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St. Louis, MO 63144
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Dear Chef,

Should lace tuile cookies be really crispy and can they be frozen?

Tracy, St. Louis

The thin, crisp crunch is the whole point of lace cookies. The name “tuile” means tile, and frequently the flat cookies are shaped (while hot) around a rolling pin so that they have a slight curve (like a roof tile) and make a more attractive presentation. Because lace cookies are delicate and shatter easily, I do not recommend freezing them.

Lace cookies are thin and crispy because the butter has been melted. In cookie-baking, the temperature of the butter determines the texture of the cookie. To ensure that each batch of cookies spreads, keep the cookie batter in a pot on low heat. The melted-butter-batter stretches the cookie between the lumps of chopped nuts. I have made nut lace cookies with almonds, walnuts, and pecans, but pistachios are my favorite because the cookies are beautifully green.

The traditional French tuile cookies are made a little differently; the batter is made of unbeaten egg whites. This plainer cookie is a perfect complement to ice cream.

Be sure to bake the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with a fiberlux silicone mat. These cookies are so delicate and so sticky that you will end up with more cookie crumbs than cookies if you bake them on parchment paper or naked on a cookie sheet.

Lace Cookies

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon grand marnier
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3/4 cup nuts (pistachios, almonds, pecans, or walnuts)

In a saucepan, melt the butter, then remove from heat and add the cream, grand marnier, and sugar. Place the nuts in a food processor with the flour and pulse until the nuts are coarsely (but not finely) chopped. Add the nuts to the butter mixture and keep warm while baking the cookies. On a fiberlux-lined cookie sheet, drop the batter by teaspoonful, leaving enough room for the cookies to spread. Bake at 350 degrees until the cookies are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let rest for one minute, then remove and form into a shape around a rolling pin or a wooden spoon handle or a pizzelle cone. Let cool and store in an air-tight container. Repeat with the rest of the warm batter.

French Tuiles

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • sliced almonds for garnish
  • extra butter for greasing

Carefully melt the butter in a sauce pan and cook until golden brown, but not burnt. Let cool, then whisk together with the flour, egg whites, and sugar. Brush melted butter on a fiberlux-lined cookie sheet, then drop the batter by teaspoonful, leaving enough room between the cookies for them to spread. Sprinkle each tuile with a couple of sliced almonds. Bake at 350 degrees until well-browned, but not burnt, about 5 minutes. Immediately and carefully remove the tuiles and drape on a rolling pin to cool. Re-grease the cookie sheet and repeat with the rest of the batter.