French Frdays with Dorie

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chocolate Almond Tuiles

My brother gave me a copy of Presidential Cookies (by Bev Young) for Christmas.  I have been quite eager to make something, but being alone and baking weekly with Dorie, I rarely have a need for extra sweets.  However, last week, I palmed off my bread pudding on my meeting mates and it left me with a few homeless egg whites.

So, I started leafing through my cookie cookbooks.  Immediately, I considered making something with a meringue base, but all the recipes I saw called for two egg whites, except one.  It called for four (which was how many I had on hand) but it yielded a massive amount of cookies.  Since it involved leaving the trays in the oven for a couple of hours, I figured it wouldn't be the best choice.  Seriously, how is that supposed to work?  You can only fit so many trays into the oven at one time.  Are the other shapes just supposed to sit on the counter and wait their turn?

In flipping through Presidential Cookies, I saw a recipe for John F. Kennedy's favorite: Chocolate Almond Tuiles.  Now, I missed making tuiles with Dorie a few weeks ago.  I can't remember why, but I am sure it was a very good excuse!

So, I thought, perfect, I shall dip into JFK's history and whip these bad boys up.  First, let me say, I am underwhelmed with the instructions Ms. Young provides.  She says to chill the batter for one hour.  I did this, then she says to spread it onto parchment paper.  I managed this, but it was difficult.  I was unsure of how thick to make the tuiles and was guessing at how much batter to spread.  In addition, the batter did not want to spread, it wanted to stick to the parchment and lay in a lump.  I persevered and managed to form some fairly round shapes.  I then baked them and as suggested, lay them over a rolling pin to form the curved tile appearance.  What a pan in the hiney that was, I should have lay them down so that the part from the cookie sheet was forming the curve.  Sometimes I did, sometimes I put the top part on the rolling pin.  I realized afterwards that one way meant the ugly bottom was the eye catching part of the cookie - duh.

And, let me quote the directions for forming the cookies:
   1 -Make a circle template by cutting a circle in a thin piece of cardboard or plastic (about 3.5 inch diameter).
  2 -Several other steps are inserted and then -
  3 - Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Place the template on it.
  4 - Using a small spatula, spread a small amount of batter evenly over the template.  Carefully lift the template off.

Am I dumber than the average bear or is this confusing to you, also?  I can assure you, if you spread the batter onto the template there will be no removal of said template from the batter.  I finally decided that what I would do would be to draw circles on the back of my parchment paper and then spread the batter within those circles.  That worked pretty well.  Maybe Bev meant I should place the template under the parchment, but that is just too annoying for words.  My circle idea was much closer to genius than her stupid template.

The tuiles tasted okay the first day (I made them Sunday) but I actually prefer them a couple of days later.  The first day I found them to be extremely cakey or crispy - depending on their thickness.  Now, two days later they are pleasantly chewy. 

I remain convinced however, that JFK was so happy with these tuiles because he did not have to form the little bas**rds!

I forgot to mention, the almond flavor in these tuiles comes from almond extract.  It will be interesting to substitue a little ground almond for some of the flour to enhance that flavor and alter the cookie's texture, slightly.

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