Lingue di gatto are thin and long crunchy cookies easy to make; a four ingredient recipe: sugar, eggs whites, flour, and butter, they may be eaten on their own, or perfectly pair with a good cup of tea, some ice cream or custard, or even a bowl of fresh fruit salad.
Although, their birth-town is not clear- they may have been first made in France, they are really popular in Italy.
They are named after their long and thin shape which resembles the tongue of a cat; the gourmet Pellegrino Artusi mentioned them in his “La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene”, a masterpiece of the Italian cookery literature.
That’s why you should try these cookies
Definitely scrumptious and they always turn out right with some baking tricks. A few ingredients, a guaranteed success, your family and friends will adore them. They are also a nice present when you want to make someone happy and smile. A melt in your mouth delicacy which provides absolute pleasure.
A few tricks to make perfect lingue di gatto cookies:
- Opt for powdered sugar, because this makes lingue di gatto as crispy as those you may buy at the pastry shop: caster sugar doesn’t fit because the batter would get too grainy and coarse.
- Provide yourself with a disposable piping pastry bag if you don’t use it very often. I usually use them because reusable ones are difficult to keep clean. Buy steel piping tips; they are robust and they are easily washable in the dish-washer. You will need a plain round piping tis. If you are not provided with these, you may use some parchment paper: shape it as a cone; cut the bottom tip where the batter will flow out.
- Vanilla extract is not strictly mandatory; it is just gives a nice flavor.
- You don’t need any baking powder: they must be flat, thin and crumbly; if you prefer fluffier cookies, whip to a very stiff peaks one of the egg whites.
- Focus on the baking: if they are too chewy they might have not been cooked enough, for instance.
- Another simple piece of advice: if you are making your lingue di gatto all alone, and you can’t keep the parchment paper lined onto the baking tray because your hands are handling the piping bag, soak and squeeze the sheet of parchment paper before lining it onto the tray: it won’t slip and you will place the cookies easily…and you won’t get angry!
- Finally, if you want super thin cookies, as the as a sheet of paper, place them onto a baking tray and flatten them with the back of a spoon. Be even more careful with the baking because they tent to get burnt: they may be done in 5 minutes.
Vanilla scented lingue di gatto cookies
- 125 gr pastry flour type 00
- 100 gr butter
- 100 gr powdered sugar
- 14 gr vanilla powder
- 3 extra large eggs: you’ll need only the white (about 90g)
- 1 pinch salt
- Beat the egg whites with the electric whisker at high speed to very stiff peaks;
- Put the butter in the microwave for a few seconds: it must be soft but not liquid (make the“finger test”: the butter should keep its shape but soft to the touch);
- In a big mixing bowl combine the softened butter and the powdered sugar with a stand mixer until a fluffy smooth batter; watch out for clumps;
- In another bowl, mix the flour with salt and vanilla powder; set aside;
- Combine the egg whites you have beaten until stiff peaks to the butter and sugar mix a little at a time with upwards motions not to deflate the batter. Usa a spatula to add the whites a little a time with upward motions not to deflate the batter; combine well and then add another spoon until everything is evenly mixed;
- Gently pour the flour a little at a time- here again, combine well and then add another spoon until everything is evenly mixed;
- Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, the batter should get more compact;
- In the meanwhile pre-heat the static oven at 170°C (338°F) or the fan one at 150° (302°F); if you like golden brown cookies increase the temperature to 1780°C (356°F) but be careful as lingue di gatto may get burnt very easily;
- Pour the batter into a piping bag with a 1/2 inch smooth steel tip (you may use plastic ones was well),
- Line your biggest baking tray with parchment paper, and pipe out 8cm (3 inches) stripes approximately 2,5 cm apart (1 inch) because they will grow in the oven, and they must not touch;
- Be careful when using the piping bag: try to make regular stripes with the same length and thickness; your cookies will bake evenly;
- For softer cookies pipe out more batter and make thicker stripes; if you opt for super crumbly lingue di gatto, place a thinner layer of batter, but keep the cooking time under strict control;
- Place the baking tray onto the middle rack of the oven;
- Bake for about 8-10 minutes until the edges of the cookies get light golden (they must not be brown or burnt, so don ’t leave the kitchen for any reasons!);
- During the baking they will rise (because they get dry) and then they will flatten;
- When the baking time is over, I usually increase the temperature to 180°C (356°F) for 1 minute in the fan oven to make them crumbly and dry;
- If they look too pale, open the oven door and touch them with a finger (no, they don’t burn)- if their texture is elastic and compact, they are almost done;
- Take lingue di gatto cookies out of the oven and with a spatula delicately transfer them onto a cooling rack;
- Give way to the temptation: taste one hot cookie, …just imagine how scrumptious it is!
Extra: garnish to your taste!
When you take lingua di gatto cookies out of the oven, they are still soften and they can be garnished and shaped to your own taste.
You may roll them up as curls to decorate a nice cup of ice-cream (wow, I am drooling). Or you may coat them with melted chocolate and finely chopped shell fruit, or sprinkles;
Melt the chocolate with a teaspoon of butter and gently dunk the cookies into; before the chocolate gets hard, garnish to taste; they will combine perfectly. Let them dry onto a rolling rack.
A few toothsome variations!
Salty lingua di gatto are very appetizing tiny snacks. Combine 100gr of butter with 60g of grated Parmigiano Reggiano until a smooth soft mix; add 80g of flour, a pinch of salt and two egg whites you have previously beaten until very stiff peaks. Mix well. Set aside, and pour into the piping bag and follow the same method as the sweet lingue di gatto.
- Gluten free lingue di gatto: replace flour type 00 with some flour without gluten such as corn or rice one;
- Don’t you want to use butter? Replace 100gr of flour with 70g of seed oil, and it is a deal done.
- Do you want cocoa lingue di gatto? Replace 125g of flour with 100g of flour and 80g of unsweetened (or sweeten to your taste) and 1 egg white. The method is the same as the traditional recipe. Be careful with the cooking because it may be difficult to evaluate the it from the color.
How do you store lingue di gatto?
Let lingue di gatto cool down and store in an airtight container up to 7-10 days. Well, I don’t think you will eat them much earlier! You may also cook and freeze them up to a month.