How delicious indeed, teacup.
My word, is that title ever a mouthful! But how else can I describe right away exactly what these confections are?
Langues des chat are delicate little cookies made with egg whites and confectioner’s sugar. They’re very like madelines in their light cakiness. They’re very easily flavoured which is why I made three batches today: ginger, grapefruit and standard vanilla.
Then I dipped them in chocolate, because that’s what I do.
Ginger and grapefruit are two of my favourite flavours. I love the refreshing springiness of grapefruit, and the calming spiciness of ginger.
The grapefruit flavour is taken from the zest of the fruit, and a little bit of the juice. You can substitute more traditional citruses, like lemon or orange if you like, or you could try other ones like lime or tangerine!
The ginger’s flavour comes from fresh grated ginger. Ground ginger is fine, but I always find it has too much of a sweetened warmth to it, and less of a zing. I always use fresh ginger in place of ground, if I can.
Finally, the chocolate. Semi-sweet tends to be too dark for my tastes for dipping, so I used a mix of milk and semi-sweet. If you like darker chocolate, go for it! Also, on that note, after dipping the langues you could sprinkle on some candied ginger to go with the dark chocolate. Customization is truly my favourite part about baking.
You’ll need a piping bag, or at least some parchment paper to MacGuyver a bag out of.
So, on to the recipe, from James Peterson’s Baking, a totally excellent book that you should all buy right now and use religiously:
- 1/2 cup cold butter, chopped, plus a little extra softened for the cookie sheets if you aren’t using parchment paper or a silicone mat
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar (aka icing sugar)
- 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon to 1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, depending on your love
- 1 teaspoon grapefruit zest plus 1/2 teaspoon fresh juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, or with a wooden spoon, cream the butter in a large bowl until soft and fluffy, about 5 minutes on medium speed.
- Add the confectioner’s sugar and cream until smooth. Scrape up all the bits on the sides and the bottom.
- Blend in half of the flour and half of the egg whites, and stir until absorbed.
- Add the remaining egg whites and flour, and the vanilla, and stir until smooth.
- Separate the batter into 3 dishes. Blend in the grapefruit in one, the ginger in the other, and leave the third plain.
- Refrigerate for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease your baking sheet with butter, or lay down parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Spoon the batter into a piping cone with a 1″ opening, and pipe 3″ stripes onto your sheet. Space each cookie at least 1.5″ apart. These things spread!
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies brown on the edges. Take them out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.
You’ll need a combined cup of milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips and a sliver of shortening.
Set up a double-boiler and melt your chocolate and shortening together and stir until smooth. Dip your langues about half-way into the chocolate and let drip off onto a cooling rack suspended over a baking sheet.
Let cool to hard, or if you’re impatient like me, stick them in the fridge for half an hour.
The cookies are usually served with coffee, tea, or ice cream. They’re light and cakey, and the flavours of the ginger and grapefruit peek through just enough to be pleasing.
If you like a stronger taste, add more flavouring. You could probably go up to 1/2 tablespoon if you really wanted to.