There is this cookie called a lace cookie, or sometimes referred to as Florentines or tuiles cookies, that I remember first tasting some time in high school. For home economics, I took a series of cooking classes and I was so happy learning about food and nutrition and just cooking away during these classes. I think that was my first real cooking experience with following a recipe. I remember first taking a basic class where we made things like zucchini bread and coffee cakes. Then there was a course in French food and we would put together meals like beef bourguignon (this teacher even snuck in a bottle of red wine for us to cook with). After we'd cook the meal, the class would set up the table with linens and glasses, warm French bread and real butter, and we'd sit down to eat what we made. I couldn't believe how good everything tasted! Needless to say, I have fond memories of that class.
Besides going to class, I used to stop by during some of my free periods to earn extra credit by helping out with clean up (I sound like such a nerd but honestly, I just liked going there and being around the kitchen). Basically, I'd go and help wash the dishes. One day, I remember the teacher had some lace cookies baking and I got to try one. It was a sort of crisp cookie with a deep caramel flavor. It looked very delicate, just like lace, but it was crunchy. The one I had at that time had chocolate drizzled on it and maybe some nuts also. I just loved it but didn't think I'd ever be able to bake anything like that on my own!
Many years later, I learned it's actually pretty easy to make these lace cookies.
In fact, you only need five ingredients. No mixers or major equipment necessary.
This recipe is featured in the Martha Stewart's Cookies book, which I love. They're called Honey Florentines there and it's basically a lace cookie, flavored with honey and brown sugar.
You heat the butter, brown sugar, and honey up in a pan until it's melted.
Once the ingredients are melted and combined, you transfer it to a bowl, where you add the flour and a pinch of kosher salt.
Whisk it together and it quickly thickens.
A little bit of this mixture goes a long way and you only need to drop about 1/2 teaspoon full to make a cookie because the batter will spread and bubble to create that lacy look that gives the cookie its name. This is the one tricky part where you have to work quickly to get this onto the cookie sheet. Make sure to use parchment paper so that the cookies will release easily once cooled.
In the oven, it starts to bubble and spread. It reminds me of a parmesan cheese crisp.
The recipe calls for about six minutes of baking but it's important to keep an eye on it and check around the four minute mark. (My first batch turned out a little too dark.)
The result is a thin, crisp cookie, with a deep nutty, caramel flavor. You can dress these cookies up with some melted chocolate drizzled across the top or experiment with some finely chopped nuts in the batter. Or you can sandwich two cookies together with a thin layer of chocolate (or something else you like that's sticky) in between.
We're having them plain today. And I think they're a nice little bonus to a bowl of ice-cream. It would be terrific with some pistachio gelato.
Here's to the lace cookie!
The recipe for these cookies is available here. Enjoy!