In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg whites until well combined—you’re not beating in air and the whites shouldn’t be foamy. Add the melted butter and whisk until combined. Add the flour and vanilla (or another extract or spice, if using), and whisk to combine; the mixture should be smooth. Refrigerate the batter for at least 4 hours.
Start off by baking only one or two cookies at a time until you get a feel for the timing—they firm up quickly and can only be shaped while they're soft.
Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a very flat, level baking sheet or cookie sheet with a nonstick baking mat (or with parchment sprayed liberally with nonstick cooking spray). Spoon a small amount of tuile batter on the baking sheet. Spread as evenly and thinly as possible into a circle the size you want (the size won’t change much during baking).
Bake until the cookie is golden brown all over, 9 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately start to maneuver a spatula under the edge of the cookie. After 10 seconds or so, it will hold together and can be slid off the sheet with the spatula. To make the classic "roof tile" tuile shape, lay the hot cookie on a rolling pin, juice bottle or small can. (Any heatproof object can serve as a mold; see Variations below for making different shapes). The tuile will firm up in a minute and should release easily.
Use a new, cool baking sheet for each batch, or let the sheet cool completely (or run it under cool water and dry it well). If the batter is spooned onto a hot pan, it will melt instantly and become unspreadable.
How to make different shapes
Tuile cup or bowl: To make a cup, drape the hot cookie over an inverted shot glass, molding it as it cools. To make a bowl, start out with a bigger circle of batter and mold the baked cookie over a glass or cup with a larger base. For a mini tart shell, bend the tuile over the bottom of a soda can.
Tuile cone: Make a mold by crumpling foil into a cone shape. (Alternatively, try a hardwood cone roller from Kitchen Krafts.) Set the cone on the hot cookie with the cone's tip on the edge of the circle. Wrap both sides around the cone so the two edges meet. Hold them together for a few seconds to fuse them as the cookie cools. Remove the foil cone and use it again.
Corkscrew: Spread the batter into a rectangle and, after baking, cut it into strips with a pizza cutter. Wrap the strips around the handle of a wooden spoon.
Tuile cigar: Roll the hot tuile into a tight cylinder and serve as a cookie, or roll it loosely and fill like a cannoli.
Make Ahead Tips
The tuile batter can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.
For a nutty variation, you can sprinkle lightly toasted sliced or chopped almonds on top of the unbaked cookies.
Tuiles soften when they're paired with anything moist, so assemble these types of dessert just before serving:
- Fill tuile cups or bowls with ice cream, berries or fresh fruit.
- Fill a tuile cone with lemon curd and berries
- Make a fruit napoleon by layering flat tuiles with whipped cream-lightened pastry cream, and topping with fruit.
- Fill a mini tart shell with chocolate mousse or ganashe and whipped cream. Top with chocolate shavings.
nutrition information (per serving):
per cookie, Calories
3, Fat Calories
25, Saturated Fat
1, Monounsaturated Fat
7, Polyunsaturated Fat
Photo: Scott Phillips