Almond tuile is an elegant French cookie. With just six simple pantry ingredients, you can easily make these crisp, buttery and nutty cookies. If you are looking for new cookie ideas this Christmas season, give these a try.
What are almond tuiles?
Tuiles are thin French cookies, named for their curved shape like the tuiles (tiles in French) on the rooftops. These light and delicate cookies are crisp and smell so good. The best thing is that they don’t require any special baking equipment or extensive baking experience. I don’t bake very often and can still pull it off with no difficulty.
So how do I know about tuiles when I don’t bake often? I haven’t seen them sold in the U.S., but almond tuiles are very popular in Vietnam. It’s undeniable that there are a lot of French influences in many aspects in Vietnam. Most of the bakeries in Vietnam are French-style and sell a variety of French cakes and cookies. I used to buy and eat tens of almond tuiles every week.
How to make almond tuiles
Almond tuiles are easy to bake because you only need six simple ingredients and no special baking equipment or skills. It’s not quick to make them though, and I’ll explain the process more below.
You’ll need all-purpose flour, egg whites, granulated sugar, sliced almonds, melted butter and vanilla extract. When it comes to tuiles, it’s all about the light, delicate and crisp texture. Therefore, it’s very important that you measure ingredients carefully. Otherwise, the texture may not be right. It would be best if you could weigh ingredients by grams.
Basic tuiles don’t need to have almonds, but almonds add a nutty aroma which makes tuiles more delicious. Using sliced almonds with no skin will result in more beautiful tuiles than using almonds with skin.
I also want to mention that my almond tuiles are not too sweet. I started with Fine Cooking’s basic tuiles. Then I spent almost every night last week developing, testing and tweaking to minimize the amount of sugar and butter needed for tasty and crisp tuiles. The recipes I looked at online turned me off with an excessive amount of sugar which is not good for our health at all. Fine Cooking’s version, though good, is way too sweet. If you have a really sweet tooth, you can add one tablespoon sugar more than called for in my recipe.
I came across a number of different mixing methods for tuiles, and I like Serious Eats’ method the most. All ingredients can be mixed in a bowl to create smooth tuile batter. Simple and perfect every time. After that, you will need to spread the batter very thinly on a baking tray lined with a silicone baking mat (I like Silpat mats) or parchment paper. I must say that using a baking mat makes things a lot easier and quicker because it’s perfectly flat and doesn’t move around like a parchment paper.
To create the curved shape tuiles are known for, you will need to place them on something like a rolling pin or bottle immediately after taking them out of the oven. They are soft (and hot!) right out of the oven, but they will start to harden quite fast after about 10 seconds. Therefore you may want to work quickly with a glove. That’s also the reason why I like to bake tuiles in small batches of 6-8 cookies. More than that, I can’t shape them fast enough :).
A trick I have for you is to put hot tuiles inside tall glasses to shape them, just make sure the diameter of the glasses is large enough. It’s also fine if you don’t shape them, they will still be crisp and tasty when cool.
When things go wrong, tuiles can be chewy instead of crisp. Here are a few reasons that may cause this:
– Incorrect measurement of ingredients: I cannot stress enough the importance of measuring egg whites and flour in this recipe. It’s best if you can weight all ingredients. If you can’t, make sure you spoon flour into your measuring tool instead of scooping out flour with your tool. That makes a big difference!
– Tuiles are too thick: try to spread the batter thinner.
– Tuiles are under-baked: try to bake them slightly longer. You can bake a first batch of two tuiles to get used to cooking time and temperature.
Another thing to note is to always spread tuile batter onto a completely cool baking tray.
I hope you will give these delicious almond tuiles a try. They are perfect as everyday cookies as well as cookies for special occasions.
Almond tuile cookies
- 2 egg whites (60 grams or 1/4 cup)
- 1/3 cup flour (40-42 grams)
- 1/4 cup sugar (50 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted (60 grams)
- 1/2-2/3 cup sliced almonds (60-80 grams)
- Preheat oven to 350F (or 175C).
- Add egg whites to a mixing bowl. In another bowl, combine flour with sugar, and then add them to the egg whites. Whisk until well blended. Add vanilla extract and melted butter, whisk until the batter is smooth. The batter will look somewhat like sweetened condensed milk. Cover and refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes.
- Spread almond slices into a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 5-6 minutes until lightly golden and fragrant. Set aside to let cool.
- Remove the batter from the refrigerator, add almond slices and use a spatula to fold in.
- Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat (or parchment paper). Add 1/2 tablespoon of batter onto the mat and use a knife (or back of a spoon, an offset spatula) to spread the batter into a thin circle about 3 - 3 1/2 inches (about 8 centimeters) in diameter. Make a few more circles, depending on the size of your baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. They will not change much in size.
- Bake tuiles for 9-11 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Slide a knife underneath a tuile to lift it from the sheet, and then place it over a rolling pin (or a can, a bottle or in a tall glass) to form the curved shape. Work quickly to shape the remaining tuiles on the sheet.
- You may need to bake several batches. Refrigerate batter while waiting to make a new batch. Before starting a new batch, let the baking sheet and mat cool completely before spreading batter onto it.