Hazelnut Lace Cookies and a baking disaster
A couple weekends ago, my mother and I went hiking by the Snoqualmie waterfall, which is a pretty easy and lovely walk. There’s a big fancy lodge and resort by the waterfall and we stopped there for lunch. The lunch itself was tasty but nothing to rave about. Then I ordered dessert. Roasted strawberries, lime mascarpone, and coconut tuile cookies in a gorgeous napoleon. And it was delicious. And I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I knew I wanted to recreate it.
Of course, it wouldn’t do to pick the same flavors. So I turned the ideas over in my head for two weeks before I finally decided on what I wanted to make: hazelnut tuiles sandwiched with roasted peaches and chamomile mascarpone. Yeah, it’s a mouthful. And it was every bit as overly ambitious as you’d expect. It was also kind of a disaster.
Individually, none of the components were bad. I made a simple syrup with chamomile-infused sugar and chamomile tea and beat it into mascarpone – the hint of tea was just right. Actually, the roasted peaches were fantastic. Even the hazelnut tuiles were impressive. The recipe was tweaked from David Wells’ Almond Lace Cookies, producing incredibly fragile and delicate cookies. They were a little tricky to lift off the pan, but could be rolled into cigars or molded with muffin tins. Anyway, I’d finished all the baking and felt pretty good.
Assembly is where it fell apart. The peaches were still warm, and the mascarpone melted into a soupy mess. The tuile cookies, which had been so lovely on their own, were too sweet and too soft for this dessert. Instead of getting a nice, satisfying crunch, the whole dessert just kind of bent under the spoon. And I repeat: the sweetness was through the roof.
My parents and I all ate in silence. Loyally, they told me it wasn’t bad. Riiiight. Well, it was a learning experience if anything, and I got plenty of dishes to wash. Anyways I leave you with the recipe for the cookies, which were quite pretty when they weren’t coerced into a sugary mess of a napoleon.
Hazelnut Lace Cookies
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease two cookie sheets, or use parchment paper.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup until smooth, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour and hazelnuts.
Spoon batter by the level tablespoon onto the sheets, placing cookies 6 inches apart (they seriously spread.) If the batter becomes stiff during this time, just reheat over low heat for 30 seconds. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Let cool on sheets 1-2 minutes, then quickly transfer to a cooling rack with a metal spatula. This is the part where you roll the cookies into cigars or drape them into a muffin tin, if desired.
The recipes makes about twenty five 4 inch cookies.