Cat Got Your Tongue?

It’s Foodie Tuesday!

Lengua de gato with a cup of tea

Lenguas de Gato means “cat’s tongues” in Spanish, and it’s a weird and disturbing name for cookies. More disturbing still is that looking at them, you’d understand why they’re called cat’s tongues. But they are so good, that I stopped caring right after I first tasted it. They’ve got awesome buttery goodness, but are light and crisp, with a wonderfully fine texture.

I had a hankering for it and decided to make some. I’ve never made them before so I went online in search of a perfect recipe. The basic ingredients for lenguas de gato are butter, sugar, flour, salt, and egg whites. But different recipes used different proportions. Some use equal amounts of butter, sugar, and flour, while some used a little bit more flour and butter. The sugars used were also different — some used regular white, some caster, and some powdered sugar.

For my first batch of these, I went for the one that used just a little bit of flour and sugar, which I thought was the safer choice. But I decided to use powdered sugar instead of the white sugar that the recipe called for, because it seemed to fit in better with the really fine texture that I love. I’m also iffy about working with egg whites, so I put in a pinch of cream of tartar in mine.

So here’s the recipe I used for my first batch of lenguas de gato:

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
a few drops of vanilla extract
2 egg whites from large eggs
a pinch of cream of tartar

Procedure:

Cream the butter until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and mix well. Gently fold in the flour. Set aside.

Beat the whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold into the batter. Add the vanilla extract.

Fit a pastry bag with a large-ish round tip, like a #12. Fill it with the cookie mixture and pipe out 2- to 3-inch lines on parchment-lined cookie sheets. They’ll spread out a bit while baking, so leave some space in between.

Cat's tongues on a cookie sheet, before baking

Bake in a 375°F oven for around 10 minutes or until they’re lightly browned at the sides. (Be sure to keep an eye on them. I got distracted for a moment and ended up with some really, um, toasted ones.) Put them on a rack, and store as soon as they’re cool to preserve their crisp-ness.

Here’s what I ended up with.

Cat's tongues right out of the oven

Next time I think I’ll try having a 1:1:1 butter-sugar-flour proportion. I believe it’ll result in more spread in the cookies, making them even more tongue-like.

Lenguas de gato on a plate

All images in this post by Nathalie Mariano.

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