Italian Ladyfinger Cookies
Italians love Meringues. Ladyfinger cookies are no exception to this passion for using egg whites in many of the oldest and most treasured Italian dessert recipes. Meringue helps to create this airy and spongy cookie. Ladyfingers are used for dipping coffee, making layered desserts and for Tiramisu. Use this recipe to build a lovely dessert table served with coffee and tea.
- 6 large eggs, separated
- ¾ cup fine sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon warm water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Set oven rack to upper and lower third of oven. Line two bake sheets with parchment paper.
- Place egg yolks in stand mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment.
- Beat the yolk, ½ cup of sugar on high speed until mixture is pale yellow and the falls in ribbons when the whisk is raised (mixture will also triple in size), about 4-5 minutes.
- Lower the speed and add in vanilla and water.
- Beat for another 60-90 seconds, or until mixture thickens once more.
- In a separate clean bowl, add the egg whites to a stand mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment.
- Beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy (mixture will look like well lathered shampoo).
- Add cream of tartar.
- Increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form when whisk is raised. Should take about 2 minutes.
- Gradually mix in remaining ¼ cup of sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
- Add in on half the meringue (egg white mixture) to the yolk mixture with a large sturdy spatula.
- Fold in flour until incorporated. Gently fold in remaining meringue and orange zest.
- Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a round ½ inch pastry tip. (You may also use this mixture for an 8 inch cake shallow)
- Pipe 4 inch cookies onto prepared bake sheets, leaving 1 inch between each cookie. Or if you have a ladyfinger baking tray, pipe into form.
- Bake until cookies become light golden brown and springy to the touch, about 8-10 minutes; rotate pans at 4 minutes.
- Transfer bake sheets to a wire to cool slightly.
- Remove cookies while still warm to a second wire rack to cool completely.
Ladyfinger cookies can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to three days and frozen for a month.