamon, think of how far it has traveled to flavor your dish or dessert. 

 

Cinnamon Hearts
A traditional Christmas cookie, for all to enjoy!
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Ingredients
  1. 3 egg whites
  2. 3 cups powdered sugar
  3. 3 cups almonds, unblanched and grated
  4. 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  5. 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  6. ¼ tsp. Mace
  7. Sugar
Instructions
  1. Place egg whites in a bowl or kitchen aid and beat until stiff.
  2. Beat in powdered sugar 2 Tbsps. At a time. (should look glossy)
  3. Reserve one cup of this egg/sugar mixture.
  4. Combine the almonds, lemon juice, cinnamon, and mace.
  5. Set it aside for 30 minutes to a hour.(should be firm and dry)
  6. Preheat oven to 275 degrees
  7. Prepare a sheet pan for cookies, buttered and floured
  8. Sprinkle your work space with sugar* and roll out the dough to ½ - ¾ inch.
  9. Cut out cookies with star cookie cutter
  10. Place on sheet pan
  11. With the remaining egg/sugar mixture, paint each cookie to your liking.
  12. Place on sheet pan
  13. Bake for 15 minutes or until set
Notes
  1. *If the dough sticks just add more sugar to your work area
  2. **Don’t let your icing burn, it is meant to be white.
Adapted from The Swiss Cookbook
Adapted from The Swiss Cookbook
My Swiss Kitchen http://www.myswisskitchen.com/

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