Orange Lace Cookies

September 18th, 2009  |  35 Comments

orange-lace-cookie-final

They kind of look like potato chips, don’t they?

They really are impossibly delicate. Scott saw these all strewn about the table and his immediate urge was to smash them with his fist. Is there something about these that tap into man’s desire to go to war? Against a lace cookie? An easily conquerable foe, I’d say. Or maybe it’s that same impulse that makes popping bubble wrap so enthralling. Regardless, I set aside a few rejects and let him get his ya-ya’s out of his system. And you know what? I kinda wanted to crush them too. Hey, what’s fun is fun.

Then again, one false move and they’ll crush themselves. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve knocked over a tupperware-filled box in the middle of a busy service. And what do you have? One pissed off chef and a tupperware-filled box of dust. You have to treat these like a newly unearthed treasure at an archeological dig. They’re butterflies that can barely be breathed on. The best way to store them is in a plastic box with one cookie overlapping the other, in a row. Kind of like Pringles, when the tube is laid out on its side and the chips fan out. Just keep them away from the heavy handed.

orange-lace-cookie-tuile-close-up

This cookie was a revelation to me — one of those tiny life moments that make you want to skip across a meadow. I’ve never seen lace cookies before and I remember the chef piping out nickel-sized blobules of batter, yet spacing them what looked like 90 inches apart. Once they were baked, all things came clear to me when I saw that they spread like wildfire. They really spreeeeeaaaaaaad. And on top of that, they were made up of the most beautiful, intricate mesh. When I picked one up to look through the delicate glassine, I thought I’d see Alice and her Wonderland of creatures on the other side. All I could see was the chef giving me the get-back-to-work evil eye.

***

Once again, you will need these:

Silpat 11-5/8-by-16-1/2-Inch Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat

and this:

Professional Offset Spatula Set, Ateco

Have I told you how useful they are in the pastry kitchen? Get someone to buy them for you as a gift, like I did. Or, what the hay, gift yourself.

Orange Lace Cookies
makes about 60, even after casualties

1 cup + 2 tablespoons (8 oz) sugar
3/4 cup (3 oz) flour
1/2 cup (4 oz) orange juice
1 stick (4 oz) butter
1 orange zest

1. The stuff lace cookies are made of.

orange-lace-cookie-ingredients

 

2. Stir together the flour and sugar in a large bowl.

orange-lace-cookie-mix-dry

 

3. Melt the butter. I like to stick it in the microwave in 30-second intervals until it’s liquified.

orange-lace-cookie-melt-butter

 

4. Add the orange zest to the bowl with the juice…

orange-lace-cookie-juice-zest

 

…then pour the juice over the flour.

orange-lace-cookie-pour-in-liquid

 

5. Whisk until it’s smooth as a baby’s bottom.

orange-lace-cookie-whisk-smooth

 

6. Then pour in the butter and whisk until that’s completely incorporated.

orange-lace-cookie-add-butter

 

There’s still stubborn butter pooling at the edges of this bowl. Better get that all incorporated.

orange-lace-cookie-whisk-in-butter

 

Here’s the ready batter.

orange-lace-cookie-smooth-batter

This needs to be refrigerated before proceeding. At least 2 hours or overnight. Actually this batter can be kept in your fridge for up to 3 days, as long as it’s wrapped tightly.

 

7. Now it’s later and we’re ready to bake. First preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then fill a pastry bag, outfitted with a small plain tip, with batter. (You can also fill a ziplock back, then snip off a bit of the corner.)

orange-lace-cookie-fill-pastry-bag

 

8. Pipe nickel-sized rounds on Silpat-lined cookie sheets, spaced 3 inches apart. Yes, space them far apart. You’ll thank me later. And use the flattest sheet pans you’ve got or the batter will slide around. You will have way more batter than sheet pans, so you’ll need to bake them in batches. Or bake some today, and then some tomorrow.

orange-lace-cookie-pipe

 

9. Bake for about 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on these. You want them golden orange. If they get into the brown palette, they start to get bitter.

orange-lace-cookie-baked

 

Here’s a batch that had a mind of its own. Good for nibbling while no one’s looking.

orange-lace-cookie-tuile-blob

 

10. Once they come out of the oven, they will be quite soft and if you try to pick them up, they will rip. Wait about 60 seconds for them to set up a little, then you can shape them. Gently glide an offset spatula under them to loosen, then drape them over something round, like a rolling pin, a wine bottle, a vinegar bottle, a pepper grinder, whatever you’ve got kicking around. Once they harden, you can slide them off.

orange-lace-cookie-shape

If the cookies harden on the sheet pan before you’ve had a chance to shape all of them, return the sheet pan to the oven for 30-60 seconds, and they will heat up and get pliable again. If you have no desire to deal with the shaping, which is admittedly a small production, simply let them cool flat on the sheet pans, and you’ll have flat, but still lovely, cookies. Store in an airtight tupperware. These guys don’t like humidity.

 

Here’s my army.

orange-lace-cookie-sea

Don’t breath.

Orange Lace Cookies
makes about 60, even after casualties

1 cup + 2 tablespoons (8 oz) sugar
3/4 cup (3 oz) flour
1/2 cup (4 oz) orange juice
1 stick (4 oz) butter
1 orange zest

1. Stir together the flour and sugar in a large bowl.

2. Melt the butter. I like to stick it in the microwave in 30-second intervals until it’s liquified.

3. Add the orange zest to the bowl with the juice, then pour the juice over the flour. Whisk together until it’s smooth as a baby’s bottom.

4. Then pour in the butter and whisk until that’s completely incorporated. The butter will be stubborn and will pool around the edges of the bowl, but keep whisking until the batter is completely smooth. This needs to be refrigerated before proceeding. At least 2 hours or overnight. Actually this batter can be kept in your fridge for up to 3 days, as long as it’s wrapped tightly.

5. Now it’s later and we’re ready to bake. First preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then fill a pastry bag, outfitted with a small plain tip, with batter. (You can also fill a ziplock back, then snip off a bit of the corner.)

6. Pipe nickel-sized rounds on Silpat-lined cookie sheets, spaced 3 inches apart. Yes, space them far apart. You’ll thank me later. And use the flattest sheet pans you’ve got or the batter will slide around. You will have way more batter than sheet pans, so you’ll need to bake them in batches. Or bake some today, and then some tomorrow.

7. Bake for about 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on these. You want them golden orange. If they get into the brown palette, they start to get bitter.

8. Once they come out of the oven, they will be quite soft and if you try to pick them up, they will rip. Wait about 60 seconds for them to set up a little, then you can shape them. Gently glide an offset spatula under them to loosen, then drape them over something round, like a rolling pin, a wine bottle, a vinegar bottle, a pepper grinder, whatever you’ve got kicking around. Once they harden, you can slide them off.

If the cookies harden on the sheet pan before you’ve had a chance to shape all of them, return the sheet pan to the oven for 30-60 seconds, and they will heat up and get pliable again. If you have no desire to deal with the shaping, which is admittedly a small production, simply let them cool flat on the sheet pans, and you’ll have flat, but still lovely, cookies. Store in an airtight tupperware. These guys don’t like humidity.






35 Responses to “Orange Lace Cookies”

  1. Michelle says:

    So utterly lovely and delicate!

  2. Kat says:

    Wow! These are gorgeous! Looks like a fun project for this weekend, sans grim chefs watching me play with the food!

  3. Heather says:

    These look awesome!

  4. mesa para 4 says:

    uau!!! Wonderful tutorial, great pictures for a hard job :-) really beautiful

  5. Beautiful! Gotta make some this weekend with the girls… Sometimes I fill dark chocolate ganache in between 2 disk-shaped lace cookies. It’s the perfect tea time sweets.

  6. Hana says:

    wow – looks so good.

  7. Ramya Kiran says:

    These cookies look so crisp and orangy! Great clicks!

  8. nina says:

    I can think of a millian ways to use these delightful cookies. Thx for sharing the recipe!!!

  9. EL ECKHARDT says:

    A bit of science to explain. Both flour and sugar are hygroscopic, that is they take up water from the air. So to keep these treasures crisp, store them in an air tight tin and not for long. I want your recipe now, so I gotta run. xoxo el

  10. Xiaolu says:

    These are so photogenic! I’m clumsy and would probably wreck half of them, but it wouldn’t be so bad to have more “rejects” for me alone to eat.

  11. Gala says:

    Wow these are so great to decorate almost anything! Beautiful.

  12. peabody says:

    Those turned out great. Though their shape reminds me of Pringles…which works for me as well. ;)

  13. Bunny says:

    These are so beautiful, oh how I missed your beautiful creations while I was working myself to death. I think I deserve these, yeah I deserve these.

  14. Batia says:

    Your blog is FANTASTIC!!!
    I enjoy not only your great recipes and the rest that comes with it ,but mostly i like your stories that accompany every recipe- witty, funny , interesting- great style.
    One request – could you , please, give quantities in grams.
    i am looking forward to every recipe and story of yours.
    Batia Gal- on

  15. these are exquisite! can’t wait to give them a try – though i doubt they will turn out as gorgeous as yours!

  16. linda says:

    OMG That looks awesome.. I love all these garnishing ideas

  17. Barbara says:

    Oh my gosh! Those are gorgeous! And delicate. And, I’ll bet, delicious. I’ll have trouble keeping them crisp in Florida though.

  18. PastryPal says:

    Thanks everyone!

    Pham — They are perfect for tea, aren’t they? I’ve enjoyed a few at teatime myself.

    Bunny — Yeah, you deserve these.

    Batia — Thanks so much! I’ll try to include grams, though I typically include some type of weight measure. You can easily convert ounces to grams. 1 oz = 28 g

    Babraba — Then eat them the same day :)

  19. Happy Cook says:

    Wow it looks so elegant , fine and so so yumm. I would be afraid to touch the cookies thinking i will powder them in minutes, beautiful.

  20. Adelina says:

    Thanks for this wonderful photo, step-by-step instruction! I have to be honest…I made these twice already and I didn’t really like the end result. The recipe that I was using produced a rather chewy and “tough” lace cookies…or maybe it was because the batter didn’t get to rest overnight, like yours instructed? I’m not quite sure, but I really like to try these again….sometimes. I just love the fact that they’re so simple and provide many creative ways to present good-looking desserts!

    Thanks for sharing and for posting! Yours look absolutely adorable!

  21. PastryPal says:

    Hi Adelina — I’m not sure what’s up with the cookie you tried, but it should be crispy every time! Never tough and chewy. I can understand why you wouldn’t like that. All I can think of is trying to let it rest overnight so all the flour has a chance to absorb the moisture and the butter component becomes chilled. Also, it’s important that they bake long enough so the sugar in the recipe gets a chance to darken and crisp up. Good luck!

  22. Alina says:

    !! This is one of the most interesting recipes I’ve lately seen! I’ll have to find out if you can buy those Silpat baking sheets over here…

  23. Cara says:

    How wonderful these look!! I will certainly be trying these very soon!!!!

    A question: I have never heard of Silpat. Is this something from a specialty shop – its purpose – can something be substituted, or are these one and only’s?

  24. PastryPal says:

    Hi Cara— Silpats are a brand name of nonstick silicone baking sheets. There are other brands. You can see what they look like in the photos where I am piping batter. They are great at keeping anything baked from sticking to the sheet pan. Better than parchment. These days, you can find them just about anywhere baking supplies are sold. You could try substituting parchment, but it’s just not the same. The batter tends to spread into strange shapes while baking, and it sometimes sticks to the point of no return. You can also silicone baking sheets through amazon in the link above.

  25. Cara says:

    Great to know! I have been baking for a while, but just recently started to do it for others from home. I will definitely go looking this weekend for some. These look so great to have as a side for so many things! I wonder, does this work for lemon, or other citruses that you could get zest and juice from?

  26. PastryPal says:

    Yes, you can play around with different citruses, absolutely!

  27. OK.. I’ve been wanting to make chocolate lace cookies. Any ideas how to modify this to make it chocolate instead of orange?

  28. Karen Mills says:

    At last! My mother made these cookies in the 1960′s, and when I tried to find her recipe could not locate anything remotely like them until now. The picture matches. Of course she used an old fashioned cookie sheet, so you can just imagine how exciting it was getting them off. Still, they were delicious. Can’t wait to try these. Thanks so much!

  29. Natasha says:

    I’ve had my eye on this post forever and I finally got around to making these. I did make a change though. Instead of orange, I made them strawberry! I used 2 mashed up strawberries instead of orange zest and some strawberry juice instead of orange juice. DELICIOUS.

  30. PastryPal says:

    Natasha—Awesome variation.

  31. Blankie Monster says:

    These are totally gorgeous; too bad my boyfriend is a brute.

  32. dipsterlil says:

    i made these and i loved them.Thank you. I was wondering if i could pick you brains on a different subject. i would love to put sweet soufflé s on my menu but cant think how they would be feasible to prep up and bake to order without the whites falling? any suggestions welcomed.

  33. PastryPal says:

    Dipsterlil — Oh, glad to hear it, thanks.

    As far as souffles, I’ve seen it done 2 ways. We’ve had some success making the whole recipe, pouring into individual ramekins, then freezing them. Then we’d bake them to order straight out of the freezer. Of course, they would take a while to bake, so the waiters had to tell guests that if they wanted souffle they’d have to order it at the same time as the entree.

    The other way we did it a French restaurant, was to have the flavor base ready, and the KitchenAids on stand-by, and when the guest ordered a souffle, we’d whip the whites right then, fold them in, and bake straight away. Again, we’d have to warn the guest that the souffles took a little longer.

    Hope that helps!

  34. joyce says:

    can you share a more basic recipe? one without citrus flavors, maybe just a hint of vanilla.

  35. Jam says:

    Are there any suggestions for using a type of gluten-free flour?

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