almond-orange tuiles {ffwd}

Tuiles

I’ve been baking cookies for most of my life. For my 13th birthday, I received a copy of the classic Betty Crocker’s Cookie Book and a cookie press and I’ve been at it ever since. (I still have both the book and the cookie press!) I’ve dropped them, rolled them, and made them as bars. I’ve made biscotti, icebox cookies, and would say I’ve tried most of the cookie techniques out there. However, I was surprised at how challenging it was to make the seemingly simple recipe for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie assignment, Almond-Orange Tuiles.

Dorie tells the delightful story of enjoying these cookies in a Parisian bistro and after inquiring about their unusual flavor, being sent home not only with a container of dough but also the recipe to make them herself at home.

The tuile dough is simple to whip up. The cookie has only five ingredients, and the batter is light enough to mix by hand. You start with finely chopped blanched almonds. I chopped slivered almonds (the only kind I can easily buy that are already blanched) in my mini-chopper, then whisked in sugar and a small amount of flour. Next, the secret ingredient, orange juice, is stirred in, followed by melted butter. The dough needs to rest overnight.

Tuile Batter

Tuiles are named after the curved Provençal roof tiles they resemble. Shaping the cookies sounds simple enough. You bake the cookies until they are lacy and golden. Then, hot cookies are draped over a rolling pin to give them a perfect curved shape. For me, this was much easier to read on the page than to execute.

I baked a dozen balls in the first batch. The cookies spread and bubbled, and the edges turned golden. It was easy to transfer the first few from the pan to the rolling pin. Even though I was working fast, they were cooling too quickly and stuck to the pan. A few revisits to the oven helped, but none were as easy to transfer as those first 2 or 3.

Batch #1

For the next batch, I decided I’d try baking just six at a time. The smaller batch baked much faster than the first and didn’t transfer so well, so for the next six I turned the oven temperature down. Things got worse instead of better. In between batches, I ran cold water over the pans to cool them down and scrubbed the pan to remove the caramelized bits. I even stowed the bowl of dough in the fridge between batches. Even so, each batch seemed to race towards being burnt, in less and less time per batch.

A Rainbow of Browned-ness

A Rainbow of Browned-ness

I had VERY mixed success with these cookies. I don’t know whether I was overcooking them or undercooking them. All I know is that it was a struggle to remove the cookies from the pan, a key step in the process. After I made these, I saw a photo of what they should look like. These are much more golden than mine, but mine would have burnt before they reached the same even hue.

I did like the curvy shape and also how I could nest the cookies in the tin. However, these cookies were much more trouble than I have patience for. I don’t think I’ll try them again. In the meantime, we’ve been nibbling and enjoying them while they last.

If you are braver than I and want to try, you can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To hear other tuile tales, follow my Dorista friends’ links from here.

One final note, decades after the gift mentioned above, today is my birthday again. It’s one of my favorite days of the year! Many thanks to all of you who’ve already left me good wishes on Facebook. Each one makes me smile and feel so lucky to have friends from all over the world who are fellow food enthusiasts.

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Posted on 6 December 2013, in Baking, French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Ah. Tuile tails. I enjoyed your “rainbow of browness” – much more interesting than my rolling pin of shame :-)

    Hope you continue to have a great birthday.

    Now, these cookies were a mystical experience, for sure. If someone has the secret, I would love to hear it! I may try to bake off some more of my batch of dough tonight.

  2. Happiest if Birthdays!!!

    I still have make my post (long story), but I finally got 6 baked this morning. I forgot to turn on the timer so I don’t think I baked them enough. But I ignored Dorie’s idea that no parchment was required… Kinda tasty, but flat would be ok with me!

    Hope your day is wonderful!

  3. Your tuiles look nice Betsy. Much nicer than mine! I hope you are doing something wonderful to celebrate your birthday! Mardi knows everything I think:)

  4. Happy Birthday Betsy and thanks for all you do for us :) Your tuiles look great XO

  5. First, happy birthday again, Betsy. I hope Howard has something planned to celebrate another year well played. We all seemed to have shared the challenges of making this tuiles treat. Kathy seems to have solved the “removal” problem with parchment paper. A simple solution but a no, no according to Dorie. I actually think your first row of tuiles look lovely, good enough to eat. Now, on to chopped liver……..

  6. Wishing you a happy birthday, again, Betsy! And thanks for all the time you spend trying to keep us on track!!
    I was mixing up a second batch at midnight last night. I was so frustrated…but the parchment did the trick. The second batch came out perfect, without all the drama. I feel your frustration! Enjoy your birthday weekend!!

  7. Happy Birthday Betsy… so glad you made these earlier in the week. I hope you are enjoying cake right now and forgetting about these cookies.

  8. Happy birthday, Betsy! Loved hearing about your first cookbook and the start of your cookie baking career :)

  9. Happy birthday Betsy! Yeah, tuiles were a nightmare.

  10. I resorted to parchment paper after one batch of difficult cookies.

  11. There isn’t much more to say about these tuiles other than they were a disaster. I
    hope you had a lovely birthday and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  12. I could add some “blackstrap” to your rainbow of brown-ness – ha! You’re more “full disclosure” than I…I tossed them in the chicken food bowl and didn’t photograph them! :)

  13. Happy belated birthday. Yours are lovely, does it matter what they look like any way when they are so delicious?

  14. Happy belated birthday! I hope it was a great one. I am so confused by this recipe. It seems to have failed many of us. Oh well. On to the next one!

  15. Just caught up on these last week and am a little relieved that I wasn’t the only one who had trouble with them. Like you, I’ve been baking since I was a child and these may have been my toughest challenge.

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