Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Something Out of Nothing II: Bottom of the Bag Langues de Chat

Langues de cheval is more like it—these are much larger and thicker than classic langues de chat should be, but the flavor is just right and they are a perfect canvas for chocolate filling.

Every year at about this time I try to use up my last bits of flour and other ingredients in an improvised bread or pastry. It’s sometimes hard to sense the perfect moment to empty the bags—if you act too soon you can be caught without a tablespoon of flour for your roux; if you wait too long, well, you really don’t want to wait too long. Since I had already cooked all my macaroni this year, I didn’t anticipate needing any roux in the next two weeks.

Ingredients needing to move were: thirteen ounces of all-purpose flour, six ounces of egg whites, and about two cups each dark chocolate and orange buttercream. It seemed that the two buttercreams sandwiched between langues de chat-type cookies would be just the thing—sort of a rustic orange Milano.

The proportion of flour to egg whites I used here is higher than it would be in the classic recipe, so the dough is thicker and the cookies harder, but that’s just fine—all the better for dunking in some strong tea or coffee. These cookies are quite sweet, but, you know, strong tea or coffee. Really, they are so nicely crisp and dry that the sweetness, while intense, is not at all cloying. It is easiest to make these with a pastry bag and a metal tip, but you could shape them by hand if needed.

Bottom of the Bag Langues de Chat

8 ounces (two sticks) butter, at room temperature

13 ounces confectioners’ sugar

6 ounces egg whites (whites from about six large eggs)

2 teaspoons pure bourbon vanilla extract

13 ounces flour

Beat the butter until it is pale and creamy. You can do this by hand or in a mixer. Sift the powdered sugar over the butter and beat it in at a low speed. Add the eggs in four additions, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla if you are using it. A bit of grated citrus zest is nice if you’ve got some. Now sift the flour over the batter and beat it in well.

Heat the oven to 400F (200C, Mark 6). Line baking pans or cookie-sheets with baking parchment. If you have no baking parchment, just use the pans. Do not use waxed paper for this recipe. Place a plain ½-inch metal tip in a pastry bag and fill the bag with batter. Pipe 3-inch ribbons of batter onto prepared cookie sheets, leaving plenty of space for the cookies to spread as they bake. Bake each sheet of cookies for nine minutes, or until they are just barely brown around the edges. Enjoy the cookies as is, or fill them with buttercream, or plain chocolate, or jam. In spite of your best efforts to make them all the same size and shape, you will get a diverse population, but you can match each half with its most suitable mate. This recipe made sixty-two gigantic langues de chat for thirty-one two-ounce sandwiches.

Last year’s bottom-of-the-bag recipe

Lindy’s Something Out of Nothing roundup

What kind of cookie are you? Quiz from the Pepperidge Farm website. I am a Chessman, it seems, because I want to wear fuzzy slippers and go to an Ethiopian restaurant. I am skeptical about the accuracy of this quiz.


Blogger Ilva said...

nono, that test IS accurate, I got this: You are a Rialto cookie today! You're feeling especially adventurous, and you're craving excitement and new experiences. With its bold, decadent mélange of flavors, the Rialto is one cookie that's anything but dull. Spot on!

3:01 AM  
Blogger Kalyn said...

I'm also a Chessman. And I must say, even though I haven't bought cookies like this for years, Chessman were my very favorites back in the days when I was guying cookies. (Someday we can have Ethiopian food together, I hope.)

10:09 AM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

Maybe the quiz as accurate as far as it goes.
I mean, Ilva, While it is true that you are bold and adventurous, is a rialto cookie exciting and decadent enough?
And Kalyn, I'm not saying I'm *not* a chessman, or that I wouldn't have enjoyed a chessman cookie with some tea, but there are way more than four kinds of cookies I can be. What about speculoos, macaroons, frangipane, souvaroffs? I need to go eat something.

Looking forward to our Ethiopian date.

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