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.

15 comments:

mike said...

That's just about the sweetest Santa photo I've ever seen. Who cares about hair - the tuiles are beautiful - and so thin! Yours are microscopically thin - and well worth the one-at-a-time bakeathon! Great photos and post!

Clivia said...

Ordeal is an excellent way to describe this baking experience. Your tuiles turned out very thin and translucent.
Thanks so much for baking along with me this week!

Kayte said...

Love the tuiles on the Christmas china, so very nice. I don't know, don't hate me, but I loved this whole process. I am thinking that this is one of those recipes where you get better at it the more you do it and I liked them well enough and can think of enough things to do with them now (after seeing so many blog posts about them), that I might just undertake this as one of my resume-boosting skills and perfect it to the point of being very comfortable with it. Maybe to the point of making Mike's wreath next year...wasn't that beautiful??? Love the photo of JECC with Santa...so cute...how did JEC get this big already? Babies no more. Exciting to see the growth.

limo london said...

its looks adorable..You make this challenging cookie seem so straight forward. Thank you so much for baking..lovely..

Audrey said...

Your cookies ARE breathtakingly translucent. And I think your spokesman just has that Ashton K. thing going...

Jess said...

Those are mighty impressive, Cathy! I didn't even dare attempt them this week, but you have given me hope. And that is one great Christmas photo. Why shouldn't mom get to sit with Santa too?

Tracey said...

Yay, success with the tuiles! They are gorgeous! Nancy's tip was awesome this week, glad it helped you too. I was frustrated enough that mine wouldn't set up, but at least I didn't have to deal with the spatula and crumpling tuiles :)

Love that Santa picture - the coordinated outfits are adorable.

Sean Grey Hanson said...

Absolutely adorable translucent maple tuiles. Very intriguing!

Nancy/n.o.e said...

This was a great post from beginning to end, but especially in the middle. No, not the part about my parchment tip (although it did work perfectly for me, too) but the adorable pictures of your children. The Santa shot is classic, and I just adore the picture of J holding that very translucent tuile with the depth of field and artful blurring in the back. Super job; it looks like you must be in the advanced photography class these days! Merry Christmas to your family.

Judy said...

Looks like the ones you made turned out just fine. I found that the cookies needed to stay on the cookie sheet for at least a minute before removing them.

The Food Librarian said...

What a great Santa photo! And lovely cookies too. Love that your facebook time is in the carpool line!! :) - mary

Karen said...

Isn't facebook the best. It is amazing to be able to get suggestions at the touch of a button. When I get around to baking these I will use the parchment trick as well! Yours look delicious and beautiful!

Katrina said...

Great Santa picture!
Happy Holidays!

TeaLady said...

Those look just perfect. Had fun with these trying different shapes.

Love the fam pic.

Leslie said...

You just have to tell David that a diva cookie requires individual handling. I didn't see Nancy's tip, so I baked 6 at a time, and after two batches, decided the rest would be flat. I just got tired of the struggle to get them on the rolling pin.

 
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