Tuesday, December 7, 2010

TWD: Translucent Maple Tuiles

I had a feeling that this week's TWD recipe would give me fits, and my feeling was correct. Clivia from Bubie's Little Baker chose the Translucent Maple Tuiles -- those beautiful, delicate, paper thin cookies that I'd previously only seen atop elegant desserts in fancy restaurants. But as soon as I saw this was the pick, I knew I had to make them (to further my baking education and all).

The batter itself is so easy to mix up that it almost compensates for the ordeal that ensues once these come out of the oven. Mix together butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and flour -- no need to even haul out the Kitchen Aid; you can just use a sturdy spatula or hand mixer for this. The dough needs to chill well; I let mine refrigerate over night. I figured I'd bake them up first thing in the morning and then snap a few shots in that pretty 8 a.m. light -- you know, while the sun's golden rays illuminated the intricate patterns of my translucent honeycomb cookies.

Reality quickly jolted me out of that daydream. These are supposed to get baked on an unbuttered cookie sheet. They spread extremely thin, and then after they set for just a second, you're supposed to quickly get them off the sheet with a spatula and transfer them to a rolling pin, which will mold them into their traditional curved form. But when I went to slide the spatula under mine, the cookie completely crumpled into itself and dissolved into a pitiful pile of maplebuttersugarflour. I tried with a few other cookies and got the same result. There was NO way these babies were coming off with a spatula, at least not in my kitchen. I scraped the cookie remains into the trash and proceeded with the non-cookie aspects of my day, still undecided about whether I would try again with the rest of the dough.

But as good fortune would have it, when I was in carpool line this afternoon I jumped onto Facebook (carpool line is my favorite time to Facebook, which may explain why a disproportionate amount of my Facebook activity involves complaining about carpool line) and saw Tracey's post on these tuiles, in which she mentions Nancy's suggestion to make the cookies on individual squares of parchment to make for easier handling. That sounded like a brilliant idea, so I rounded up the children, took a quick detour to paint pottery with Santa:

and hurried home to try the tuiles again using the parchment trick. And it worked perfectly! I never had to touch a spatula; I simply transferred the cookies directly from the parchment square onto the rolling pin. Nancy, you are the best!

Note the incandescent light illuminating the intricate patterns of my translucent honeycomb cookies

I know he needs a haircut and plan to make it a top priority very soon

I only baked two of these cookies (successfully) so far, so I have a bunch of dough in the fridge to bake up later. David, while in the midst of enjoying his cookie, asked innocently "so you have to bake these one at a time?" I explained that others could probably bake several of these at a time, but yes, *I* need to bake them one at a time (well, I can probably work up to two or three eventually).

I don't know if I'll ever think of these as a stand-alone dessert or even a stand-alone cookie, but they are totally delicious, and a really lovely accompaniment to just about any dessert. What a fun pick - thanks Clivia! You can find her terrific post about these cookies here.
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