Custard yo-yos and hot gingernuts: 20 best biscuit recipes – part 1

Nadine Levy Redzepi’s coconut tops

This is the ideal way to use up extra egg whites when I’ve made mayo or cured eggs. Less a dessert than a confection and similar to American macaroons, these sweet and sticky little treats come together in just minutes. As an added bonus, they are gluten-free.

Makes 12-14
desiccated coconut 260g, or more as needed
brown sugar 130g
granulated sugar 130g
egg whites 4 large
dark chocolate 140g, minimum 50% cacao solids
flaky sea salt 1 tsp, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with baking paper.

Cook the coconut, brown sugar, granulated sugar and egg whites in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until the sugars have melted. If the mixture is too runny to shape by the spoonful, add more coconut.

Using 2 soup spoons, drop heaped tablespoonfuls of the coconut mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 5cm apart. They do not have to be perfect, but try to make them about the same size.

Bake until the coconut mounds are golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Let stand on the baking sheets until completely cool.

Bring about 2.5cm of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Turn the heat to low so the water is barely simmering. Place a glass or metal bowl over the pan. Coarsely chop the chocolate and put in the bowl. Let the chocolate melt, stirring occasionally, until it is almost, but not completely, melted. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and let the chocolate stand, stirring often, until fully melted and slightly cooled and thickened.

The bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch the simmering water as the chocolate melts. If the chocolate gets too hot, it can become grainy.

One at a time, dip the bottom of each cookie into the chocolate, just so the chocolate comes about 3mm up the sides of the cookie. Transfer the cookies to a plate, chocolate side up. Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle with the salt. Refrigerate the cookies until the chocolate hardens, about 15 minutes, then turn them upright and cover with clingfilm or transfer to a covered container. Store in the refrigerator, but serve at room temperature.

Sprinkle chopped nuts, ground freeze-dried berries or extra desiccated coconut over the chocolate just after dipping them in the melted chocolate, if you like.
From Downtime by Nadine Levy Redzepi (Ebury Press, £27)

Judy Rodgers’s tuiles

Tuiles Judy Rodgers 20 best biscuits supplement Observer Food Monthly OFM
 Judy Rodgers’s tuiles. Photograph: Romas Foord for the Observer

These “tiles” require a bit of fussing to make, and are fragile to boot, but they are so elegant and delicious as to merit the trouble. I caution you to set up your cooling operation in a no-traffic zone – I once spent hours baking more than a hundred tuiles for a charity dinner. Every whack of a cleaver, every footstep, sent some of the fragile tiles to the floor. We christened the replacement batch “floor tiles” because we opted to leave them flat. This sensible alternative tastes the same and precludes calamity.

For about 28
salted butter 2 tbsp
caster sugar 55g
sliced almonds 70g
plain flour 2 tbsp
egg whites 60ml (1-2)
salt ⅛ tsp

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Set a mixing bowl near or on the oven to warm through.

Melt the butter in a pan over low heat, and monitor it as it turns a pale hazelnut colour and releases its nutty fragrance. Promptly pour into the warm mixing bowl. Add the sugar, almonds, flour and egg whites, and stir and fold gently to combine. Don’t beat. Add the salt and taste. It should taste salty-sweet. The batter will be viscous, ropey and glossy.

Spoon 1 heaped teaspoonful of the batter onto a nonstick cookie sheet and use a fork to spread it into a rough 7.5cm circle, barely thicker than a slice of almond. Try to scoop about half almonds, half batter for each tuile, and dip the fork into a glass of water between efforts, to keep it from “grabbing” the batter as you spread it into translucent puddles. The batter will spread a little more as it bakes, so leave 2.5cm between each puddle. You can fit about 9 tuiles on a 35cm-square baking sheet.

Bake until the cookies are mottled golden in the centre and tea coloured on the edges, about 3-5 minutes. Because many ovens don’t bake evenly, the cookies may not either. Watch and either rotate the cookie sheet to correct for this or remove any tuiles that brown much more quickly than the rest.

Pull the sheet from the oven and immediately transfer the tuiles one by one to the chosen cooling spot with a thin-bladed metal spatula. If the cookies start to stick before you get them all off the sheet, you need only return it to the oven for long enough to remelt the caramelised sugar, then peel them off while they are still pliable. Wipe the baking sheet clean between batches. (To speed up production, you may want to use two sheets, spreading the batter on the second one while the first set of cookies bakes.)

The caramelised sugar will readily grab humidity out of the air, which could quickly soften the cookies and collapse their curves, so as soon as they are cool, place the tuiles, cantilevered like roof tiles, in an airtight container.

The Guardian

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