The catch, you need a piping bag and a 5 mm nozzle, which I realize a lot of people out there don’t have. I suppose, you could just drop small spoonfuls of the mix and let them spread out in haphazard circles, in fact it might look nice.
Pipping takes practice, lots of it. I don’t have enough myself and whenever I have to pipe something I think of my friend Paulina who used to be the pastry chef at Melrose and Morgan and is now pastry at Ottolenghi in Islington. She would show me how to keep the nozzle flush with the surface and pipe out shapes or lines in swift, steady and decisive movements. Then it would be my turn and my shapes would come looking like a 4 year old’s handwriting, fat, wobbly and terribly askew. She and the whole kitchen would giggle at my attempts before ushering me out of the kitchen and back to my desk.
There are no bells and whistles on these biscuits, just straight forward vanilla. You can use them to scoop out softened ice cream, or server along a baked custard, indulge with a cup of tea or give them to your children when they want a snack (the long shape seems perfect for their little hands). They last for a good two weeks in an air tight container. I took some along to Jordan for Layla and everyone kept reaching into her backpack and snacking on them.
There are so many Langues de chat recipes out there, all various ratios of sugar, butter, flour and egg white. My preferred recipe is adapted from Claire Clark’s book Indulge: 100 Perfect Desserts and uses icing sugar instead of caster sugar.
Langues de Chat adapted from Claire Clark
65g butter at room temperature
65g icing sugar
1 small egg white, at room temperature
90g of flour
pinch of salt
1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C
2. With a wooden spoon, cream the butter, salt and sugar together until light and fluffy.
3. Beat in the egg white and the vanilla essence.
4. Fold in the flour until it is just mixed, don’t overwork it because it will make for tough biscuits.
5. Put the mix into a pipping bag fitted with a 5mm nozzle.
6. Pipe 5 cm lines onto a non stick baking tray leaving space in between the biscuits because they will spread. Keep the nozzle flat on the tray rather than hovering over it to ensure straight lines.
7. Bake for 5-6 minutes. Check after 4 and then watch until they are done. You want them to be slightly golden on the outside but still pale in the centre.
8. Allow to cool on a cookie rack before storing in an airtight container.
For variations, omit the vanilla essence and try lemon or orange zest instead.