Reasons I was intrigued by this recipe for "Cat's Tongue" cookies:
1. The name, of course, but more specifically the groan-inducing puns that could be constructed from the name (see title above)
2. The DELICIOUS-sounding description of these cookies as "soft sponge-cake," with a buttercream filling and a coating of chocolate
3. I am deep in the throes of a chocolate-orange obsession.
4. The recipe was entirely crazy. It was teeny-tiny (half an egg? 3 tablespoons of flour?) and purported to make 15 sandwich cookies, so it should yield...30 individual cookie fingers? Yeah right. Any recipe that poorly constructed is begging to be made, just so that it can be re-written.
On my first go-round, I doubled the recipe, no problem. Piped them out in thin lines, no problem. Baked them...big problem. These suckers had no structure and spread in a spongy, cakey puddle all over the baking pan. Great if I wanted to make a jelly roll, not so great for cookies. So I started all over, almost doubling the flour, and the second batch was significantly better. I could probably take the flour down a little more for a more tender cookie next time.
The cookies have a delicate orange scent and are filled with an orange buttercream. From doing some reading on the internet, it seems that some people describe cat's tongues as delicate, crisp cookies. These are definitely more cake-like, with crisp edges and a fine-crumbed interior.
The cookies were good on their own, but they were amazing after a dunking in good ole bittersweet chocolate (but really, what is NOT improved by chocolate?). The frosting in the center is fairly sweet, so the dark chocolate provides a nice rich counterbalance.
These remind me of a tea cookie. They're elegant, they're genteel, they're slightly delicate. They're flavorful, but not too heavy or assertive. If you're pressed for time you could also omit the filling and just dunk one or both ends of the cookie finger in chocolate. The (new, improved) recipe is after the cut.
Langues de Chats a l'Orange
(Chocolate-Orange Cat's Tongues Cookies)
1 stick butter
6 tbsp granulated sugar
One orange, zested and juiced
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp AP flour
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Preheat the oven to 425. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a large stand mixer, cream half of the butter (4 oz) and the granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg and half of the orange zest. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour and mix just until it is incorporated.
Spoon the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch circular tip. Pipe fingers about 2.5 inches long onto the baking sheets, leaving room in between as they will spread. (I think I got a little over two dozen fingers out of this batch, yielding a dozen 3-inch cookies. They were fairly substantial, so you could easily shape the cookies smaller for a larger yield.)
Bake the cookies at 425 for about 5 minutes, until the edges just start to color. Don't overbake, or they will be dry! Move them to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the filling, cream the remaining 4 oz butter and powdered sugar with the mixer. Add the orange zest, then add the orange juice gradually, adding just enough to get a spreadable consistency. Don't let it get too runny, or it will squirt out the sides of the cookies.
Once the cookies are completely cool, sandwich them in pairs with the buttercream, cleaning up the edges. Refrigerate the cookies for about 30 minutes, until the buttercream has set a bit.
Chop the chocolate and microwave it until melted, stirring until smooth. Cover a baking sheet with foil or waxed paper. Dip both ends of the cookie generously in the chocolate, place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes until the chocolate is completely set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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