Monday, April 19, 2010


Last week I tried two new recipes. The first was a tuile, which is French for tile. These cookies are named for the rounded oval roof tiles found on many of the homes in the Mediterranean. They're light and crispy and usually sprinkled with chopped nuts. Tuiles are commonly tucked in the side of a bowl of ice cream or sorbet adding decoration and crunch.

The recipe I followed was for brown sugar tuiles, and the ingredients were simple- brown sugar, all-purpose flour, eggs, vanilla, butter and sliced almonds. The challenge in baking tuiles is in the shaping of the cookies after baking. The soft dough is spooned onto a baking sheet by the tablespoon and spread into a 4-inch diameter circle. Only three to five cookies can be baked at one time. After the cookie is baked, it's immediately removed from the baking sheet and placed on a rounded surface such as a rolling pin to shape the cookie. If too many are baked at once, some cookies begin to harden before they've been shaped.

The cookies were pretty good. At the time I didn't have any of the Madagascar vanilla I usually use and instead used the imitation Shaw's vanilla in the kitchen (I have since bought a 32 oz. bottle of Madagascar vanilla to avoid such catastrophes). Because there aren't many other flavors in the cookie besides the vanilla, I would definitely recommend using a good quality vanilla. The other consideration is the storage of these cookies. They are thin and fragile and need to be stored carefully to prevent breakage. They also become soft and soggy if they’re not stored in an airtight container as they soak up any moisture in the air.

Due to the the storage and soggy factors as well as the necessity to be baked in small batches, I don't plan on selling these cookies. I would still recommend baking them, though. They’re light and delicious and make really pretty gifts. I have only one recommendation, which is toast the chopped almonds on the stove top before sprinkling them on the cookies. The cookies bake for such a short period of time, the almonds don't brown at all.

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