When I joined the Daring Bakers last month I was really nervous thinking about what would be my first challenge. I was happy to find out that the January challenge (my first one) was Tuile. Tuile is a French cookie that is quickly baked and while warm they are flexible and can be shaped anyway you like. Well, maybe not anyway, but there are many options.
This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux. We were given a few options of batter to choose from and had the freedom to bend it and shape it anyway we wanted to.
I chose the sweet, vanilla-flavoured batter. Being my first challenge, I wanted to play safe...
Originally I was going to bake a mousse to go together with my tuiles but after tasting the first batches I thought they made perfect tea cookies. They are light, not too sweet and if made right they have a nice crispiness that goes perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon. They reminded me of something I used to buy on the streets in Brazil as a child (beiju), only the brazilian ones were 10 times bigger. They were shaped as cones and we would hear the guy passing buy on the streets, kind of like the ice cream man.
I used a cut off cereal box to make a round stencil. To shape my tuiles I chose to use a wooden spoon handle. Immediately after the cookies came out of the oven they are released with a spatula and wrapped around the handles of the spoons. It worked very well (you have to work quickly though, as they set fast too). The most challenging part for me was to find the right amount of baking time that would make the tuiles crispy without burning. That is because they are so thin that they cook pretty fast and can burn around the edges. It took me a couple of times trying, and then it was ok.
Overall I think it was a great first challenge, I was already having nightmares about 4 tier cakes, homemade breads, delicate French pastries, complicated pastry creams and mousses... But the tuiles were just what I needed for my first challenge! It gives a little confidence boost to know I was able to make it without any major complications. I have a feeling I will need that confidence for next month's challenge... But that's for later.
Thank you Daring Bakers for allowing me to become part of this fun group and for al the help and support.
This is the recipe I used, it is adapted from the book “The Chocolate Book”, written by female Dutch Master chef Angélique Schmeinck.
65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
65 grams / 1/2 cup / 2.3 ounces sifted all purpose flour
Oven: 180C / 350F
Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not over mix.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template. Make the round shapes (I used a 4 inch round) and bake for about 5 to 6 minutes (the original recipe says anytime from 5 to 12 minutes), watch carefully during the last minute to avoid burning them.
Immediately after removing the cookie sheet from the oven, release cookies with an spatula and quickly wrap the around the handles of wooden spoons. Place spoons over a cooling rack and let cookies take shape. Carefully pull cookies away from the handles when they are cool and set.
Before proceeding with the next batch, make sure the cookie sheets are cold, I actually place them in the freezer for a minute or so and then carried on making the next round.
I had to have a few tries first to figure out the oven time and the thickness of the cookies. Once I knew all that, I probably got about a dozen cookies.