Saturday, August 22, 2009

Inspiration and Biscuits A La Cuiller (Ladyfingers)

To my surprise and delight when I checked my email this morning I found a lovely compliment and an award from another blogger, The Confused Homemaker. 

The award is an "Inspiration Award" and Confused said that "I inspired her to do more in the kitchen".. awww..

How nice is that? 

This immediately put a smile on my face, a spring in my step and piled heaps of guilt on my soul. 

Smile. Get that. 
Spring in Step. Check.

Heaps of Guilt?? Why Good Cook, why the guilt?

Well, since confession is good for the soul (and the digestive tract) here is my true, never before told story of Biscuits A La Cuiller (also know as Ladyfingers - which I find truly apropo since so many of my dear readers are of the female persuasion and I'm assuming ladies. ahem)

But I digress. 

As some of you may remember, I offer "personal chef" services, where I come into your lovely home and cook, right there in your very own kitchen, for you and your guests. I love these gigs and spend hours on the menu, table settings, prepping, and just all around obsessing with the details. 

My next gig is for a lovely woman whom I have cooked for before. As a matter of principal and sound business practice, I always under promise and over deliver. Over deliver means I cook up or bake up something special that is not on the menu. This item is for my client and guests to enjoy the next day - or as a late night snack before the end of the party. Sometimes it's as simple as a floral centerpiece or fresh vegetables in a basket or fresh herbs in a bouquet from my garden. 

So anyway, dessert for this particular dinner party is sabayon with fresh peaches and mint garnish. I've given you all this recipe so don't feel cheated. My "extra" was going to be ladyfingers on the side.. a little something crunchy to go with the silk and sweet of the sabayon. 

In a fit of insanity and pure stupidity (I forgot in a moment of self UNawareness, who I AM).. I bought these:

Imported all the way from Italy. Low fat and low cholesterol no less. (or more)

Sweet mother of all that is holy, what was I thinking?? Store bought ladyfingers? Store bought anything??? Say it isn't so Good Cook! I can only surmise by this act of treachery that my mind is finally going - snapped if you will. Insanity has finally got a hold of my senses. 

Thank You Confused Homemaker for reminding me of my true identity. Thank you for restoring my mind to its methodical cooking self. In the name of all that is good and home made, thank you. 

Without further ado, and just before this confessional post, I whipped up these, from Mastering The Art of French Cooking (of course) I give you: Biscuits A La Cuiller

Ladyfingers: (makes about 24)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Butter and flour 2 baking sheets (I used parchment, but also buttered and floured the parchment). 
Assemble a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch opening. 

1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour, measured then put in sifter.
powdered sugar for dusting

Gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks, add the vanilla and beat until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted (about 2-3 minutes on high speed).

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over and continue to beat until shiny and stiff peaks form. 

Scoop 1/4 of the egg whites over the yolk mixture and sift on 1/4 of the flour. Delicately fold in until partially blended. Then add 1/3 of the whites and 1/3 of the flour, fold until almost blended. Repeat with 1/2 the whites and flour and end with the rest. Be VERY careful, fold gently until just combined. You don't want to deflate the batter. 

Scoop into your pastry bag and pipe out batter 4 inches long by 1.5 inches wide. 
Dust with powdered sugar placed in a sifter or sieve. About 1/16 inch thick. 

Bake in middle and upper 1/3 of the oven for 20 minutes. The ladyfingers will be just slightly golden (very pale brown) underneath the powdered sugar. 

Remove immediately and cool on wire racks. 

These keep beautifully in an airtight tin for up to 10 days (but who really keeps cookies around for 10 days??)

Ah... I feel so much better getting that off my chest. I think I'll have myself a cup of tea and a few Biscuits A La Cuiller

NEXT: Who inspires me?? Tune in tomorrow. 


  1. That recipe looks great. I might actually have to try it soon!

  2. Confession is good for the soul. Thanks for sharing all your yumminess with all of us. I can see right now that my hips are going to widen a tad bit......thanks to you!

  3. Bettyl, once you get the hang of it you can whip these up in 20 minutes flat!

    Kathy, I believe that a little of everything is good for you. Moderation.. but of course that was 20 pounds ago!

  4. Yummers! I cannot wait to start cooking again! Soon, very soon. I have done some little stuff but everytime I go to pick up a pot my husband runs in a tells me to put it down. I guess that is the price you pay when we use mostly cast iron...the stuff is heavy.

    These will be made very soon. My kitchenaid is already on the counter so maybe no one will notice, huh? Besides, they are cookies. Hard to believe they would ask me not to make cookies.

  5. Hello,

    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
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  6. Sounds like you've been busy! I love lady fingers and this recipe looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I've probably said it before, but I could really do with you coming to stay at my house for about a week and showing me how to cook properly! I could also do with a caterer later on this year!!

    CJ xx

  8. Love your post today! :-)

    I feel the same way about buying foods instead of making them. I feel like I'm cheating somehow.

    These look wonderful. I really like how you add something "extra". Great business practice. Isn't if funny how we are all moving toward things we love to do in this crazy economy? Maybe it was meant to be.

  9. Mmmmmmmmm...can't wait to try them. Congrats on the award!

  10. Tamis,

    You have patience now girl! No cooking, no lifting, no anything other than resting and recovery. There will be plenty of time to buy my cookbook and try everything! LOL.

    Vincent ,

    How flattering! I will look into adding my blog to your site later today.

    Marguerite, you're welcome - life just seems better when I'm sharing.

    Crystal - This can all be arranged!! I can always add traveling to my name and viola! become The Traveling Good Cook. Let me know when it's convenient for me to pop over.

    Nancy - There is nothing like a little tragedy to help put things in perspective. I have never been happier - and believe me I don't earn anywhere near what I did just a few years ago when I was a muckety-muck with an office in the sky. Yes, it was meant to be.

    Jeve - thanks! I still want to post your penguin story - I've just been busy... think today will be the right day to do it!!


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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