Think cookies and am discovering that there is so much more!! Tuiles for example. Pronounced as 'Tweel' with the 's' being silent, Tuiles are 'tiles' in French for their classic arched shapes. These are thin, sweet, crispy and very very delicate cookies. All purpose flour, egg whites, flavorings, sugar and butter are simply whisked together and there that's the batter! This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days to make these cookies as and when you need. Really easy and quick to put together, they make an extremely elegant accompaniment to ice creams and creamy desserts. You could also pipe in some whipped cream into them just when you want to serve. Tuiles can be made ahead and stored in an air tight container for almost a month.
The batter is spread using a spoon in thin, small circles, baked and then you can let your creativity flow! The cookies are soft and malleable when they are hot and remain soft only for a precious few seconds. That's when you could shape them into strips, or use stencils to make other shapes. Or make them into circles, then roll them into cigars. You could mould it in tart-let cases to make pretty little baskets - again fill it with whipped cream and the kind. You could also 'paint' them with some colored batter. You could also make giant cones and fill them with ice cream. Makes a very light and eye-catching end to a meal, sure to grab attention.
I so wish to join the Daring Bakers group, but I must admit, I get cold feet. Will I be able to do it and work with deadlines? So, unashamedly, I am trying to pick out the easier of the challenges, to see if I can do it. If I join, I can hope to get out of my comfort zone, hope to learn. Tuiles was one of the things done by the Daring Bakers group sometime ago, so when I saw this tempting cookie (actually quite a few) in the book Chewy Gooey Crispy crunchy Melt in the Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich, this was killing two birds with one stone! So here I go!
Unsalted Butter - 3 tablespoons, 45 grams, melted and still very warm
Sugar - 2/3 cup / 4.625 oz / 130 grams aprox (I used powdered, read note)
Egg whites, large - 3 (90 grams)
All Purpose Flour - 1/4 cup 3 tablespoons / 60 grams aprox
Citrus Zest -1 tablespoon (orange or lemon)
Salt - 1/8 teaspoon
More butter to grease the pan liners
Equipment - Baking trays or pans or cookie sheets, silicon baking mats, heavy duty aluminum foil dull side up. Small cups, rolling pin for shaping. Small zip lock bags if you want to 'paint'. A very thin metal spatula, cooling rack.
Procedure: If baking cookies immediately, preheat oven to 150 degrees C / 300 degree F. If baking cookies later, just mix the batter as mentioned below.
If you would be using foil, measure the size needed to line your tray or pan. Cut carefully making sure you do not cause major creases. If there are any small creases smooth it out. Wrinkles will mar the appearance of the cookies. Line your pan or pans if you have multiple ones. Grease the foil with butter lightly but thoroughly. Large cookies sheets will be great, I used my 9'' square tin. I could bake 2 at a time. So be warned, you will need patience to bake these in batches if using a small oven. Now you see why I have halved the seemingly small recipe.
In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients till well blended. Let the batter rest for at least 10 minutes or keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I used it after a good 20 hours. The batter firms up on refrigerating. If you wish to paint, set aside a tablespoon or two of batter. Whisk a little cocoa powder in a few drops of warm water and then add it to the batter. If you add cocoa directly, you may have tiny clumps of it, blocking the tiny opening of the zip lock bag. Spoon this into a small zip lock bag, cut a tiny corner and pipe designs away of the cookie to glory!
Drop level teaspoons of batter 2 inches apart on the prepared foil. Using the back of the spoon, spread the batter evenly in 2 1/2 inch rounds or oval or other shape about 1/16 of an inch. This will be almost translucent. If you want to paint the tuiles, paint them after you spread them on the sheet. If using multiple trays, you could spread the batter and keep the trays in the oven one by one.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. The time depends on the thickness of the cookies. Watch very carefully, bake till the cookies are golden brown half or three quarters way to the center, but still pale in the center. Rotate pans if using a large oven and multiple sheets. If the cookies are not baked thoroughly, they won't be completely crisp when they cool. A test batch must tell you the approximate baking time. I baked for about 11 minutes.
Remove the cookies sheets or pans from the oven and set them down. You are supposed to slide a very thin metal spatula when the cookie is still hot and soft. Then shape it immediately into a curve or cigar and cool it on a rack. If the cookies harden before you shape, pop them back in the oven for a few seconds, they will soften, you can shape again. I tried to lift, but was not successful. So I have let them cool and harden, then peeled the foil from underneath the tuiles. After baking all of the cookies, I have put one cookie at a time in the oven on the sheet for 30-40 seconds till they became very soft and flexible. Then shaped them. They harden very very quickly as in a matter of 4-5 seconds, so its really important that you work very quickly. Keep your rolling pin right beside the oven if you want to curve it. You won't have time to turn, go to the table and then shape. So timing is the most important thing!
They will be really really delicate, so handle the cookies with care. Store in an airtight container. Alice says they can be airtight for at least a month. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
Please note: Be very careful as you measure the flour. Excess flour can make the tuiles tough. If using the same pan for the next set of tuiles, make sure the pan is cool before you spread the batter. You could reuse the aluminum foil if its completely smooth and clean. I have measured the sugar and then powdered it. This amount of sugar made the cookies a bit on the sweeter side, but am not sure how the science works if you reduce the sugar. Using less sugar in the filling may help balance if you don't like your desserts sweet.
I had earlier baked lace cookies along similar lines, but it was way too buttery and greasy for me. This was delicate and good without being greasy or buttery. Am glad I tried the tuiles, am surely going to be trying more variations in future.
Hahaha, the picture below suspiciously looks like a throne? Well, just wanted to show you the zest visible through the thin wafer...
Variations: For each of the tuiles, in place of the citrus zest, for
Vanilla Bean Tuiles - use 3/4 teaspoon ground vanilla bean.
Cinnamon Tuiles : Use 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Saffron Tuiles: Stir in scant 3/8 teaspoon saffron into the warm butter, allow to infuse for 5 minutes, then proceed as directed.
This goes to my 2nd blog anniversary event Cakes And More Cookie Fest. I am giving away a copy of Alice Medrich's Chewy Gooey Crispy crunchy Melt-In-The-Mouth Cookies . Please do send in your entries before 10th January.