One day, several months ago, I had grand dreams of making the best fortune cookies ever. So, I found a vanilla bean tuile cookie recipe that looked manageable, got my fortunes to be stuffed inside the cookies ready, and started baking. Sadly my first attempt at a fortune cookie resulted in the paper fortune sticking to the cookie, and my dreams were dashed in an instant. I decided the only way to salvage my dream was to roll up the cookie into a cigar-shaped tuile and cast aside the fortunes. Well, 5 minutes later (after the cookie had cooled), I took a bite of my tuile and declared it one of the most delicious things I’ve ever baked. The butter and vanilla really shine through in these cookies. They’re extra rich, very light, and delightfully crispy and crunchy.
A few things to keep in mind if you decide to bake these cookies. 1. It make take some time to bake up all the batter as you’ll need to individually shape the cookies while they’re warm, so don’t put more than two baking pans in the oven (unless you have several pairs of hands helping you shape the cookies). I only baked one cookie sheet at a time (with only 6 cookies per cookie sheet) to ensure I could work quickly enough to shape the cookies while they were warm. So, you’ll have to find the technique and rhythm that works best for you. 2. It helps to have fingertips that can withstand some heat as these should be rolled as soon as it’s bearable to touch them after they’ve been removed from the oven. So tender fingers should be especially careful. 3. You’ll need to line your cookie sheets with silicone baking mats. The original recipe states that you can use heavy-duty foil, dull side up, but I haven’t tried that. You’ve been forewarned!
Vanilla Bean Tuiles
Makes about forty 2 1/2 inch tuiles
(from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy: Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm, plus extra for greasing the pan liners
2/3 cup (4.625 ounces) sugar
3 large egg whites
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground vanilla beans (I used an equal amount of vanilla bean paste)
1/8 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
- If using foil, smooth it to remove any wrinkles, which would distort the cookies. Grease the silicone mats or the foil lightly but thoroughly with melted butter.
- In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until blended.
- Let the batter rest for 10 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Drop level teaspoons of the batter 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheets. Use a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon, and in a circular motion, spread the batter evenly in 2 1/2 inch rounds about 1/16 inch thick.
- Bake, watching carefully, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tuiles are golden brown half to three-quarters of the way to the center but still pale in the center.
- Rotate the pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. If the cookies are not baked long enough, they will not be completely crisp when cool.
8a. If Using Silicone Mats (This is the method I used) – As soon as you can, use a thin metal spatula to 1) transfer a cookie to a rack to cool flat or 2) shape it by draping it over a rolling pin, nestling it into a little cup, or rolling it into a cigar shape with your fingers (the last option is the one I did). Try to work as quickly as possible to remove the remaining tuiles. If the cookies cool before shaping, you can return them to the oven for 30 seconds to reheat/soften them.
8b. If Using Foil (I haven’t tried this but below are the directions from the original recipe) – Slide the foil sheet of cookies onto a rack to cool flat. Or, for curved tuiles, grasp the edges of the foil when the sheet comes from the oven (without touching the hot pan or the cookies) and roll it into a fat cylinder, gently curving the attached cookies like potato chips. Crimp or secure the foil with a paper clip. When cool, unroll the foil carefully and remove the tuiles. Alternatively, remove individual tuiles from the foil while they are hot (as soon as you can coax a thin metal spatula under a cookie without destroying it) and shape them as described above. Flat or curved, tuiles are easiest to remove from the foil when they are either very hot or completely cool.
Repeat until all of the tuiles are baked. To retain crispness, put the cookies in an airtight container as soon as they are cool.
NOTE: Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 month.