Preheat oven to 400F.
Grind cardamom pods.* (see recipe notes below)
Separate egg whites from egg yolks**. You will not need the yolks for this recipe.
If using blanched almonds, blend in food processor or blender until finely ground.
Mix the ground almonds, ground cardamom and sugar in a bowl.
In a separate clean bowl, add egg whites. With an electric mixer (either a stand or handheld) whip egg whites on medium speed until firm peaks form. This takes about 5-7 minutes.
Fold the whipped egg whites gently into the ground almond mixture until just combined.
To shape into stars, take batter out of bowl and roll into a log shape. The width of the log should be about 1.5 inches.
With a knife, cut log into 1 inch segments.
Roll each segment into a ball. Then, flatten slightly into a disc shape (about 1/4 inch thick) in your hands***.
Slightly pinch the center of the disc, thumb on top and index and middle finger on bottom. Keep this hand in place. Now with your other hand, pinch edges 5 times, spaced out evenly to make star shape.
If desired, in the middle if the cookie insert vertically an almond sliver for decor.
Place cookies directly on a cookie sheet. No butter or spray is needed on the cookie sheet, the cookies will not stick.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes. The tops of the cookies should be lightly tan. Make sure to not overcook, the texture should be soft and chewy.
Let cookies cool completely and enjoy!