Simple pleasures

You know a recipe is simple when you can describe it in a single tweet, as I just did. In French, which is generally longer than English.

“Langues de chat” are simple French butter biscuits, like tuiles, but without almonds. Their name mean “cat’s tongues”, and their shape is appropriate:

Langues de chat

They’re a staple in French homes – my parents often have a couple to go with their after-lunch coffee, for instance. They are as ubiquitous in French shops as rich tea biscuits are here.

For bakers, they’re known as a simple way to use up egg whites – in this case, to make a dent in the processed egg whites I bought for the “croquants aux noix”.

So, to my recipe: Preheat your oven to 180°C (160° fan), and line at least one baking tin with non-stick parchment.

Weigh your egg whites. Weigh out equal weights of caster sugar, lightly salted butter (soft) and plain flour. In a large bowl, whisk together butter and sugar until they turn pale and fluffy. Whisk in the egg whites, then the flour. Add the flavour of your choice (here, for nearly a kilo of batter, 1 tsp of vanilla paste).

Put in a piping bag, pipe short lines (about 5 cm) on the lined baking tin, making sure you leave enough space for the batter to melt and spread.

Bake until the edges are brown, but the centre remains pale. Slide the baking paper off the tin onto your counter top, leave to cool off a couple of minutes, then place the biscuits on a cooling rack. Once cold, either eat quickly or place in an airtight box.

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