Thursday, October 01, 2009
Lengua De Gato (Cat's Tongue)
Who does not love lenguas de gato??? I have yet to meet one who doesn't.
I am not sure how and why I started looking for a recipe of this, but I ended up seeing a starting point with rushlynn's post here. I guess it was an attempt to use the 2 egg whites I had in the fridge, which was about 1/4 cup.
This post is a result of my third attempt at baking these delightful lenguas de gato.
The first time I tried to bake using the above link's recipe, I burned the first batch after baking for a full 10 minutes without watching carefully. I piped the dough thin and flat. The next unburned batches tasted very good, but I felt it was too tough for me. I thought maybe the flour was too much (the fluffiness of butter-sugar-eggwhites gone after beating in the flour). In any case, my kids liked it so much.
I attempted a second time, after gathering and printing out a lot of different recipes online, and experimenting with amounts, and piping them round instead of flat. It was a disaster.
So in the third attempt, I went back to the original recipe I saw, decreased the flour amount, and doubled everything, sifted the flour before adding gradually to the mixture, and beating slowly just until blended. The reason why I wanted double batch was so I would have enough to play with in case I bork up the first few batches again. I also modified the flavors, including lemon because a hint of lemon always results to more interesting flavors, and almond extract just because I love almond flavor. I went back to piping flat, bought a whole set of piping tips to get the biggest flat tip I could find, and disposable piping bags that were big enough and sturdy to remain intact as I squeeze. You will just have to excuse the odd shapes I created, as I never had artistic and steady hands.
I loved the result, and so did my husband and kids.
Hubby: (after I handed to him a handful, "Want some?") "Oh! Cat's tongue! I love that!"
(He remembered the name after I gave him some of the first batch I made!)
Later on he said to me, while still munching on them, "You know what makes them so good? They taste like the butter cookies, if you will be able to make them round with sprinkle of crystal sugars...hmmmm!"
Now that's an idea, but I don't know if they will have the crispiness if they are that thick. Maybe I should use cake flour instead, or add baking powder to puff them up...and use a cookie press. Made a mental note for such future experiments.
Kids: "Those are so good they are addicting!"
Here's my final recipe, and please feel welcome to experiment using cake flour.
1 cup butter (soften at room temp for 30 mins)- I used salted butter
1-1/3 cup sugar
4 egg whites (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
few drops lemon extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (measure then sift)
piping tip (cake decorating) #47
parchment paper (I measured out 4)
non-insulated aluminum baking sheet (I used two)
cooling wire racks
After getting the butter out of the fridge, time for 30 minutes and start measuring the other ingredients.
Cream the butter and sugar well. Add the egg whites gradually, beating well. Mix in salt, vanilla, almond extract, and lemon extract. Add half of the flour, beat some, add the rest of the flour, and beat just until blended. Assemble the piping bag and tip. Place some of the dough in the bag, and keep the rest chilled in the fridge. Pre-heat the oven to 375 deg F while you pipe out dough about 3 inches long, flat, and about 1/8 inch high, just a little bit wider than the piping tip, onto parchment paper. (If parchment paper tends to slide off the baking pan, stick it to the pan using a thin smear of Crisco shortening at the four corners of the pan). Space them apart about 1-1/2 inch to allow for expansion while it melts some more during baking. bake for about 5 minutes, rotate the pan, then bake some more for about 2-3 minutes, depending on how thick your dough is. Transfer the parchment paper onto cooling racks, and remove the parchment paper after about 2 minutes to cool completely before transferring to a box or cookie jar.
(1) Baking time may be shorter or longer, depending on whether your oven actually is hotter or cooler than mine, and maybe you piped out not quite exactly right. For the first batch, wait until you get the result, cool some, and have a bite. Correct the thickness and the width of the dough and baking time accordingly on the next batch, and watch carefully until you have learned the right combination of these factors. Once you got it right, proceed with better rhythm of piping the dough onto parchment paper while the other batch is baking.
(2) You can re-use the parchment paper after removing the baked lenguas. That is why 4 of them pre-cut are enough.
(3) While one pan is inside the oven, and the other pan already has dough piped on, you can place the other parchment paper on the table or countertop and pipe out some more. Once you have a hot pan out and you have removed the parchment paper and cookies, let it cool down some (at the same time you are piping dough onto PP on the table), then spray with cold water and wipe dry when you are ready to place a the next batch into the oven. (magulo ba?) What I am trying to say is, since I only had two aluminum pans, one is still warm by the time I am ready to take out the other, so to be able to place the next batch right away, my PP is ready with the dough on the table, and I just have to cool down the pan using cold tap water. With this setup, I had two PP ready on the table, just waiting for the cookies to bake while cooling down the other pan.
(4) If I try to make the piped dough higher (thicker) or so much wider, the middle part tends to get chewy instead of crispy, which I do not like.
(5) If I bake and do NOT wait for the sides to get golden brown (so that they appear light brown all over), I end up with chewy cookies even if they are flat. I don't like that.
(6) This recipe will be enough to fill half of a typical cookie jar (hard to keep track of the number, as it will vary depending on how much you pipe out per piece, and you will tend to munch some of those done while you bake the rest. It is that addicting!)
This is a feedback by Chef Vanessa (an fb friend):
"I made the recipe you shared for Leguas De Gato and my kids absolutley loved it and it didn't even hit 48 hours in the jar hahahhaa..The first recipe I made was from a site but it did not turned out right..It was too leathery and tasted like flour.Thanks for sharing that recipe!!!"
Thanks for your feedback, Chef!