It wasn’t easy growing up the youngest of five siblings. My three older man-brothers took it upon themselves to toughen up my prepubescent self when I got too good at Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. Sore thumbs abruptly turned into sore everything when boxing gloves and elbows in the solar plexus during intense games of pickup basketball followed. All I ever wanted to do was mash buttons and beat the Hi Score.
When things got extra harsh, my sister always had my back. Whereas one word from her and the brothers listen, any time I made so much as a peep, I end up in a headlock. Not even having my own armpit hair at the time, the prickly-moist sensation against the back of my neck was extra disgusting.
My sister and I have a little bond, you see. Since I’m the youngest and she’s the only daughter, we’re automatically the darling family favorites, and we knew how to take advantage of that. Obsessed with Hello Kitty and all things feline, my sister often asked for lenguas de gato, or “cat’s tongue” cookies, as pasalubong from our parents. Sometimes we would lock ourselves in my sister’s room, far away from brotherly physical abuse, with a boxful of the crisp and buttery treats.
The burnt edges and pale center instantly melt in your mouth, giving the cookie an unexpected complex taste considering the simplicity of the recipe. Of course, my sister and I didn’t really know or care about the wonders of caramelization back then. We just thought lenguas de gato were good and addictive.
Lenguas de Gato
“Cat’s Tongue” Vanilla-Butter Cookies
makes about 70 small cookies
Ingredients Volume Ounces Grams unsalted butter 8 tbsp 4 113 confectioner's sugar 3/4 cup 3.2 90 salt pinch vanilla extract 1/4 tsp lemon zest 1/8 tsp all-purpose flour 3/4 cup 3.4 96 whites from large eggs 2 2.1 60
- Have all of the ingredients at room temperature before continuing.
- The use of confectioner’s sugar maximizes the cookie spread and minimizes the amount of aeration in the cookie dough when mixing. It also gives the cookie a finer texture.
- A pastry bag
- A #11 or #12 round pastry tip (about 1/4-inch opening)
To Prepare Lenguas de Gato – “Cat’s Tongue” Cookies:
Preheat Oven 400ºF / 205ºC Prepare two half-sheet pans or cookie sheets lined with parchment or silicone mats. Mix Using a rubber spatula, mix together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and lemon zest until smooth. Gently fold in half of the flour. Slowly mix in the egg whites followed by the rest of the flour. Continue mixing only until thoroughly incorporated.
Pipe Put the cookie dough in a pastry bag fitted with a round pastry tip (about 1/4-inch opening). Pipe the dough onto the prepared pans in 2 1/2-inch lengths. Space the piped dough at least 1 1/2 inches apart to allow for spread. Bake Bake at 400ºF / 205ºC for 6 to 8 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned and the middle is still pale. Cool Immediately transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. The cookies will be pliable straight from the oven but will crisp within minutes.
Chocolate Lenguas de Gato Variation:
- Omit the lemon zest and replace one-fifth of the flour with unsweetened cocoa powder.
Links related to Lenguas de Gato – “Cat’s Tongue” Cookies:
- Langues de Chat with an Asian twist at Chocolate and Zucchini
- An alternate recipe at Cook Mobile
- Must use egg whites at Market Manila