June 1, 2011

Lace cookies - part 2

Back in April, I talked about those thin, crisp lace cookies or tuiles.  I love them because they bring back good memories for me and also because they're pretty, delicate, and tasty yet really easy to make.  Plus, I think they were made to go with ice-cream and who doesn't love ice-cream, particularly this time of year.  Well, I wanted to play around with these cookies a bit more by making and molding them into different fun shapes.  More on this later but I used a fantastic recipe here for almond-butterscotch tuiles that is super easy and versatile.

Here's one of the cookies that I shaped into a little cup or bowl for a scoop of pistachio gelato.
Or how about a little edible plate here to go with your favorite ice-cream flavors?
You could also just roll them up a bit and dress up your bowl of ice-cream.
You can get more creative than I have with the shapes but whatever form they take, these tuiles are delicious - a crisp crunch with a light butterscotch sweetness.  The almonds I used add extra crunch and blend really well within the cookie.  They are much easier to make than they might look.  I hope you'll give these a try.

I've mentioned before that I've got a long list of recipes I'd like to try from David Lebovitz's book, Ready for Dessert.  This is one of those recipes and I'm happy to report that this is another awesome one.  It's called "Pecan-Butterscotch Tuiles" in the book but I've substituted almonds since pecan is actually one nut I'm not too fond of.  The word "tuile" means "tile" in French and it reflects the classic curved shape these cookies take on when placed on a rolling pin or something round while they're still warm.  The shape is similar to a piece of tile on an antique French rooftop.  In the picture below, you can see the classic tuile/tile shape in the background.  They would look more tile-like if they were a bit smaller but that's the idea.  By the way, the tuiles taste great on their own as well.
This recipe really stood out to me since it promised to be easy and the cookie batter can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerate to bake when you're ready.  It really was a cinch to make and the batter is actually quite hardy and the cookies were easy to handle even after they were baked, which is a surprise given how light and delicate they are once cooled.  I liked these even more than the honey florentines from my first post on these cookies.

To make these tuiles, I start by chopping up 1/4 cup of toasted almonds.  You can use pecans like the recipe intended or other nuts.  Just be sure to chop them very finely because you want the nuts to blend into the batter.  And even though the batter is hardier than you'd think, you still don't want a huge chunk of nut breaking through or weighing it down.  Other than the nuts, the only other ingredients needed are butter, light brown sugar, light corn syrup, and flour.
Heat and stir in 4 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 cup of firmly-packed light brown sugar, and 1/4 cup of light corn syrup under low heat until everything has melted evenly.  You can do this in a saucepan or a small skillet like I'm using.  Once the mixture is melted and smooth, add the flour and chopped almonds and stir until combined.  And you're done!  How insanely easy is that!
You can bake the cookies now or like me, you can make the batter when you have time in advance, transfer it to a glass bowl, cover, and keep in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it.  The batter can keep for up to a week in the fridge but once baked, the tuiles should be eaten the same day while they're crisp.
When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare 2 baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.  You'll want to bake one sheet at a time but it's better to use 2 sheets so you can easily pop another one in after the first and since the tuiles do leave quite a bit of butter behind on the parchment.

Out of the refrigerator, the batter is quite thick; that is perfectly fine and makes it easy to handle.  If the batter has been in the fridge for a few days, I recommend taking it out to sit at room temperature a couple of hours before baking so it softens slightly and will bake more evenly.  The recipe calls for scooping the batter out into level tablespoons.  I found this to be perfect for the cookie bowls and plates but to make the classic tile shape and particularly to row them up into a cigar or tube shape, I recommend using less batter since mine were a bit too large.  The batter slides right off the spoon and you can even pick it up off the parchment and move it around.  It has the texture of sticky toffee.  Use dampened fingers to round and flatten them out a bit. 
The tuiles will spread a lot during baking so place just 4 on one baking sheet and make sure there's plenty of space around each.  The tuiles need to bake for about 7 minutes in the oven, rotating the pan midway.  If you are making smaller tuiles, reduce the time a bit.  Keep a close eye on them towards the end.  You want them nice and golden brown but not burnt, which can happen pretty fast.
About halfway through baking
Tuiles are done and out of the oven
Let the tuiles cool for about a minute and then slide a metal spatula under the cookies to move them.  To shape them into "roof tiles", lay them on a rolling pin.  To roll into tubes or cigar shapes, wrap around the handle of a wooden spoon.  Use small bowls or a teacup to shape them into bowls, cups, or plates to hold ice-cream (just mold them a little more loosely or around a slightly wider bowl to make the plate shape).  Again, I would make smaller cookies for the tile or cigar shapes in the future.  Or you could also make them a bit smaller and just leave them flat without shaping.

The cookies harden very quickly (within minutes).  If they are already too firm when you go to shape them, pop them back in the oven for about 30 seconds or so and they'll soften back up again. 

These tuile cookies remind me of glass since they are so transparent (even here with the addition of almonds) and are so crisp and crunchy when you bite into it.
I made these during the Memorial Day weekend and we had a great time sitting down and eating these treats after the pictures were taken.  My son loved them and the whole idea that he was eating "the plate."  For those with kids who are not big fans of nuts, the almonds are relatively mild and just lend a crunch without being too noticeable.
These were really fun to make and even better to eat.  I love the fun you can have with the presentation but importantly, they tasted great...even without ice-cream.

 The recipe:

Almond-Butterscotch Tuiles
From Ready for Dessert's Pecan-Butterscotch Tuiles recipe 

- Yields approximately 12 cookies -

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
1/4 light corn syrup
1/4 cup very finely chopped almonds or other nuts
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

If you're planning to bake the tuiles right away, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Depending on the shapes you want to mold, set out rolling pin (for tile shapes), a wooden spoon (cigar or tube shape), and small bowls or teacups (for bowls and plates).

Making the batter is quick and simple:
In a saucepan or small skillet, melt the butter along with the brown sugar and corn syrup over low heat.  Once the mixture is melted evenly, drop in the flour and nuts and stir until combined.  The batter is done and can be baked.  Or you can pour the batter into a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate for up to one week.

Ready to bake and shape:
To bake, scoop out level tablespoons and drop onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  (I found that a tablespoon is just about right for making bowls and plates but if you are shaping them into tile or tube shapes, I would use less batter, approximately 2 teaspoons.  Adjust the baking time down a minute or two accordingly.)  Place no more than 4 rounds on each baking sheet and space them well apart since they spread a lot.

The batter is thick and feels like sticky toffee.  It's sturdy and easy to move around, especially if you're taking it out of the refrigerator like I did.  Dampen your hands a bit with cold water and round out the batter and flatten slightly.  Bake for about 7 minutes (one baking sheet at a time), rotating the pan mid-way and keeping an careful eye on them toward the end.  They are done once they are a dark golden brown.

Let the tuiles cool for about a minute before lifting them up with a metal spatula and lying them on a cup or rolling pin or the handle of a wooden spoon.  If the tuiles have already hardened by the time you try to shape them, pop them back in the oven for 30 seconds or so and they will soften back up.  The tuiles do cool and harden quickly.  Eat them the same day they are made while they are crisp.  I love to serve them with ice-cream but they are yummy enough on their own too.


  1. love it...love it....are we going to make this together again this Sat.? I want to make it and eat with ice cream too. looks soooo good, I have to forget all about my diet plan and just eat it!!! haha...

  2. Funny you should say that...I saved some batter in the fridge and was planning to make more for the kids this Saturday. Didn't realize you'd want some too but I think we have enough! : )

  3. Good....I'm ready to eat!!!! =)

  4. A great recipe I can't wait to try out. I love Almond Lace Cookies and those brave enough to try them! I wish more would.

    I came up with my own version of a Almond Lace Cookies, or as I sometimes call them, Broomstick cookies. While different from your own, I think mine is a unique take on the dish. I'm new to the Food Blog scene and would love some feedback from a pro like you. Check out my recipe if have time.


    1. Thank you for the comment. I adore lace/tuile cookies of all kind. : ) I am no expert by any means and I'm sure your cookies are sensational.



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