Chef's Note: Crispy crunchy and elegantly thin, these almond cookies were adapted from a recipe by James Beard, using California Olive Ranch Arbequina olive oil instead of butter, and with the addition of a bit of lemon zest and extra salt for a contemporary balance of flavors. Classic tuiles are cooled over a rolling pin to resemble the roof tiles they are named for, but you can skip that step and make them flat if you like, or use my shortcut for making curved tuiles.
- 5 Tbs California Olive Ranch Arbequina extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 ½ tsp grated lemon zest
- Scant ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup sifted* (before measuring) unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 cup sliced almonds
*If you measure with a scale, there is no need to sift flour before measuring
Step 1: Grease two baking sheets with olive oil, or line them with foil, dull side facing up, and grease the foil.
Step 2: Mix olive oil, sugar, grated zest, salt, and eggs whites together thoroughly. Add flour and stir until well blended. Stir in the almonds. Let the batter rest for while the oven heats or for at least 15 minutes. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Step 3: Drop teaspoons of batter 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Use the back of the spoon to smear the batter into a 2 ½ inch round. Bake, watching carefully, for 12-16 minutes, until the tuiles are deep golden brown at the edges and paler golden brown in the center. (If the cookies are not baked long enough, they will not be completely crisp when cool.)
Step 4: As soon as you can push a slim metal spatula under the cookies without destroying them, transfer each cookie to a rolling pin (for curved cookies) or a cooling rack. If using foil, you can simply slide the foil sheet onto a rack to cool flat, or (for curved) tuiles, grasp the edges of the foil when the sheet comes from the oven (without touching the hot pan or the cookies) and roll it into a fat cylinder, gently curving the attached cookies like potato chips. Crimp or secure the foil with a paper clip. When cool, unroll the foil carefully and remove the tuiles. Flat or curved, tuiles are always easiest to remove from the foil when they are either very hot or completely cool. Repeat until all of the tuiles are baked. To retain crispness, put the cookies in an airtight container as soon as they are cool. May be stored airtight for at least 1 month.
Recipe adapted from “The Essential James Beard Cookbook” by Beard award winner Alice Medrich. Don’t miss Ms. Medrich’s new cookbook “Sinfully Delicious Desserts”. Photo credit to Jessie Oleson Moore of Cakespy.com.