These lacy cookies are quite easy and quick to make, despite their impressive appearance. The addition of popped quinoa not only gives this stalwart of the French kitchen a very “now” update, but the crunchy texture is habit forming. If you have a silicone baking mat (or two), now is the time to use it. Make sure you bake the sheets one at a time—they simply don’t bake right if you try to bake two at once. Take my word for it! Also, be very precise about measuring the butter—if you have a digital scale, use it—a little too much and they will become too fragile to work with. All that said, if tuiles seems too fussy, you could spread the mixture out on two baking mats in one thin layer and make brittle (see note 2 below), which you can break into shards that have a charm all their own.
1. Most quinoa is prewashed, removing the saponins, substances that taste bitter and may upset your stomach. Because of quinoa’s popularity and ubiquity, it may not even be labeled as such. Stick to packaged quinoa rather than getting it from the bulk bins, as that may not be washed, and it is important to start with dry grains here.
2. To make brittle, divide the quinoa batter between two baking sheets lined with silicone baking mats. Spread the batter out using a small offset spatula in an even layer. Bake according to the instructions above. Let cool on the mats, then break up into pieces.
Excerpted from Open Kitchen © 2020 by Susan Spungen. Photography © 2020 by Gentl and Hyers. Reproduced by permission of Avery. All rights reserved. —Susan Spungen
- Prep time 5 minutes
- Cook time 15 minutes
- Makes 16 tuiles
pre-washed white quinoa (see note 1 above)
white sesame seeds
sliced (untoasted) almonds
pure vanilla extract
unsalted butter, plus extra melted butter if using foil
- To pop the quinoa, spread it out on a microwave-safe dinner plate. Place in the microwave and cook on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds. The quinoa will be popped, but it won’t look that much different. (Alternatively, heat a dry 12-inch skillet over medium heat for 45 seconds. Add the quinoa in an even layer and shake the pan to roll the grains around until they are a little toasty but not browned, about 1 minute. Immediately pour into a medium bowl). Add the sesame seeds and almonds to the bowl.
- Put the honey in a microwave-safe bowl or cup and cook for 30 seconds (or heat in a small pan until hot). Add to the bowl, along with the vanilla, salt, and butter. Stir until everything is well coated and the butter is melted.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats. If you don’t have baking mats, line the sheets smoothly with foil and brush them with melted butter.
- Place about a scant tablespoon of the batter into 12 separate piles (6 on each sheet), evenly spaced 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly using your fingers. Bake one sheet at a time on the center rack for 15 to 17 minutes, turning the baking sheet halfway through baking, until the tuiles are deep golden brown all the way to the center but not burnt. Repeat using the remaining batter; you should have enough for 4 more.
- Remove from the oven and let cool, undisturbed, for 3 to 5 minutes, until the tuiles can be lifted without falling apart. Use a little spatula to test the edge starting at 3 minutes. It will be impossible to lift until all of a sudden it isn’t. Carefully run a small offset spatula under each tuile, lift it up, and flip over onto a rolling pin or a wine bottle with the shiny (bottom) side up to continue cooling. After a few minutes they will have set, and you can transfer them to a cooling rack or plate. When completely cooled, transfer to an airtight container to store until ready to serve. If you don’t care about them being curved, you can just let them cool until firm.
- These can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container.