Ok, so not so much the cat’s meow as its tongue. Actually, both. These delightful little cookies are fabulous in their crispy, salty-sweet and buttery, decadent Frenchiness. Thus, they’re a most fitting accompaniment to a chocolate pot de creme, but they’re also tremendously useful at dressing up a dessert of store-bought ice cream–and that’s generally how I serve them.
This recipe is a back-hacked version of the divine Clotilde Dusoulier’s, mistress of the wonderful Chocolate & Zucchini. She presented a green tea version several years ago and I was captivated with the idea–though much less with the whole green tea aspect. I’ve been burned too many times by gakkily bitter green tea-flavored sweets to be that into such a thing. Dropped back to it’s ur-version–flecked through with fragrant vanilla bean, though, and we’ve got something special.
Of course, having just poo-poo’d the green tea variation, I now have to admit that the possibilities really are endless: flavor the batter with a bit of cocoa, or orange zest or praline paste; or sandwich them with a bit of melted chocolate for a Pepperidge Farm-spanking Milano; or sprinkle them with black sesame for an elegantly Asian flavor… you get the idea.
Apart from the hour needed to chill the batter, these are quick and fun to make as well. The ones pictured were squeezed directly from a zip-top bag. If you use an actual piping bag and an actual tip, yours will have perfectly even margins. (Mine usually do too; I don’t know WHAT came over me…)
Langues de Chat
adapted from Clotilde Dusoulier
Yield: ~ 40 cookies
60 g unsalted butter, softened
60 g sugar
2 egg whites
60 g flour
1 tsp fleur de sel
3/4 tsp vanilla bean crush (or pure vanilla extract)
Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy, about 2 min. (This is a small amount of batter, so a medium bowl and a hand mixer is actually a bit better than a stand mixer; either will do just fine, though.)
Beat in the egg whites and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Stir in the flour just till completely mixed in.
Scrape the batter into a piping bag fitted with a large (~1cm) plain tip. Refrigerate batter for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper–daub a little dot of batter on the corners of each cookie sheet to secure the parchment. Pipe batter onto prepared sheets in 3″ batons. Pipe 3 rows and leave at least 1 1/2″ between each row and each baton; they spread a bit.
Bake for ~7-9 minutes, or until golden brown around the outer edges but still pale in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool for just a moment and as soon as they’re stiff enough to move, use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a rack to finish cooling. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container.